By Robin Crow

In working through a particularly hectic time at Dark Horse, I’m struck in equal parts by how important it is to keep the people who make up your team engaged and excited about the “mission” at work, AND by how difficult and complex that same task can actually be. How do we as leaders give our employees enough freedom and encouragement to be creative in their roles, and yet still keep the vision focused and finely- tuned? Of course, for some of us it’s easier than for others. If we lead an entrepreneurial type of company in the first place, than the culture should already be all about innovation and not always coloring inside the lines right? Notice how the word should snuck into that sentence? It’s in there, because even for those of us not constrained by the parameters and norms of most larger companies, the challenge is still real to make sure that the jobs of our most important asset (ie: our well-trained employees) don’t become stale!

SAS is a tremendous company based in North Carolina, which provides software solutions to a wide variety of businesses. This company is ALWAYS rated #1, or at least near that spot in best places to work polls nationwide year after year. They are extremely profitable, very socially conscious and they truly take care of their employees offering onsite daycare, medical care, dry cleaning services, generous vacation incentives and a lot more. They ALSO have policy in place, which mandates that employees spend a certain amount of time brainstorming creative ideas and solutions for parts of the business OUTSIDE of their regular job description. This helps keep their daily role within the company fresh, and sometimes creates great outcomes that would not have otherwise been found. Jim Goodnight their CEO has been asked many, many times how and why they spend so much time, money and effort to engage their employees. After all, It seems SO expensive in every sense of the word. His response never waivers. “75-80% of our greatest assets walk out the door every single night, and we want to make sure they come back. “ That is visionary, long-view leadership that we can all aspire to in our own way.

Every time I speak for an organization, regardless of their size or mission I am struck by how common the challenges are for all of us. How do we do more with less, become more profitable, not lay any more of our team off, please the shareholders…etc..etc.. Through all this, I am still constantly amazed at the lack of consistency in customer service at so many businesses. And in this statement, I mean both external customers as well as our internal customers. We need to do a much better job of finding out what our employees or team members need to succeed, and what they need to fill good about their jobs. That has got to be one of our top priorities as business and community leaders. It’s something we consistently discuss here at Dark Horse, and even when things are going well, we’re always trying to figure out how we can improve upon things for our customers, our staff, our community and our facilities. The process can never stop.

Author's Bio: 

You cannot be an effective leader in the 21st century without acknowledging that we are facing challenges of an unprecedented size and scope. There is simply no more room for "business as usual." Robin Crow will give your audience the tools to rethink, reinvent, and revitalize their businesses and organizations. He will show how change can be managed; and when done properly, can even be profitable. Now, more than ever, Robin´s message is a critical resource for those committed to stepping up to the challenge of becoming leaders who will make a difference.