As we come into 2012 and leave 2011 behind the famous New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns plays on in my head. The song, which translates to, “Time Gone By,” definitely induces reflection. A major part of planning for any organization’s future is reflecting on the past.
In 2011 we saw the markets start to recover and towards the end of the year the unemployment rate actually started heading in the right direction. These are all good macro signs of an improved economy which in theory should mean good things for business. However, when I reflect on our business successes and failures in 2011 it rarely had to do with unemployment rates or stock markets but rather relationships, culture and flexibility. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, those three things do not fluctuate with the economy.
In 2011, WilsonHCG experienced growth which was great and of course welcomed. What wasn’t planned was the enormous amount of growth which led to certain challenges or “growing pains”. Most glaring to me was the distance between our most senior people who have made WilsonHCG a (in my opinion) great place and new hires. I started to grow concerned when thinking of how the new people to our organization will understand the culture which has been the driving force behind very low turnover and over delivery for our clients.
Through this growth we realized the only way to keep the culture we are so proud of is through relationships and flexibility. When you invest the time in someone to have a relationship they are much more likely to take stock in their performance as well as the company. More importantly than performance is ideas, when someone feels valued they are much more likely to share their thoughts and ideas on improvement which are priceless.
A company’s ability to be flexible is imperative, especially with its internal associates. I have learned in my career everyone doesn’t learn the same, preform the same or for that matter do anything the same. Through individual relationships you are usually able to find out what drives a person. Sometimes it is money, sometimes it is recognition, others times it is something much different. Regardless of what specifically motivates someone, it is important to focus on those things to get the best results.
So as we head into 2012, my focus will continue to be on building relationships internally and externally, being flexible with associates and clients and maintaining and improving the culture of our company.