In the mid-1990s, I was introduced to the term, “Cash is King”. It means that, in business, you can never forget that accountants and finance rule the day. All of us, no matter where we live and work, exist within an economic reality that is ruled by the mighty dollar.
Everything that we do as leaders, ultimately, will be judged by its economic impact. Yet, I preach Servant Leadership which is about recognising the full potential of people and enabling them to shine.
How does Servant Leadership marry with “Cash is King”?
Read on if you’d like to discover how the two are related.
Whether we like it or not, the number crunchers rule the world. Period. Your organisation does not have to be ‘for-profit’ for this to be true. Not-for-profit, government agencies, and the like, still need to achieve their budget. No organisation is immune from this reality.
I believe that the resourcefulness and capacity of human beings are largely underutilised within organisations. This underutilisation of people costs companies a lot of money. It costs them in the money that they didn’t save because of poor decisions that were made, and it costs them in reduced productivity that results from people not working anywhere near their capacity.
For the people within your organisation, poor decisions and low productivity are both caused by a lack of clarity, including:
- Clarity about roles.
- Clarity about what constitutes ‘doing a good job’.
- Clarity about how their key responsibilities will be measured.
- Clarity about how their role fits in with the roles of other members of the team.
- Clarity about how their role contributes to the broader organisation’s purpose and why their role matters.
- Clarity about the relationships they need to nurture so that they can perform their role effectively and achieve the results they are supposed to achieve.
When human beings are clear about what they have to do, decision making becomes a lot easier and productivity goes through the roof.
Recently, the frontline leaders and business owner of an organisation I am working with made some changes to a process they had been doing for more than nine years that all of them ‘knew’ was flawed and was creating re-work (the extra work that has to be done to correct something that could have, and should have, been done correctly the first time). Why did they keep doing the process that they all (independently) believed was flawed? Because they were not clear that part of their role as leaders is to keep their eye out for flaws in their system and to offer suggestions to correct those flaws. And, for that to occur, all of them, including the business owner, have to be open to listening to each other’s suggestions and not take these personally or as an assault on their competence.
Within four weeks of commencing their leadership program, this error had been corrected and would throughout the year, cover the cost of the leadership program more than ten times over. And those performance improvements will continue year on year.
Let that sink in for a moment. As a direct result of improving their leadership, their organisation will be making a significant year on year saving. From a logical perspective, will those savings increase the job security of both the leaders and their team members? Of course, they will!
Servant Leadership is about developing the skills so that everyone is clear about what they have to do. Servant Leadership drives “Clarity is Queen.” Organisations need both the king and queen to be successful. The reality is, whenever there are ‘cash’ problems, they are actually caused by a lack of clarity.
How is the balance between Cash is King and Clarity is Queen working within your organisation?