Most Treasured Investment

By David Levy

Business Staff

The people in your business determine your success.

This was found true once again — this time by Harvard Business School (HBS) and its service profit chain. That is why HBS keeps reminding leaders to create a positive work environment. It leads to greater service and more loyal customers and that eventually leads to higher profits. Even in the most driven capitalist environment, you need to remember to invest in your people. We repeatedly get confirmation from studies that this focus on a positive work environment is accentuated in employee-owned companies and that this inevitably leads to an improvement in bottom line profitability.

Leaders that are the most effective and that produce the best results are those that invest both time and money in their people. Their priority is to focus on their team and they make sure that the team gets sufficient recognition and reward. There are three basic issues to examine that answer the question, “How do I build the people for whom I am responsible?”

First is responsibility. When appointing people, make sure that they have a clear job description detailing their responsibilities. This needs to be in place before they start.

Second is identifying training needs. Very often people come in with the quantitative skills, but do they have the interpersonal skills? You can provide soft skills training programs that equip them to better deal with people. This training can round out the person to work effectively within the team.

The third is the need to build a team. To invest in your people you will need to understand the value of a team culture. The leader moves the team culture from “me” to “we”. We live in an individualistic culture and moving the focus to the team is counter to the norm.

How do these aspects manifest themselves in employee-owned businesses?

The responsibility has an additional dimension. Not only does the employee need their job description but they also need to understand their role as an owner of the enterprise.

The range of training that is available for the employee ownership aspect of the position is vast. Contact the Beyster Institute for more details.

Is there a greater example of team than that in the employee-owned company? Not only is everyone in the team together, but they are all co-owners.

The biggest threats are favoritism and diversity. How to manage these within a team is always a challenge but is essential to team building.

If you are serious about success as a leader and want an unbeatable return on investment, make sure you invest in your people.

About the Author

David Levy

David Levy

David Levy is the principal of Consult Levy. His firm specializes in offering full service business solutions by experts with proven success. He has more than 20 years of experience advising companies. He helped one of those companies become 100 percent employee owned. Levy can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 858-453-3778­. You can also learn more about his services or read past articles by visiting his Web site at .

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