Friday, October 27, 2006

Soul of a business

The performance of a business is undoubtedly a matter of doing the right things in the right way: making sure that you do what needs to get done, that you don't waste time and energy on stuff that is not relevant and that you do things right. Simple, or is it? That's actually a very "robotic" way of looking at a business. To achieve high performance a business must have a soul, an inner strength stemming from several key components.

Everywhere I look, true performance is not only supported by good management, adequate processes and proper metrics. These are vital requirements to simply survive in today's competitive environment. Here are a few of the things I find in businesses that perform exceptionally well:

  1. people's commitment, the deep involvement of individuals in a business, because ultimately it is because people are with a company with the energy of their hearts (not only with the motivation of the pocket) that true progress is achieved. Progress is for a company in terms of business prosperity and it is for individuals in terms of professional and personal growth;

  2. total engagement in projects because there are no boring projects that can be left in a dark corner: either a project is required for a business and then it must be given proper care or it is not and then nobody should be wasting time with it;

  3. they leave the ego outside the company's walls. Serving the larger purpose of a team instead in a way that transcends and includes the goals of an individual is an absolute must. That is true in business as it is in successful teams in sports for example. Trouble happens when individuals sacrifice the interests of the business on the altar of their personal agendas, more often than not jeopardizing the former and failing in the latter;

  4. careful selection of partners and employees. That's actually a direct consequence of the above three points and it does not mean that a business should choose only "standard products", i.e. conventional profiles that comply with criteria that are theoretically interesting but practically either not applicable or mere components of a masquerade in which employers fake to look for only "perfect" candidates and candidates fake to be exactly that. Now, anybody who has embarked on a job search at any point in time in their lives will tell you that this is the recruitment game in most cases. Some companies try to address that with background checks and private investigations into people's lives, but that is not the point. Again, the way to pick someone to be part of a team is a matter of technique as it is a matter of heart and intuition. A good match will happen not only at the level of capabilities, but first and foremost at the level of values: to what extent does the person share the values of a business? How consistent are they with their stated values? These are questions no private investigation will be able to answer in a meaningful way;

  5. the drive to strike deals when required. Deals between people provide the foundation to create a business; deals between companies provide the foundation to create a value system. This point is closely related to the point about leaving all egos outside the company's walls. One of my customers became a group of companies in the media & marketing business through the sheer power of their deal-making capability, their respect for the community created by the deal and their skill in protecting their deal and in making it thrive by adjusting it to changes in their environment. Their companies became stronger and started growing at amazing speeds as a result of their agreement; today like yesterday they impress me with their genuine desire to make the deal as valuable as it can possibly be and I think that's a great capability.

Aside from "technical" capability (expertise, processes, management discipline, scorecards...), these are only a few of the things a business needs to thrive. I believe them to be extremely important because they are essential ingredients of the soul of a business. A business that has a soul is virtually unbeatable and the essence of it is in the hearts and minds of its people.


  1. Alex, great post, thanks again for feeding our brains!
    I am just finished reading, no swallowing, Funky Business. The book is 6 years old and 66 years in advance! A first class eye opener.
    Thanks for recommanding it.

  2. I'm 64 years old, I've been in business for 15 years, but still, I'm not stopping there and discovering a lot of new things. For example, after reading the Tabtrader review, I realized that cryptocurrency is the future, in which you need to invest, be interested and, most importantly, earn on it.

  3. 北美代写里面摘要的实际写作应用范围非常广泛。论文摘要是文章的精华,是对科学研究工作成果的展示归纳,对于研究的目地、方法以及研究成果的概述。摘要往往分为下列两种。一种是随着论文一起发表在学术期刊上面的摘要。这类摘要通常会放在主体部分的前面,目的是想让读者先对论文的内容进行理解,然后决定要不要阅读全文。这种摘要一般会在全文完成以后才写。字数往往在100~150字左右。内容包含研究的目标、研究的办法、研究的成果以及普遍结论。第二类是学术会议论文的摘要。会议论文摘要通常会在会议召开以前的几个月之内编写,目地是用于会议论文评审委员进行阅读,然后决定能不能够进行录用。因此,比第一种形式更加的细致,长度基本在200—300字上下。会议论文摘要在开头必须要简单的讲一下研究课题的意义、目地、宗旨等。