5 Thoughts On What Great Businesses Do Differently

1.  They think differently 

Great businesses think of the well-being of their employees, create sustainable value for society, solve problems, and still make money, too.  Profits, happiness and success ensue when what you are doing also makes sense for the people – employees, customers and the general public.


2.  They behave differently

In their choice of how they operate they consider purpose and values as a guide for business decisions.  This makes work meaningful and emotionally compelling.  When the purpose and values of a business are shared with the team each employee is enabled to find their individual reason for doing their very best every day.



3.  They manage differently

Managers in great businesses understand that formal structures can be rigid and stifle innovation.


Understanding that it is the purpose and values that motivates employees because they believe in the business and its intention, makes self management possible.  Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a work day, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.


Advantages with self management include; lower cost, deeper expertise, more collegiality, better decisions, greater initiative, increased flexibility and higher loyalty.


To be successful, managers must see themselves more as catalysts for problem solving than as problem solvers per se. Six rules to consider:

  • Be modest;

  • Listen seriously and show it;

  • Invite disagreement;

  • Focus on the Agenda;

  • Don’t try to have all the answers;

  • Don’t insist that a decision must be made. Stop trying to control employees and instead engage, empower and motivate them to contribute their knowledge and experience.  There is a great opportunity to win on all fronts by encouraging transparency, communication and collaboration.


4.  They lead differently

Leaders in great businesses are able to produce new models for action that can build confidence and will change the world we live in.

Discontinuity is the only constant in our times. Above all, in these times, leaders find it tough to ensure their people adhere to values and ethics. Rather than ask what’s in it for me, employees need to ask ‘What’s good, right and just for everyone?’


Catalysts for motivation include setting clear goals, allowing autonomy, providing sufficient resources and time, helping with the work, openly learning from problems and success, and allowing a free exchange of ideas.

If you facilitate staff’s steady progress in meaningful work, make the progress important to them, and treat them well, great performance will follow. And they will love their jobs.


5.  They put values first

It takes time to benefit from putting values first. You feel the pain immediately and you reap the gains only in the long run. Values cannot be just part of the strategy process, they need to be second nature for everything in the business.

Starting this process even in small steps, is a critical and urgent move.



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