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What gives your company its competitive advantage?  Typical strategies might be cost structure, branding, technology, quality of product, distribution network or customer service.  Yet every single strategy becomes moot without the ability to execute it. Don’t get stuck in the people trap!

Whatever your business, the underlying competitive advantage that supports all your strategies lies in your people and the ability to build a great team.  Ultimately your people conceive, build, sell and support your business.  They are the drivers of your strategies, tactics and objectives. Unfortunately, most companies do a less-than-average job of identifying, hiring, on-boarding, training, coaching and keeping great people. 

These companies fall into the “People Trap” – where the business experiences high turnover, poor productivity and an unhealthy culture.  If you’re in the People Trap, you likely have a hard time finding people to hire, your team members may not share your core values, or they may be sitting in the wrong seats and somewhat disengaged. 

Having a unhealthy culture creates a direct hit to the bottom line. According to Forbes magazine, a study by the Engagement Institute said disengaged employees collectively cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year in lost productivity.  And a study the Center for American Progress claims that the cost of replacing a team member can be over 200 percent of their salary!

If you’re still not buying that people are your top competitive advantage, let’s do a quick gut check.  Do you truly have a team all pulling together toward shared goals or do you have a few “A” players carrying the ball for the rest of your team?  Take this little test and answer this simple question: 

“Would you enthusiastically rehire every member of your team?” 

If you’re normal, you might have a couple key players on your team who are carrying the weight of the work.  They will do this for a period of time, but eventually discontent will set in.  Keep in mind, “A” players can go anywhere they want, any time they choose, which makes your business incredibly vulnerable.  What can you do?

The new book, PEOPLE: Dare to Build an Intentional Culture, provides an excellent roadmap.  Written by Mark O’Donnell, Kelly Knight and CJ Dube’, the book puts it plainly:  People problems are almost always the biggest challenge for entrepreneurial companies and solving them is transformational.  The authors’ answer is to create an “intentional culture” that is constructed deliberately and perpetuated purposefully.

What does that look like?  Ultimately, the people on your team will live and breathe your core values, each person is self-motivated and self-managed to do their job well, you have high employee retention and, with a reputation as a great place to work, you’ll never have to worry about finding people, as they will be drawn to your organization based on the culture you’ve intentionally created.

Interested in learning more? The book will be released on Tuesday, April 2, so you can pre-order it on Amazon and you can download the first chapter for free.

According to the authors, creating an intentional culture isn’t optional – it’s crucial to ensuring the future of your business and improving the quality of your life.  PEOPLE provides a simple framework with all the tools you’ll need to create a thriving workplace.