By Paul K. Bates, DPT (coursework completed), MTS, FCPA, FCMA, CMC.
Chair of the Board: Verity International Inc.
Like many of you, the Holiday season gave me an opportunity to spend time with family: Children and Grandchildren. In addition to just enjoying time together—I even did reasonably well at the bowling lane!—I listened to feelings about work and achievement. Some comments expressed satisfaction, some frustration. This is normal of course, but it did get me thinking about challenges of our life today when technology constantly intertwines our desire for relaxation and downtime with the 24/7 demands of work. In particular, I found myself contemplating how we integrate all the contexts in which we live and work. Linda Wagener writes, “The postmodern context in which we live has geometrically increased the multiple identities that we need to integrate to have a coherent sense of self.”
Our leadership challenge is one of folding together the operational, financial, and people strategies of our enterprises, whether they are for-profit, not-for-profit, or government situations. This can cause wrenching distress in us. Recently a close colleague and friend—someone that I know has the care of those around him close to his heart, when we were discussing a challenge, said, “we’ll have to throw some bodies at [an issue].” When I chided him gently, he immediately recognized my point that these ‘bodies’ had lives, families, aspirations and fears attached to them.
While we focus intently on the operational and financial models of our enterprises, we sometimes arrive at the people strategy as a subordinate issue rather than an equal, or even paramount, element of planning for success. I would offer that at the very top of our people strategy has to be answering the question of our moral strategy. In other words, what do we stand for? Are we clearly able to see the answer to this question in the framework of our enterprise and how we present our enterprise to those we wish to interact with? Is the integrity of our integration of operational, financial and people strategies complete?
As you look ahead to the year that is being laid out before you, let me invite you to consider deeply the nexus points between your institutional value system and the financial and operational systems that you are constructing. Achieving full integration may bring the best year you, and your team, have ever had.