Why Doing Good Work In The Connected Age Is About More Than Profit
In today’s hyperconnected world, business is more like an organism rather than the 20th-century metaphor of the command & control machine. The speed of change occurring in marketplaces requires a company’s talent to individually create, co-create and collaborate together to solve problems faster than the competition. Whether making commitments to customers, co-workers, partners, or your boss, they are watching, collaborating, and making judgments. Remember, teamwork begins by building trust.
Keeping commitments has always been important to higher performing leaders and their businesses. The difference today is the hyper-connectedness and transparency of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It has empowered people to participate in the conversations of your marketplace. Your ability to influence opinions through traditional marketing campaigns or public relations programs is rapidly losing its effectiveness. Nothing speaks louder than making and keeping the right commitments to your stakeholders.
The ability to make & keep commitments has become more a social activity and trust is foundational to these interactions. As just-in-time teams are created across this ecosystem to innovate and solve problems together, the best way to speed up the trust is for all participants to show or account for their earned Relationship Capital (RC) every day in real-time.
A commitment goes beyond just words of intent, but the actions that lead to positive outcomes. Leaders who operate businesses are responsible and accountable for a commitment or suite of commitments. Now multiply these commitments across each member of the organizational team, partners, suppliers, and customers. This creates actions that overcome obstacles and achieves operational excellence.
Your organization is a commitment-oriented entity. Without making and consistently keeping commitments to your customers, you will not be generating the revenues to fund your growth and innovation. Your growth comes from building a trusted reputation. Earning the relationship capital that allows others to refer customers, employees, partners, investors, etc. to you. These ambassadors lend their trust to you with each and every referral. Imagine all of your stakeholders as trust ambassadors.
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This is where it is going. If you do not consistently deliver on your commitments, the people that support you will not continue to do so. You also will lose the opportunity to build new additional advocates. In this interconnected social business world, how you keep your commitment is as important as the outcome itself in order to attract the new customer, retain top performers, and any other meaningful relationship.
The Importance of your Relationship Capital Star Performers
Relationship Capital Stars’ perceptions, thinking, and behaviors are distinctive. These individuals help drive the success of your organization out of all proportion to their financial numbers. They love what they do and have a passionate commitment to it. They’re not only great at their jobs; they have a deep sense of purpose that is always associated with a desire to advance the world for other people. And they get things done with their actions. Nothing gets between these individuals and accomplishing their mission, whatever the conditions. They are well regarded throughout the organization for who they are as much as for what they do.
Relationship Capital Teams
High performing relationship capital teams are both highly accountable and consistent in communicating in a high-quality manner. Many teams of this type have an innate ability to understand the process of earning relationship capital or trust from others.
Relationship Capital teams have the following characteristics:
- Their “Purpose” drives their performance
- Keep Their Commitments or Promises
- Focus on enabling the Success of Others
- Doing The Right Thing (DTRT) Attitude
- High Personal Integrity.
Trust and transparency have become requirements as employees seek to understand what is the truth they are facing in the organization they work for. Employees have grown tired of surprises and want a work environment that allows one to have greater clarity of thought with each decision we make or relationship we foster. The research shows that besides the requirement for job security and career advancement opportunities — employees want to be a part of a culture guided by honesty and truth. They want their leaders to be proactive in sharing where the company is headed and candid about its future. In other words, they just want transparency so they can plan and defend their interests.
The days of Shangri-La are over in the established workplace. Most people now believe they need to look out for themselves if their employers are reluctant to do so. As such, companies will lose the top-performers or the relationship capital stars if they are not sensitive to their employees’ requirements — and at the same time suffer a great penalty to replace them and rebuild the dynamism that was left behind.
Being transparent is a powerful thing if you can trust yourself and be trusted by others. The reason most leaders are not transparent is because they believe they will be viewed as less respected; that the qualifications they worked so hard to achieve will lose them power and influence. People want to relate to its leaders. People want to know that their leaders have experienced similar challenges and/or how they have overcome personal adversities.
This hyper-connected and technology-enabled era has allowed employees to discover more about their leaders. Social media has suddenly given people the permission to enter a leader’s personal boundaries; a place they were previously forbidden from entering. We have entered a period by which people want and expect their leaders to be more human, less perfect, and at times a bit vulnerable regardless of their hierarchical power. This need for transparency in society is at historic levels. People would rather “see” a video blog than “read” a blog. They want to see a leader’s facial expressions, eye contact and body language. Employees want to evaluate whether someone is acting or being authentic.
For leaders of businesses, it’s time to be transparent by becoming more personally engaged with their employees via face-to-face and/or video interaction and with greater frequency. This will not only earn relationship capital but more importantly, it will create a new cultural dynamic in the organization and begin a new type of trustworthiness and positive perceptions that will flow throughout the organization.
To enable your talent to perform their best work, it is important to develop clear understanding and articulated vision, purpose, and mission in order to build trust with teammates, inspire employees, and attract talent, quality customers, partners, and/or suppliers. Your vision is your goal or what you want to achieve. Your mission is how you plan to get to there. Make the right promises/commitments to yourself and to your team and not only will you achieve high performance, but you will be an example by which your team will follow and go the extra mile to keep their promises that deliver results in the right ways. This is the meaning and the imperative of doing good work in the connected age.