Mark-Hamade-400Guest post by Mark Hamade.

Have you ever had a stressful day and craved food to soothe yourself? Have you satisfied that stress with a salad? If you have, you are not like most people. It would likely take an amazing salad with just the right blend of ingredients to provide comfort from a stressful day.

Leading your organization to profitability holds the same challenges. When I was a Chief Operating Officer of a group of companies in the manufacturing sector, including PKM Steel, Salina Steel, and MSS Transport, I emphasized eight powerful ingredients to reach profitability. I’ve pictured them into a triangle (see the illustration below).

Focusing on only one or two of these eight aspects and expecting results is like making a salad with two ingredients and expecting it to be good enough to soothe your stress. I’d like to share my eight ingredients to profitability and you can decide how you like your “salad”.

Speak honestly from the heart

Effective communication offers influence and persuasion without manipulation. To communicate effectively, you must be genuine and honest. Trust is also a critical element. Without it, you can talk all day, but your message won’t be heard and you won’t get the results you are seeking.

So how do you do this? The key is in truly understanding the other person. This will allow you to choose words that you know speak to the heart of who they are as a person. You need confidence to speak genuinely and convey what you want to say. While you may be thinking a lot about what you want to say, you do not want to sound rehearsed.

Whenever I speak to staff I don’t rehearse but speak from the heart. When I addressed safety, for instance, I said it’s not about being perfect for OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) when they show up to audit the workplace. It’s about being safe to take care of each other and not suffer unnecessary hazards.

Role model culture for profitability

profitabilityYou can be the greatest leader in the world, but if your culture doesn’t match, your leadership won’t make much difference in the profitability. The good news is that, as the leader, you get to set a large part of the culture, starting with the mission. Your mission statement can be written with the best of intentions, but if your company sees itself as a money-making machine, you will have a hard time motivating employees. It is a leader’s job to convey an inspiring mission and live it. The members of your organization not only listen to what you say, but they watch your actions and will model their own actions to match yours. Setting the right culture is key to the success of your organization.

Once you set the goal, you are accountable for it Click To Tweet

Elements of a great culture are values, high performance, freedom and responsibility, promotion and development. Also: to communicate expectations but not to control…. I have allowed team leaders to schedule their staff how they liked and gave them the flexibility to promote, reward people or give them time off.

Company Values: practice what you preach

What are your company’s values? Every organization has them, written or tacit. It is your job to create a focused vision and convey it to your people. Motivation becomes easier once everyone knows what values they are working for.

An example of a value is selflessness. It means you seek what is best for the company, rather than best for yourself or your group. You make time to help each other and share information openly and proactively. An example is when I told a former top employee some of her deficiencies. She left the company to start her business and is very successful in Europe. She recently called and thanked me for my honesty. Without my feedback, she wouldn’t have started her own business.

Seek what is best for the company rather than yourself Click To Tweet

Nutrition, Fitness, Wellness: lead by example!

Employee performance is interrelated with wellness and fitness. A healthy employee performs at a higher level and achieves more satisfaction. Wellness has many different aspects: safety programs, commitment to an ergonomically pleasing workplace, but also wellness programs. It shows your employees that you care about their emotional and physical wellness.

m_health and fitnessIt’s important to support your staff in wellness: by doing it yourself. I have used an action plan that rewarded people not for doing sports, but for the outcome. Did they lose weight, eat better, had better blood pressure? The metrics helped. I did this because I truly care about people. The healthier people are the happier they are, the better they can handle stress, adversity, and live a longer life. But as a leader you need to motivate and lead by example. I did that by going to the gym with people, signing them up, coaching them & supporting them in whatever goal they pursued.

Support your staff in wellness by joining them to the gym Click To Tweet

Responsibility: Once you set the goal, you’re accountable

Productivity increases as accountability increases. Disappointing productivity often doesn’t result from ineffective people, but rather from poor workplace structure and lack of accountability. Accountability should not focus on the negative. That will lead to a paralysis of your people, and will reduce productivity. A good accountability program is focused on positive results. This can work to motivate people.

An example is a wellness plan that gives staff points for doing various activities and points for accomplishing the goal they set which falls under accountability. I had staff work with a nutritionist, so they had support and once they set the goal: they were accountable for it. I am proud of how many people improved and how it impacted their lives and families.

Productivity increases as accountability increases Click To Tweet

Excellence in Execution: do it right!

A raise in productivity is worth little if the product is not great. m_excellenceExcellence in execution can be accomplished through specific processes. You and your team must first see the big picture. Once you all know the vision and are in alignment, levels of excellence will increase. As a leader, you can greatly influence the level of excellence expected and achieved. A great example is my loss weight. One of the hardest things is losing weight and keeping it off. I have lost over 150 lbs and I have kept it off by executing my trainer’s plan. I continue to help and inspire others to practice excellence in the execution of whatever must be done.

As you work to improve your profitability, focusing on these areas will allow you to make adjustments to your existing organization and raise the bar. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Mark Hamade was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and moved to the United States aged 11 He was Chief Operating Officer at several companies. Mark is currently Partner at www.vivarisltd.com, an 18-year-old private firm who’s mission is to be world-class at creating economic and social value. We are committed to a set of core principals and values, including meaningful relationships, absolute integrity, the disciplined application of creativity, and being the best place for the best people to do their best work. Ideal transaction size is $15 – $100mn. We invest in four basic areas, healthcare / medical / life sciences; technology; leveraged buyouts and real estate.

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