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Talent Dynamics RSS Feed Blog Archive: March 2010

Jan's Corner: making money or making a difference?

Sometimes when I hear business people talk, I get the impression we live in a mechanical world and businesses are nothing but lifeless money-making machines. While money-making is a vital business function, it cannot be the whole story, nor even the essence of the story.

If I said that the purpose of our lives is to eat and breathe, most people would immediately raise their eyebrows and ask: “There must be more to life than that? Something more meaningful.”

Why not the same for business?

What if a fundamental reason of being for any business was to provide a unique value to other people, be it a specific individual, community or market? This way the essence and focus of business would be not on making money but on making a difference.

You, your team and your business are here to make a unique difference to a community of real people. What if making money was just a measure of how effective you are at doing that, rather than an intrinsic focus?

If we expand the perspective of our true purpose and inject our passion into business, we might notice that making a difference results in making money, too. And it is enjoyable and meaningful as well.

Sometimes when I hear business people talk, I get the impression we live in a mechanical world and businesses are nothing but lifeless money-making machines. While money-making is a vital business function, it cannot be the whole story, nor even the essence of the story.

If I said that the purpose of our lives is to eat and breathe, most people would immediately raise their eyebrows and ask: “There must be more to life than that? Something more meaningful.”

Why not the same for business?

What if a fundamental reason of being for any business was to provide a unique value to other people, be it a specific individual, community or market? This way the essence and focus of business would be not on making money but on making a difference.

You, your team and your business are here to make a unique difference to a community of real people. What if making money was just a measure of how effective you are at doing that, rather than an intrinsic focus?

If we expand the perspective of our true purpose and inject our passion into business, we might notice that making a difference results in making money, too. And it is enjoyable and meaningful as well.


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Meeting Lord Sebastian Coe and discussing Primary Purpose of Organisations

Engaging the team, winning hearts and minds
It was very exciting to have Lord Sebastian Coe as the keynote speaker at the recent People Development Summit in Barcelona. His opening speech for the Summit focused at why London won the Olympic bid – I said why and not how, as this was one of the reasons London won. Lord Coe focused his team on the ‘why’ and not the ‘how’!

Just minutes before, over dinner with some of the UK’s leading learning and development managers and some of the most respected and competent training suppliers, I had been discussing how Talent Dynamics always begins by focusing teams and organisations at their Primary Purpose and how that links to value and leverage. We had been discussing this as the theme at the table was ‘thoroughly engaging the team with hearts and minds’ and being careful not to run employee engagement as a process.

We all smiled then when Lord Coe backed up everything we had just been discussing in his opening speech!

“Rarely are there only two horses in any race. The markets keep moving”

Lord Coe told us how the Olympic bid was being viewed as a “two-horse race” but in his experience there was no such thing – indeed the 1978 European Championships in Prague had been labelled a two-horse race, between Seb and Steve Ovett. As it turned out, neither of these horses won!

“The perception was we wouldn’t win it: we would get to a worthy semi-final only”

Lord Coe went on to explain that London was so far behind the other cities in approval points to win the bid it didn’t seem possible they could win. He knew why he was leading the bid and it was his passion for connecting young people to sport. He knew the impact the Olympics could have on young people entering both professional sports and sport for fun and could see that the Olympics was an enormous opportunity for young people in Britain.

“If you can get young people to see something different and extraordinary, you can give them a ticket to set them off”

Now his job was to turn the focus of his team away from ‘how’ they would deliver the Olympics safely, securely, on time and on budget (which everyone knew they could focus at later) and shifted the team to ‘why’ they were part of the Olympic Bid team. Why London should host the Olympics. Why they were giving up their time and leaving well paid jobs to be a part of this.

“A generation of youngsters who may now be moved to take up a sport…”

Changing the focus of his team led to London gaining 30 approval points in six months taking then to 60 points! He asked them all to understand internally why they were a part of this bid and why London should be picked and then he asked them to externalise that to others.

“ It happened as a result of a more compelling story and narrative”

London won the Olympic bid – it was a surprise to many people but not to Lord Coe and his team who were dedicated and passionate about the difference they were about to make to millions of young people across the UK!

So perhaps this week you can take some time out with the team from the how and the process improvements and refocus everyone on your Primary Purpose: why your organisation is here… why you are here?

Helen Urwin, Founder of The Halthean Corporation, shares the impact of a recent Talent Dynamics Programme

Testimonial from Helen Althea Urwin – founder of the Halthean Corporation – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I decided to take part in a Pilot Talent Dynamics Programme in November. Being a consultant in the field specialising in Full Potential Branding, I work with leadership teams regularly to help them get the maximum out of their people and I saw this as a great opportunity to be able to participate in a programme with my entire team, as opposed to facilitating it, which is my traditional role.

What was fascinating for me to understand was how to increase the trust and flow in the team given that this was already very high.

However having briefed Michelle and Jan of the plan to double in turnover this year, we discussed the impact this could have on the team and how they would need to quickly raise their personal levels of performance to meet a challenging year of growth, along with the need for the entire team to be functioning much more in flow and quickly.

The Talent Dynamics team facilitated a fun, engaging and thought provoking two days. I witnessed changes in members of the team over this time as they grew to understand their Profiles, their natural talents, the reasons why they had easy or challenging relationships with one another and more importantly what it would take for the organisation to experience more trust and flow, resulting in more clients, new products and sustainable profit.

Three months on from the programme and we now have a unique language which we use with one another. As a result of the two days, we were able to discover new areas of value that could be created by allowing others to get into flow, doing what they love and what they are naturally talented at. We now have new members of the team, working on innovative new areas of the business, adding flow and value to our current offerings for our clients.

We have a new rhythm and routine, thanks to our understanding and implementation of the Talent Dynamics Pathway process, which gives us our daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual flow. This has enabled us to focus on what matters, when it matters and has given clarity to all the team.

Members of the team know who to pass the ball to with confidence, trust and certainty now. This has resulted in an opportunity for me to take much less of an operational role day to day and to really focus on the strategic, business building side of our brands and has created the space for all of us to raise our game and step up into our natural talents to perform even more confidently.

I would sum up Talent Dynamics saying that it has greatly accelerated both our learning and ability to put in place the vision for the substantial growth we are in the process of achieving. I will definitely be working with the Talent Dynamics team again in the future and have been very happy to highly recommend them to add value to my clients.


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