Clear on core values and mission…strong on culture…presence of strategic plan…high-performing board…outstanding leadership… clear policies…, competent technology. Many attributes define successful organizations. In the rosters of qualities of high performing groups, however, we seldom see a factor that may actually be the most important ingredient in predicting sustained success.
The word is energy.
An organization can have all the right attributes, but lack the energy to bring then to life. Energy is not only precious but scarce. It is easier to acquire information and even insight than it is to buy energy. In fact you can’t buy energy. You have to make it. Here is my take on the value of energy in people and in their organizations.
Energy is a huge predictor of both organizational and personal achievement. It is the lifeblood of focus, drive, passion, and tenacity. Regretfully, many of the practices used in organizations (including job descriptions, budgeting, and strategic planning) seem to take out more energy than they put in. How sad!
To build energy in yourself and your organization you first have to see what is now happening. What happens between start and end of work to charge or drain the batteries? I have developed a tool called an energy audit and you can contact me for more information and possible us. It lets organizations or units within them take a look at their sources, distribution, and applications of human energy—in both positive and negative forms. It’s a bit like a house energy audit that looks for heating and cooling is generated and distributed and at energy leaks in and out.
Unlike many conditions (including empowerment and self-esteem) people seem reasonably clear and consistent on understanding their energy level and when it goes up and down. Many can tell you, for example, whether they leave a meeting, a Facebook session, or a one-on-one discussion with their boss with more or less bounce in their stride.
We also know a lot about how to increase energy. One great generic strategy is to compress time. Virtually no one is more excited at the fifth meeting of strategic planning than the first. And almost everyone at the end of an hour looks at their watch to see how much longer this gathering will continue. We build energy by doing things in shorter order. And far more often than not, quality actually increases when we reduce cycle time of most activities.
Download the full document to see my take on the value of energy in people and in their organizations as a predictor of high achievement.