Let me ask you this:
- If your company is making money but your customer are dissatisfied, are you being successful?
- If your CEO is working 80 hours a week and is on the brink of a heart attack, are you being successful?
- If you experience high turn over, absenteeism or alcohol in the workplace, are you being successful?
We live in a fabulously rich country and yet most people are unhappy with their jobs, work more hours a week and have less vacation days than any other industrial country like Japan, Canada or Britain and they don't feel they can achieve life/work balance.
How long can we keep this up? Burning out brilliant minds, breaking up marriages and financing costly medical plans to cover stress induced illnesses. This is not a sustainable strategy for business success. And yet, we keep trying to define corporate success in terms a "net profit no matter what" approach.
But at some point, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel. Profit margins are shrinking, jobs are lost to outsourcing or downsizing and we're replacing quality with quantity when it comes to hours worked. As if pedaling faster in the wrong direction could somehow lead us to a successful destination.
So what now? Slowly but surely, some businesses have realized that rested executives make better decisions, happy employees are more productive and eager to satisfy customers and happy customers are loyal and bring more business. Even if this means more time off, flexible schedules, job sharing, training and other expenses that target a simple concept: happiness.
Sustainable business success is not just about the financial bottom line. It's about creating inviting, inspiring and supportive work environments so that every employee can thrive, both personally and professionally, while creating new venues for business profits. A business works much better when it works for everyone involved.
But how do you find those great ideas that can turn your boat around and fuel sustainable business success? That's where business intuition comes in. There is no technique that will work for every business. But there is always something that will work for your company. You just have to find it. And it must take into account the state of your industry, your company culture, your financial resources and so many other factors.
How can you possibly compile all these critical factors without using your intuition or what most CEOs call their gut feelings? When you're tapping into your intuition, you are freed from rational left brain limitations which constantly argue that everything is too expensive or impossible. Instead, you are exploring the creative right brain which handles complexity through abstract thinking and creativity.
That's where you'll find your strategy for sustainable business success.
Elise Lebeau, M.Sc.