How to Optimize the Return on Your Investment in People

A successful and profitable business operating system relies on five key elements, otherwise known as the “Five Ps” which include: Product, Pricing, People, Process, and Planning. Critical to your company’s sound financial infrastructure, these five resources must be factored into your strategic plan and given the attention they deserve as you grow your company.

While each “P” is an important factor in a company’s equation for success, the “People” piece of the puzzle is at its heart. Unable to operate a business alone, highly effective business leaders surround themselves with the “right people.” So, who are the “right people” and what defines them?

The right people will share the core values of your company and will be a “fit” for its culture. Articulating your core values and why you are in business will help define the qualities of the people who will support your company’s success.

Once the cultural fit is a match, the next step is to ensure that each person is in the “right seat.” Each employee’s roles and responsibilities should match his or her unique talents, abilities, and capabilities. The opportunity to bring their gifts and passions to their jobs sparks energy and engagement within your workforce and is something today’s employees and candidates name as a value they seek in their work.

As the “Great Resignation” has demonstrated, workers – in almost all industries – are looking for more than a paycheck, although pay increases are on the list. Other “benefits” sought by workers include:

  • The opportunity to make a positive difference through their work
  • Being associated with a company that shares their values
  • A better work-life balance including time to spend with family
  • Flexible work schedule and/or location (remote options)
  • Assistance with affordable child-care
  • The opportunity to be heard and contribute
  • Acknowledgement and appreciation of contributions; feeling valued

When employees feel valued and engaged, they bring contributions and improvements to the table naturally, and their work creates greater value for their associates and the business as a whole.  And with the right people in the right seats, there is a productive rhythm to your business.

Gino Wickman, author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, suggests that getting the right people in the right seats means looking for people with “GWC” – people that Get It, Want It, and have the Capacity to Do It, described as follows.

  • G = Get It: Truly understand the company’s culture, its systems and pace, and how their job fits into the bigger picture.
  • W = Want It: Understand their roles, genuinely enjoy their jobs, and have a motivating spark for the work.
  • C = Capacity to Do It: Have the level of intellect, skill, knowledge, emotional intelligence, physical ability, and time to do the job.

That all makes sense, of course. But what’s the answer to retaining and attracting the right people for those seats? It’s all about leadership.

Patrick Lencioni asserts that “…teamwork begins by building trust.” Today’s successful, modern leader builds trust by being self-aware, emotionally intelligent, transparent, and authentic. When a leader is willing to be open, those she or he leads get the message that they can be, too. Fears of failure subside in favor of learning from mistakes and experiences, opening doors to contribute more freely and think creatively. The culture becomes richer as appreciation for each other grows and along with it, job satisfaction, team spirit, loyalty, productivity, and profitability.

It may be tough to open yourself up as a leader but, once you do, you and your people will be more cohesive, and your organization will function more seamlessly. As a business owner, start with yourself – modeling what you want your culture and people to be. Work with your leadership team to do the same, then put it into practice with all your people – including discussing the values and culture you envision for your workplace and workforce, openly and often. Give away what you want to come back to you. It’s a venture that will yield a high return on investment from which all will benefit long-term and creates a foundation built on your greatest asset – your people – for a thriving company that you’ll love to lead.

As the former owner of a multi-million-dollar company, I’m a CFO with a CEO perspective, which affords me a unique understanding of the five Ps of business success and how each contributes to a company’s financial health. I’d welcome the opportunity to help you evaluate how the five Ps factor into your company.

Written by

Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.