Every company has the people…

“Every company has the people, resources and capabilities to grow in double digits.”

This statement was the title of a memo that went out to every employee of a large company. (No, we don’t know where they got it from.) What do you think about the statement? Is this true of your organization? What message do you think it sends?

I spent considerable time talking to an employee who had received this communication and I can tell you it was less than inspirational. Employees at all levels were downright annoyed and angry. The feeling was that management was reproaching them; saying we should be growing faster because we have everything we need. The perception was that management was sitting on high saying, in essence, “what’s wrong with you all?” “Why don’t we have double-digit growth?”

Well, here’s the kicker. I would bet, that to a great extent, the statement is true – most companies probably do have the people, resources and capabilities for growth and performance far beyond what they are currently achieving. So if that is true, then what’s holding them back?

What’s holding them back is the secret ingredient to organizational success that really isn’t all that secret – and yet it’s missing from the statement. And the fact management doesn’t recognize that something’s missing from the statement is quite telling. What I’m referring to is leadership – plain and simple. If I want to make chocolate chip cookies, I would assemble flour, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs and chocolate chips. But, without knowing what I’m making (a vision) and the recipe (a strategic plan), all I have is ingredients – a group of separate items. People, resources and capabilities are the ingredients that make up an organization, but it is leadership that blends those ingredients together to create something greater with them.

Earlier, I asked what you thought of the statement. If you agreed with it and your organization is purposefully growing at the rate you want, that’s fantastic – congratulations. However, if you agree with the statement but aren’t seeing the kind of growth you want, maybe it’s time to stop looking at your assets with a critical eye. Rather than try to figure out what’s wrong with them, start looking at the quality and level of leadership that exists inside your organization. Look closely and objectively. Are you focusing and harnessing the power of your people, resources and capabilities? Have you united them around a common goal?

And if you feel that your organization doesn’t have what it needs to grow at the rate you want, then you know where you need to begin. But don’t start just throwing resources at the issue. You are in an excellent position to look at where it is that you are going and how you are going to get there. Armed with this information, you can ensure that you are outfitting your organization with exactly what it will need for the performance and achievements you are looking for.

The reality is that the vast majority of companies probably do have the people, resources and capabilities to grow in double digits but very few companies have the people, resources, capabilities – and leadership to grow in double digits.