“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
– Henry Ford
The success of any system lies in the efficiency of the components working together to achieve a common goal. Such is true as well for any business or organisation that provides product or service. Its success lies in the efficiency of the people working to create or to give the service. If you look at two of the most influential business personalities of our time, Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates, you will find that they had similar traits in growing their respective businesses.
Both highly driven and undoubtedly talented, they had a unique gift to attract top talent and gain employee loyalty. The ability to attract and motivate great people is critical to the success of a company because a company is just a group of people that are assembled to create a product or service. As simple as this concept may seem, it’s still challenging to find and hire top talent, which is why more companies are employing various tactics beyond standard compensation to attract new employees. Over the years, these incentives have become more and more extravagant, with perks like pet-friendly offices and catered lunches becoming more common, particularly in the tech sector where there’s already a shortage of talent.
At their Redmond, Washington campus, Microsoft employees have access to an organic spa and receive benefits like pet insurance and a free shuttle to and from work. Apple employees receive discounts on company products and have access to an onsite wellness centre at their Cupertino, California headquarters. As indulgent as these benefits may seem, the results speak for themselves. Both Microsoft and Apple consistently top the lists of companies where job seekers want to work. However, companies must provide more than free perks in order to engage and retain top performers, which is where motivation comes into play.
According to organisational experts, employees who feel like they’re contributing toward a shared vision for the company are much more productive and driven than their counterparts. During Microsoft’s early years, for example, all employees were awarded stock options. This incentive pushed employees to be innovative thinkers and created “Microsoft millionaires” when the company went public on the stock exchange.The company has since eliminated this program.
At Apple, Jobs included his employees in the decision-making process, says Willie Pietersen, a management professor at Columbia Business School and author of “Strategic Learning: How to Be Smarter Than Your Competition and Turn Key Insights into Competitive Advantage.” The late founder would create different teams to work on projects that had breakthrough potential. When they reported their findings, he listened to all of their ideas before picking the strongest ones and shelving the others. Although Jobs could be a harsh leader at times, his management strategy was based on creating the most innovative products, which galvanised his employees and won their support.
By carefully studying these approaches you will realise that successful leaders lead by being selfless. Leaders should find ways of motivating and inspiring their teams, reduce the noise and hassle in their work and help remove obstacles. If you are a manager or leading at any level at any organisation, the nugget is understanding that your team is not there to serve you. You are there to serve your team and help them do the best possible job for the company. Let us know in the comments section how you motivate your team or how your company or organisation motivates and inspires you to perform at your best.