How to achieve innovation and growth - a focus on people

One question every business leader has asked at one point or another is: “how do I generate long-term, sustainable growth for my business”? The concept of competitive advantage is not a new one; and yet so many companies today struggle to develop a framework that allows for innovation and growth to be bred within the organization. Often a business will boast powerful resources, reputed professionals and an enviable track record - and yet the success of the past will not necessarily translate into a prosperous future.

In today’s accelerated business world goods move far and quickly, and information does so even farther and quicker, defining a new route to a successful business model. Some of the most successful companies in the world employ business models which could not be thought of only ten years ago. Witnessing this, many businesses will review their business model and procure new resources, but will neglect to revamp their management and leadership structure. Historically, the boss gave his employees precise instructions, the hierarchy was clear and rarely changed, and initiative and strong personality were ignored, if not suppressed. However this is no longer sustainable in the face of a fundamental truth of today’s business world: human resources are essential to the growth of a business, and employees must be empowered, rather than merely told what to do.

The human approach to governance, control and leadership

The YourPeople programme helps companies adapt to a business growth mentality through the human, or 3rd generation corporate governance and control approach. In the framework of 3rd generation corporate governance and control three stances on governance and leadership break through the traditional linear top-down approach: freedom within boundaries, accountability and alternating leadership. Treating each employee as a unique individual not only boosts morale, but also improves performance. Each person has a potential unique to him or herself, which a company can unleash by increasing the degree of freedom an individual is allowed in order to generate ideas and contribute in a more personal way. This is also reflected in leadership: while the manager is traditionally the leader, this need not be invariably the case. Different situations and projects may require different forms of leadership, which specific individuals, with distinct skills and mind-sets, can provide; and sometimes, all that is needed to improve performance is a higher degree of self-leadership.

While authentic governance and control - the 3rd generation of governance and control - proposes a more flexible approach to managing human resources and promotes more freedom for exploration, it does not disregard accountability. Control is still very much required: there is no plan without the means to evaluate its progress. However, the metrics have changed: progress and growth take priority over profit and revenue; customers should not only be kept satisfied but should also be actively engaged; not only performance, but active improvement and innovation are essential for positive change. The 3rd generation corporate governance and control approach helps companies not only to make the most out of their resources, but to explore new options that were not previously considered. Ultimately, it provides a guide toward improving yourself and your organisation, and to be able to keep doing so.