A few weeks ago I attended an evening with Kevin Gaskell at KPMG in Leeds. Admittedly, I’d never heard of Kevin but I’d been invited by one of our clients and having skim read through the information within the invitation I thought it looked interesting.
Upon arrival I met up with our client, grabbed a drink from the bar and took my seat not really knowing what to expect. Within the first five minutes of Kevin’s talk, I learned that he had changed Porsche from a company on the edge of bankruptcy to the UK’s most profitable car company, improved sales at BMW by 40% and increased profitability by 250% during his time there and walked to not just the North Pole but the South Pole too. Needless to say it was clear from the silence in the room that everyone was engrossed.
It seemed phenomenal that one person could be that successful in such a relatively short space of time, and without an air of arrogance or self-importance about him. However, as Kevin continued to talk I realised that he didn’t see these achievements as solely his in any way. He believed everything that had been achieved was due to fact that he had the right team around him.
So how do you make sure you have the right team around you? Do you move away from the existing team around you and attempt to build a new one? Not according to Kevin. At both Porsche and BMW he had turned the companies around with the team’s he had inherited. So if that’s the case, how do you turn your existing team into the right team? Kevin believes that the key to building the right team around you lies in the creation of three things:
Commitment is about knowing what you want to achieve and ensuring the team around you buy into your vision. Every person needs to know what success looks like i.e. if you reach your goals what will be happening – what will the business look like, what will the staff experience be, what will the financial figures show etc. By deciding on the vision as a team you encourage every person to commit to the dream of achieving it. Once people are committed they are far more likely to put the actions in place that will make the dream a reality.
Connection is about making sure that everyone within the team feels connected to the dream and can see the part they have to play in it. Kevin argued that it was a leader’s job to give power away not to sit on it. Of course it is important that every person within the business is accountable for their actions but in order for them to really connect to the success of the business they need to feel they have the authority to make decisions within their roles and that their opinions will be listened to and considered. Connection is also about members of a team working with each other. If one person was to try and achieve all the business goals on their own it would be very unlikely to happen. However if there is a good communication that encourages people to build relationships then success is far more likely to be achieved, after all, as the saying goes, two heads are better than one.
Finally, Kevin argued that creating the right culture is vital to business success. You need to create a culture that enables commitment and connection to flourish. If you have a culture that does this then the best people will want to come and work with you and the best people within the organisation will want to continue to do so. It’s important that the culture invites people to build the dream in partnership with everyone else and to make them feel like they are working towards something extraordinary.
Click here for more information about Kevin Gaskell.
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