Ever drop a rubber ball from waist high? You get what is called a “reflexive bounce”.
Now imagine dropping that ball from the top of your arm's reach over your head. What happens?
You get a much bigger bounce.
That is what our research about high performance organizations shows. Like the momentum from lifting the ball higher before you drop it, investment in leadership, management, relationship building, consultative selling, etc., will lead to a higher reflexive bounce. Your organization will gain higher performance and beat your competition and achieve higher performance.
Pictured above is an example of a Competency Ladder for CPA Firms that we developed that shows the progression of a career and the “high performance” bounce from investing in the development of the right skills for the right job levels.
Notice the point where the “ball” hits the ground?
This is the critical “reflexive” point or the shift in direction as the team member moves from the world of technical competence (concrete and verifiable) to the new world of strategic and intangible. This is the point where the job view becomes much more outwardly focused. Where the job requires much work with and through others – a completely new skill set.
This is also the area where investing in development of your people makes the biggest “bounce”.
Yet, our experience continues to show a reluctance to invest in these skills, which when combined with the retiring Boomer generation could result in disaster as there are less than one in three people in the next generation to replace those retiring leaders!
Add an era of rapid change and increasing complexity and you can see why skills like leadership, strategic thinking, engagement and inspiration are even more critical.
Consider these recent examples that support this case:
- A recent study by Grant Thornton identified “soft skills” as the number one issue (and need) identified by CFOs. The study said, “55% of respondents thought that the lack of employees with the necessary “soft skills” – communication, critical thinking and problem solving abilities – was the most significant challenge…”
- Tim Sanders talks about ROI of people development in his post Why People Are the Heart & Soul of the Information Age where he talks about research cited in the book Information Masters that identified ROI on several major categories in business and found the investment in people=related areas got the least investment, “2% investment in people, 1% on culture development and 1% on leader (training)…” and produced the most value, “this small batch of cash produced 50% of success in terms of productivity, ROI and customer value (emphasis added).”
I think the conclusion from a recent article in CLO magazine titled, A Look Ahead: Learning in 2011 sums it up well, “One of the expected business results is increased net promoter scores from customers and candidates, demonstrating improved satisfaction. Happier, more engaged employees with the opportunity to increase their skills can have a direct impact on revenue and margins. In addition, offering learning solutions to customers as a way to engage their employees can generate top-line revenue for the organization and build customer relationships that lead to greater commitment.”
Or to paraphrase Tom Peters, “Soft is HARD (results) and Hard is SOFT!”
and as we like to say, the BLI – the Hard Edge of Soft Skills!
So what are you doing to get the “bigger bounce” in your team performance?