The Nine Business Warfare Principles

How to maximize and retain the best and brightest employees

Did you know that up to 38% of your managers, supervisors, and team leaders are on the verge of leaving your organization? In the first quarter of 2004, Monster (the leading online job search company) saw a 44 percent increase in new resume postings. Particularly, “confidential” job postings by job seekers concealing their search from their employers are up 13%.

Are you aware of who they are?

The Issue

According to JWT Specialized Communication’s exit interviews, the most common reasons for voluntary departure are poor manager-employee relationships and ineffective communication. When there is a misalignment between employees, supervisors, and the corporation, costs increase, shareholder value decreases, and turnover increases.

CEOs inform us:

o I am concerned about the loss of good people.

o I lack the time necessary to mentor.

o My primary ability is deteriorating.

o How can I assist my key talent in preparing for an uncertain future?

o What is the benefit of ensuring my employees’ personal success?

3M has undoubtedly become a growing company under McNerney’s leadership. Consider what you and your company could accomplish if your key talent were aware of their individual strengths, core values, and long-term goals!
Are your employees’ objectives and strengths congruent with those of the business? Are you aware of their objectives and strengths?

Consequences of Silence

3M and James McNerney are onto something here. If you do not address your employees’ personal growth, the following consequences may occur:

o Individuals may “resign” but not “quit.”

o If you do not continuously recruit new employees, someone else will.

o You will lose the excitement associated with your employees’ initial days on the job.

o Possible deterioration of market reputation

o Decreased shareholder value!

Thus, how can you avoid unwelcome turnover and retain key talent?

The Roadmap to Dominance

True success requires a well-defined path, consistency, and creativity. And the path to success can come from unexpected—and occasionally forgotten—sources. Consider the field manual below.

What, you may ask, does an army field manual have to do with anything? Plenty. Business is a battleground. It is a struggle to accomplish your goals. It is a constant battle to keep your top performers from defecting and “upgrading” your competitors. Above all, it is a struggle to outperform your competitors.
We have reimagined this classic field manual for today’s business leader.

The Nine Business Warfare Principles

Principle One: Purpose

All actions should be directed toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable goal.
Genuine leadership begins at the outset. To engage your employees, it is critical to communicate the objectives clearly. This is a war that you cannot win on your own.

Principle Two: Go On the Attack

Take, maintain, and profit from the initiative.
Once you have defined your objectives (and communicated them clearly to your employees), you will have a prepared team ready to seize market opportunities.

Third Principle: Be Effective

Determine your priorities and allocate the bare minimum necessary resources to lower-priority tasks.
This requires you to establish your priorities and the specifics of your objectives. By utilizing the bare minimum essential resources, we mean that time and money must be directed toward the primary objectives while overlooking minor details and lower priorities.

Fourth Principle: Be Efficient

Ascertain the most effective utilization of your employees.
This is where personal development becomes necessary. To know precisely who to assign to what, you need a system that identifies each employee’s unique strengths and objectives. Determine your innovators, brainstormers, organizers, and communicators—identify employees who possess the skills necessary to accomplish each objective.

Principle Five: Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome

By utilizing your resources effectively, you can put your competitors at a disadvantage.
With the right person in the right position, your business can capitalize on every opportunity. Take the time to communicate the company’s objectives and to learn about your employees’ strengths and objectives. This will demonstrate to them that you believe in them, and they will be available when and where you require them.

Principle Six: Leadership Unification

Assemble synergy among all leadership for each challenge and objective.
In essence, this means two things: (1) you now know precisely who should be in a leadership position for each objective, and (2) you can communicate your company’s collective goals throughout the organization. In a nutshell, alignment. By engaging your employees through invested and unified leadership, you can ensure that they are aligned with the company’s objectives and goals.


Seventh Principle: Retain the Best and Optimize the Rest

Never give the competition an unanticipated advantage.
If you do not recruit your key talent actively, someone else will. By addressing your employees’ personal development, you can ensure that your company has the greenest grass. Knowing your employees’ unique strengths and objectives has another advantage: you will have a clearer picture of those who are actively disengaged (or whose strengths are not matched to their job). The true benefit will be decreased unwanted turnover, which can cost up to 150 percent of the former employee’s salary.

Principle Eight: Be Innovative

Strike at an inconvenient time or location, or in an unconventional manner.
This principle cannot be applied effectively unless you are aware of your key talent’s unique strengths. By aligning strength and action, you can maximize the untapped opportunities in your market.

Nineth Principle: Simplicity

Prepare simple, uncomplicated plans and concise, clear orders to ensure complete comprehension.
By aligning your employees’ goals with those of the company, you can ensure that they are engaged and prepared to act. You must communicate your company’s mission, values, and objectives clearly and consistently.
How are you going to put this all into action?
Dominating a market is not easy. You require a system for identifying your employees’ unique strengths and addressing their personal development. This insight enables you to connect ability to action. Are your innovators banding together? Are your organizers forward-thinking? The adage “the right tool for the right job” does not apply exclusively to carpenters and mechanics.
Engage your employees. Assist them in attaining personal success. This will result in the transformation of your business into a highly profitable and aligned enterprise.

When Langston began his career in international business nearly three decades ago, he had two goals:

1) To establish himself as a successful global leader; and 2) To maximize the potential of everyone with whom he came into contact.

While running operations worth more than $1.2 billion and employing more than 8,000 people, he discovered that without a process and technology in place, these two objectives frequently conflicted. He founded 100daystosuccess to provide Life, Personal, and Business coaches and executives with a tried-and-true Roadmap for assisting their clients in Discovering, Determining, and Directing their futures while maximizing their return on investment (ROI).

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