People Are Our Most Important Resource, The Third Cornerstone of Positive Leadership

The third philosophical cornerstone of our Theory of Positive Leadership is a commitment to the belief that people are the most important resource/asset of any organization. Organizations exist to serve people, whether individually or corporately. Business organizations exist to serve customers and other organizations such as not-for-profit agencies and departments or agencies of government exist to serve a constituency.

Organizations employ many different kinds of assets in the production of their products and services. Those assets include land, buildings, equipment, information, and technology in addition to people but it is people that are paramount. Nothing illustrates this more definitively that the knowledge that the very value of each of the other assets is measured in terms of their utility to people. It takes human energy to put all other assets to work for a meaningful purpose.

Interestingly, accounting practices allow us to treat non-human resources as depreciable assets but requires us to treat wages and salaries of a cost. This contributes, I believe, to the tendency of executives to think of people and their wages and salaries as a cost of doing business rather than as an investment in a valuable asset without which it would be impossible to do business.

One of the things that distinguish powerful positive leaders from their less successful counterparts is that everything these men and women do conveys clearly and unequivocally that the people of their organization are the most important asset – an invaluable resource.

Peter Drucker writes, “organizations that fail to develop their people, fail in the long run.”
Positive organizations relentlessly invest in the development of their people by insuring that their people:

• Receive ongoing training of a meaningful kind,
• Receive clear expectations
• Are supported by performance management systems that give ongoing positive feedback
• Work in an environment that is safe both physically and emotionally
• Enjoy compensation and benefit packages are not only competitive in the marketplace but that also reward excellence.
• Have the tools and resources necessary for the successful performance of their work
• Feel that they have some control over their own success, and
• Are full participants in the process of delivering exemplary quality.

Positive leaders also recognize that the members of their organization are not the only people who are critical to the ongoing success of their venture. Positive leaders understand that their ultimate success depends on all members of their supply chain and they work to create a culture of interdependence, partnership, and abundance mentality that spans the entire supply chain population.

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