Our new book All In comes out next week. Here’s just one idea from the 300,000-person research study that is at the heart of the book:
In this struggling economy, high-performance managers are vastly more agile at helping guide employees through the vagaries of the marketplace—and that can lead to stunning financial results.
When Towers Watson’s researchers took a deeper dive into their database for us, looking at just 2010 surveys, they found a group of high-performance companies which reported revenue growth a whopping three times higher than their high-performance peers.
First, such agility started with managers who were considered “authentic” by their people. That meant leaders at all levels provided a clear sense of direction and made decisions promptly, they treated employees respectfully and took action on issues their people raised, and finally they behaved in alignment with company values. To sum it up, managers got off the dime and truly walked the talk.
Next, on an organizational level, these agile companies faced competitive market pressures head-on through innovative product development, a customer-focused culture, and social responsibility and integrity in dealing with their clients. In short, employees felt they could trust their leaders to make the company better, all while doing the right thing for customers.
We found that agility is more important in sustaining above-average business results than clever strategy, compelling product mix, or the other typical focuses of leaders. Today, employees feel a heightened need for their leaders to help them adapt. One interviewee we met with put this very clearly: “I have my head down doing my work. We’re going two hundred miles an hour here. I need my leaders to be looking to the horizon.”