The one trait that all world-class teams and organizations possess is a relentless drive to maximize performance to reach their full potential. This obsessive drive to consistently raise the bar becomes contagious. An organization reaching its full potential is not just about achieving audacious goals and delivering remarkable results year after year. It requires creating an environment in which everyone is fully committed and working cohesively on a never-ending journey to constantly raise the bar.
Complacency has killed more great companies than anything else. Take a look at the popular example of Blockbuster. Once a dominant player in the video rental space, they weren’t ready to compete with the online streaming service giant, Netflix. Blockbuster had lost their drive and ambition to innovate. The result? Netflix not only disrupted the entire video marketplace, but completely dismantled the biggest player in the space at the time.
You might ask, “What could Blockbuster have done?” That’s not an easy answer, but perhaps they could have explored creating their own streaming service. Perhaps they did, but there have not been any reports to indicate that. Senior leadership failed to “raise the bar” and innovate. Of course, everyone remembers the Blockbuster and Netflix example, but the story offers such a great example of how easy it is to become complacent when things are going great.
Here is the thing about an organization reaching its full potential. It’s a continual journey more than it is a destination. Reaching an organization’s potential is made up of a specific mindset, belief, and culture that leaders in an organization adopt and live each and every day. It’s much more than tracking numbers and spreadsheets.
Here are three ways that you can help your organization not only achieve greater results, but also tap into your organization’s full potential.
Unleash Your Burning Desire: Create, Innovate, and Communicate
All remarkable companies that end up unleashing and tapping into their full potential come from leaders who discover ways to create, innovate, and communicate around a burning desire. They constantly telegraph this to the world every chance they get, from interacting with, and nurturing their customer base to marketing campaigns, social media outreach, and an internal strategy centered around this burning desire.
What is the core of your business that creates separation from the competition? Outstanding products? Better service? Education? What problem can you solve more effectively and deliver for customers or clients in a greater capacity than everyone else? What is the deep rooted purpose of your organization? Discovering the answers to these questions and articulating them is a good first step in bringing your burning desire to light.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is a great example of a company that has a burning desire to grow, always pursuing a higher potential. It continually updates its policies and creates new initiatives to achieve higher potentials that separate it from other leading department stores that have gone out of business. It has been on Fortune Magazine’s “Change the World” list every year since the magazine started publishing it. Walmart has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the higher education of its employees. Thanks to its Live Better U initiative, roughly 6,000 Walmart employees are pursuing college debt-free.
In order to be successful in tapping into your organization’s full potential, leadership excellence is an absolute imperative. Without a high-performing leadership team paving the way forward and living the desired behaviors, there is a good chance that the organization will become victim to complacency. When this happens, the organization will mostly likely fall short of ever reaching its full potential.
A financial services executive recently said to me, “Breaking through the barriers of complacency and raising the achievement bar on an annual basis begins and ends with the leaders of the company. They set the tone and either drive excellence of everyone around them or settle for complacency with the bad habit of focusing on what’s always been done.” I couldn’t agree more.
Obsessive Focus on the Journey and Process
Tapping into your organizations full potential is predicated on the daily behaviors that are either contributing to the advancement of a brighter and bigger future or keeping you stagnant. The organizations that create and innovate more rapidly, generally increase profit margins year after year. However, these organizations dominate the competitive landscape because they prioritize a strong focus on the process and journey instead of arriving at a specific destination.
Success can be an extremely dangerous result for some companies. The earlier example of Blockbuster and many other companies like it shine a light on how success breeds complacency. Without a rigorous approach to transform and disrupt your own processes, systems, and old way of doing things, danger could be lying in wait on the horizon.
The world is changing now more rapidly than ever. A new level of strategy, execution, and expectations is going to be required in order to win and build a company’s potential.There is incredible power in a focused journey. One of the things that I have learned over the last ten years working with organizations of all sizes is that there is nothing more rewarding than the pursuit of excellence.
The pursuit of tapping into your organization’s full potential is a bold mandate that requires strength and optimism, but it is a journey that is worthwhile in every way.