The Three Secrets of Successful Organizations

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© frank peters -

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Why does one company go bankrupt while another one succeeds beyond all measure? It’s incredibly easy to see the successes or failures after the fact but how do you try to line up your organization for success in the here and now?

That’s the question that has an easy answer but a much more clouded path.

What are the traits of successful organizations?

On this week’s episode of TLNT Radio, I talked with Joyce Maroney, the director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos, about some of the major traits of successful organizations. She compiled lessons from dozens of the top minds in talent management (including TLNT’s own John Hollon) into the Institute’s second book, Elements of Successful Organizations. And from that book, there was a trend in successful organizations that centered around three distinct elements.

  1. Strong Leadership – The ability to change and look ahead to the future was a huge differentiator. Those who were proactive or who were on the leading edge of reacting to coming trends almost always do better. Developing employees and being a place where employees can move up is also a key trait in this category.
  2. Smart Management – Executing, on in the day-to-day and the long term, makes a huge difference in results. Those who relied on great talent management processes, analytics, and also addressing employee needs such as continued training and lean business practices are something that sets companies apart.
  3. Engaged Employees – This has been a hot topic on TLNT but it is also one of the key drivers of successful organizations. Whether it be flexible time for hourly workers, better scheduling or illuminating the meaning in your employee’s work, organizations that have engaged workers are more successful than their peers.

One of the more fascinating parts about the book was its emphasis on hourly workers. So much of our conversation about successful organizations seems to assume that our most important employees are the folks in corporate in white collar positions. And while white collar employees are certainly important, the disparate emphasis given to them in discussing these three issues is problematic.

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From our conversation and from reading the book, the emphasis is about getting your entire workforce on track. Whether you’re mostly hourly or not, you can gain lessons from better leadership, management and engagement. Good strategy isn’t dependent on an all white collar workforce nor is a flexible schedule exclusive of the cube and office dweller.

Listen to the rest of our conversation for more information on how successful organizations excel.

[buzzsprout episode=”39256″ player=”true”]

Lance Haun is the practice director of strategy and insights for The Starr Conspiracy, where he focuses on researching and writing about work technology. He is also a former editor for ERE Media, broadly covering the world of human resources, recruiting, and sourcing. 
He has been featured as a work expert in publications like the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, MSNBC, Fast Company, and other HR and business websites.
He's based in his Vancouver, Wash., home office with his wife and adorable daughter. You can reach him by email or find him off-topic on Twitter.