HIGH-PERFORMING companies require highly effective boards and/or executive teams that are focused on ethical company growth. Indeed, the success of any enterprise and its leadership team requires each director, executive or manager to maximise his or her individual contribution. In turn, the executive team should maximise its collective contribution. Maximised contribution leads to maximised return – for the company and its leaders.
Understanding ‘natural energy’
In order to maximise return each director, executive or manager should be in their flow – or function through what is referred to as ‘natural energy’. Your natural energy reflects the way that you naturally think and operate. It is most easily observed in critical moments, when you will always respond in a particular way. A critical or defining moment is usually a brief and intense pressure or turning point, in which the decision you make or the action you take, dramatically impacts your journey, either positively or negatively. By default, you will respond in that moment from your natural energy as your instinct kicks in. However, your ability to respond effectively and in alignment with your natural flow can be developed through ongoing learning and development.
Some people are naturally innovative and intuitively drive concepts, projects and activity forward, despite all odds. Other people wait for the right time to make a decision or take action based on their sense of the market, team or clients. Some people will always be focused on who is affected by a decision and who they can connect with, whereas others will naturally think of the process or the system first and how that should operate. The concept of natural energy acknowledges that different people will naturally be more effective at different aspects of a business’ activities.
Balancing your teams
The same is true in the board room and, equally, in a brainstorm think tank – someone whose natural energy is focused on detail and analysis could undermine a blue-sky strategy session by firing off too many questions on ‘the how’. A company that requires a firm hand on implementation, quality and controls could be challenged by a visionary executive who wants to always ‘change things up’. Good expertise is essential, yet in a critical moment natural energy will always prevail.
We have developed a profiling tool that very accurately positions a person as one of eight types or natural energy profiles. We recommend that during the recruitment process you consider the balance of natural energy across the board, executive committee or team to ensure that the team as a whole is as diverse as possible and would likely have a balanced perspective in its debate and decision-making. Likewise this ensures that ‘aces are in their places’ and that specific positions are filled with the most appropriate natural energy to maximise value creation. For example, a sales role would likely be maximised through what we call a ‘Champion’ profile, yet sales may indeed limp along with a ‘Custodian’ profile that is steady and process focused.
When there is a balance of natural energy within any kind of team, there is a much more effective flow, and in turn results, for the team members and the business as a whole. A company that is focused on maximising its growth opportunities should commit to consciously understanding and bringing into balance the natural energies of its board in particular. No matter which profiling methodology is chosen, its consistent application is critical and increases in value over time as your understanding as an organisation deepens.
Maximising your contribution
In any type of team sport, success depends on each player knowing the position they play and maximising contribution, both individually and through the synergy created by a passionate team focused on the same goal. So too does this apply in the development and growth of any company.
New businesses are often created by those with high ‘activating’ natural energy, such as the ‘Catalyst’ profile, who are great at new ideas and innovative concepts. Yet ‘Catalysts’ can sometimes move their ideas forward far too early - before the concept has been tested in the market and before the system and resources to support it have been fully developed and deployed. Operational support roles often have strong ‘sustaining’ natural energy as they seek to leverage the ideas of others through their process-orientated, supportive and customer-centric aptitude. Yet, if not in balance can be too slow and process obsessed. A good balance of natural energy is therefore essential.
Therefore, identifying, creating and sustaining your value, which you then leverage, is the cornerstone of working effectively with your natural energy. It requires that you have a deep understanding of your natural energy and that you actively seek to utilise that natural energy to create, build and deliver value – for yourself, your board, your team and the company as a whole.