These are just some of the basic Japanese phrases that I learned while leading HR for Bridgestone Americas years ago. These phrases loosely translate to “Hello”, “Thank you for your hard work” and “How Can I Help?”. However, a few words and phrases aren’t the only lessons I learned while serving as the Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. I learned valuable business lessons that are applicable to every company, regardless of size, product, and service or vertical. Here are some of the lessons and thoughts that can help any company, any size, anywhere to be successful in implementing their business strategies.
Every person who has the initiative, resources and chutzpah to start their own business soon comes to the realization that their own efforts can only take them so far. Some business owners are satisfied to find this level, produce a commodity or service and hire individuals that can perform whatever tasks are required to process and deliver this product to market in whatever niche they can establish.
There is another group of owners, however, who want to grow, improve and expand their business to becoming the best in their field of endeavor. They have a vision of guiding and developing their enterprise to becoming something truly unique and superior. These business owners are recognized for their leadership and management skills that enable them to hire and inspire employees that bring their business to this level of excellence. Their leadership techniques for creating such excellence can be distilled into essentially three categories.
- Bold Leadership. Business owners who have a “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way” personality have a straightforward mindset: goals they reach for achieving will be achieved. The means and methods of achieving these goals are varied, but all involve persistence, finding solutions, and pushing forward to overcome any obstacles or resistance. This bold type of leader exemplifies this overcoming attitude in all his or her behavior, and they are constantly looking to grow their team in ways that energize them and inspire them to share his or her vision. In today’s world we can look to leaders like Elon Musk from Telsa, Jeff Bezos from Amazon, and bold leaders from the past as well like Richard Branson from Virgin Atlantic. We can evaluate, criticize and opine on “The Way” that bold leaders lead however, at some point, all bold leaders decided “to stop reading and start leading”. They stopped reading the thousands of books written on leadership and decided to start leading”. My Amazon Prime account is used often, especially this time of year. Thank you Jeff Bezos for being a bold leader.
- Inclusive Culture. Great leaders recognize the fact that people in all strata of society have exceptional skill potential and they are willing to take these people into their team and mentor and elevate these people into exceptional performers. In today’s unemployment statistics, there are many different types of people in the 3.7 percent of unemployed from all walks of life that are ripe for the picking, if one is able to look beyond their exterior façade and see their potential. A great leader realizes this and is able to reach out and touch such people and empower them to begin performing in remarkable ways that strengthen and elevate the entire team. Beyond the young group of potential great employees known as millennials, there are many people who are older and even from other cultures who can be tapped to become a positive and energized employee, becoming a useful and significant addition to the team. A great leader is not turned off by a potential hire’s outward appearance, but rather seeks to find within that person the latent abilities and potential skill sets that will empower them to become a valuable facet of the organization. Important point here that the best leaders understand, is that this inclusive culture phenomena is a two way street, meaning, the team has to also connect with and believe in the leader as much as the leader has to connect with and believe in his/her team. I learned this lesson first hand when working at Bridgestone and leading 20 to 30 something year old, as well as 60 year old, Japanese employees. Thankfully, they accepted me as much as I accepted them and we were a great team that performed at an exceptionally high level.
- Consistent Results. Way too many businesses invest for the short term or for short term results. They don’t set truly long-range goals and push to achieve them over a calendar of, say, 10 or 12 years. When I worked for Bridgestone (a Japanese company) I watched them create 10-year Strategic Plans, and guess what? They hit them! They didn’t decommit their resources and investments because they had a bad year, or two or three along the way. As a matter of fact, during these low, slow years they doubled down on their investments because they were so committed to achieving their strategic plans. Unfortunately, many companies opt for the opposite strategy and cut costs and eliminate resources to try to outlast the down year or years, and eventually they hit bottom, run out of opportunities, good employees, and are soon out of business. The Japanese, on the other hand, are very successful at delivering consistent GDP numbers, in a declining birthrate environment (meaning, less people that have to work harder) because they make their plans and stick to them. They are shrewd planners and very successful because of their diligent adherence to their long-range goals. It is imperative that this successful method of sustaining and growing a company be adopted by Fortune 500 companies as well as small business owners. Whether it is a one year or 10-year plan, the self-discipline and dedication to adhering to the set goal should be a prime strategy of each of these businesses. Bold leaders are keenly aware that keeping their business alive and thriving is going to be a long-term commitment, and they keep the long-range goal in sight, even when going through difficult or adverse times.
Bringing it all together now I wrap up my commentary on 3 ways to increase business success: Bold Leadership, Inclusive Culture, and Consistent Results. As leaders, managers or supervisors for your company, begin now to incorporate these three things into your management performance and watch your worker productivity blossom, grow, and flourish.
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.