What’s your killer app? HINT: It’s hiding in plain sight. It’s released through a different kind of innovation. And it’s not technology.
You might be mistaken if you think your killer app is a technology, your business model, that great skill your business has built up around process execution, or distribution, or your innovative approach to custom manufacturing. Instead, you might care to consider the one thing that underpins everything you do; people.
I know that sounds almost stale given years of management gurus talking about the importance of people in any business. After all, ‘people are our most important asset’ as the worn-out phrase goes, and we all know we need people to bring the right mindset to work. But with all the talk of technology, disruption, or digital transformation, we see the absolute necessity for business today to address the mindset challenge by building their business with people in mind.
When I joined Proudfoot in 1987, we were already a global operations consulting firm. My first assignment was a copper mine in far north western Queensland, Australia. Our role was to help the senior team enable front-line supervisors to better manage their business through harnessing the power of their people. Ultimately, to achieve better results.
Businesses should and must remain focused on this same goal today: harnessing the power of people. Because people are the killer app. After all, technology, products, services, systems, processes…they are all powered by people.
Today we need an even deeper commitment – ensuring we enable the capability development of our teams routinely and, as a matter of necessity, not if budget permits or if training hours or programs are available. Enabling people is how you build a better business. Truly leveraging people to get the multiplier effect and create that killer app. The application of people to your business challenges is the outcome and the journey.
That is where the real thinking begins. Work has changed. The way we plan and execute work today has changed because of technology and disruptions. But our leadership models have not necessarily caught up. Few of our management models have changed since the Oreo cookie was invented over a hundred years ago.
Businesses the world over are talking about innovation and so should you be. But not traditional innovation. Leadership innovation. Innovating how you lead people in business today, for the outcomes you want both today and tomorrow. Innovating how you enable people to be their best at work. Businesses are managed but people are led, and how you lead them likely needs to catch up with all the new technology and processes you are applying to your business. Innovating how you lead, manage, and organize your people, concurrently innovating how you engage people to help you create your strategies, develop your objectives and make decisions.
When we truly apply people, when we really enable them, when we power them up and not just empower them, we get different results.
When you think about launching your next new technology or your digital transformation program, the parallel discussion must be ‘how do we apply our people to this technology?” “How do we wrap them around it?” “How do we develop the best interfaces with the IT?” “How do we get the best out of it?” or “How do we really achieve the returns we expected?”
In short, how do we make sure people are our killer app? One way is by innovating the way you lead people – combining people, process, and technology to power up your business and get the results you need. That’s what transformation is all about – building a business fit for people and focusing on people as your killer app, not the technology. Being the developer of your own killer app!
Pamela is CEO of Proudfoot and passionate about innovating management and leadership models and approaches to power up people. In short – hacking leadership.
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Article by Pamela Hackett, CEO, Proudfoot