The Best Companies to work for list was published last week and I’m still experiencing a mix of wonderful emotions to see three of our members win the highest 3* rating. Just 205 firms from 2.8 million active companies in the UK were awarded this accolade.
Because I know the leaders of these companies very well, and what they each do for their respective businesses, it caused me to consider what they’ve got that others haven’t. In many respects they are quite different, but in several key areas they’re very similar – I’ve identified three characteristics that to my mind are key ingredients for the incredible success of Moneypenny, Street Group (Spectre) and Ashtons.
In ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins introduced five levels of leadership. The highest, ‘Level 5’ leadership, describes leaders who have “a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”
My good friend and collaborator, Josh Phegan and I call this: “Hungry & Humble.”
Joanna Swash of Moneypenny, Heather Staff & Tom Staff of Street and Karl Judd of Ashtons epitomise this trait. Yes they allow themselves to be pleased with and to celebrate their respective successes but not too much – and they always want more, to improve, to progress.
Jo, Heather, Tom and Karl are continuously learning. I suggest they’re in the top 1% of leaders who learn and yet they still have a thirst for more. They recognise that every interaction, every talk, book, conference, meeting has the potential for them to get information, insight, an idea or to be inspired.
What’s more, they put learning and development at the core of their business and don’t just encourage but drive a learning culture.
3. Performance Management.
This might surprise some people but that’s perhaps because of their definition of the term, ‘Performance Management’.
Many businesses only use the expression for underachievers and on those occasions where they’re looking to manage people out of the company. To my mind that’s wrong.
Performance Management is something every member of the team should experience. In Moneypenny, Street and Ashtons, the top producers thrive on being performance managed – not least as they receive continuous feedback on how good they are.
There are many other factors. All three winners have great systems and processes, amazing brands and a clear purpose, objective and strategy.
Above all though, they’re led by people who are made of the right stuff, who never rest on their laurels nor allow their team to do so either.
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