Leadership 101: Lesson 3 – Know the Business You Are In

Many people focus on their job and their regular tasks.  You know where you work and the name of the company that deposits your paycheck, but do you understand who you work for and understand the business that you are in?

If you are an accountant at a care facility and someone asks what you do, do you say that you track income and expenses, or do you say you make sure individuals get the best care possible?  If this is your lens, it will be extraordinarily difficult to move people that you lead to do their best. 

It’s time to study up and understand why you exist in your day-to-day world so that you may lead and inspire others.

Lesson 3:

As a leader, it is imperative that you understand the business that you are in as well as the daily tasks of your job.  Understanding the values and mission of the organization and how your organization delivers on those words is critical.  When you are in a leadership position, widening the aperture on your own lens — how you view your role and the role of those that you lead — will expand your effectiveness. Spend a few minutes pondering the easy, difficult, and downright hard scenarios below to see if you can answer the questions and put a game plan together for yourself so that you can grow as a leader.

Easy:  Do you know who the clients of the business are and how the business operates?  How are the bills paid? How does the organization make money?  Why does someone want to work there as opposed to somewhere else? 

Difficult:  Can you recite the mission and vision of your organization?  If you can, you are certainly ahead of the game.  If you can’t, take a look at your company’s website or handbook (Lesson 1!) to see if it is visible to new employees.  If you can’t, ask your manager what the mission and vision of the company is.  What are the values that drive the organization?  How do you know what those values are and how do they make for an engaging workplace and an organization that employees want to support? 

Hard:  Once you understand the words of the mission and vision, see if they reconcile to your experience as an employee.  How do they reconcile with the experience that you provide to those that you lead or to your clients or customers?  Do you see or feel those words in action with some but not others?  If they do more often than not, that is a great sign and you are lucky enough to have found such a fit.  If they don’t, how can you help your team member(s) see the bigger picture – their real value to the organization – and help them align with the mission and vision?  

Understanding the dynamics of your work ecosystem can be a game-changer for you as a leader.  As you progress in your leadership responsibilities, the perspective through which you see the organization and its mission and values will be an indicator of your ability to provide the right inspiration and experience to those you work with and will be evident in the way that they serve the clients and customers of the organization. 

Written by: Chris Ament, HR Director Consultant, ConnectedHR

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