What’s your biggest business asset?
The simple answer to what is your biggest business asset is simply your people!
Now that should be the end of that question. But here is the thing. I’ve heard this exact answer many time over, but somehow I wasn’t convinced of it’s genuineness. From my perspective, if you say that you believe that your biggest business asset are your people, then show it. Do the things that show that you believe that indeed, your people are your biggest business asset.
You see, it’s one thing to talk the talk, it’s another to walk the walk. In my old neighborhood growing up we used to call it “Money talks, bullsh*t walks!”. Or another way to say it is “Money talks”.
When you think of other assets of an organization, they all seem to be taken care of quite well. If one of your assets are a fleet of trucks, you know that are ready at any moment to roll out and deliver product. You don’t need to worry if the brakes work, or if the oil is changed, it’s usually taken care of through a regular maintenance program.
If another one of your assets is an office building, your can count of it being clean, air conditioned and staffed, ready to accept business. If your building needs it’s elevator to be inspected, you get it done to insure the safety of everyone who rides within it. If walls need to be painted, textured or decorated with art, you do it for the betterment of the upkeep of your asset, your office building.
All of these assets are part of an organizations arsenal to providing a product and/or service to your customers. So making a good impression with a shiny building or a well kept delivery truck is an important element of making your business go.
So why is it that our admittedly most important business asset, our people, tends to be last on the list of being maintained?
Now before you get excited and say, “we invest in our people with training and development!” I say to you, “Good for you, keep it up!”
But for all of you other managers, supervisors, VP’s, directors and even Presidents and CEO’s, what’s up with you? Don’t you know that for every dollar that you invest into your greatest asset, your people, is a step toward taking better care of your customers? It’s you walking the walk of showing that you care and want your team to do well each and every day. In fact, I’ve noticed that the people in most organizations desire to be the best that they can be for you, for your customers and for themselves.
Like I said, there are many organizations that are clued-in to knowing that training and development is an investment to your organization and not an expense on your quarterly budget. These organizations tend to be the ones that I am lucky enough to work with and develop their teams. They also tend to be the organizations that are very successful, innovative and are considered the leaders of their industry.
So here is the magic question: What came first, success as an organization or a winning and supportive culture that inspires success?
My mentor would tell me to watch the people in your chosen industry and find out what they are doing to be a successful leader, then copy what they do. He said that success leaves clues. So if the leaders within your industry are proactive in investing in their biggest asset, their people, what more of clue do you need to have to take action for your own organization’s culture?
James Connolly is Founder of CEO Chef and author of three team building and leadership development books.