Be patient and take your time
Ben also points out the advantage of taking on changes slowly. ‘If you go on the hunt to find the latest and greatest – technology, processes, whatever it might be – it creates chaos, [and] chaos that can take a long time to recover from.’
Equally important, he says, is maintaining your corporate ‘memory’. He uses an example of the reaction he received from a sporting board member after revealing the results of his teamwork index review. ‘They exclaimed, “Wow, we wished you’d been here two years ago!’’’ The irony was that he had, but the whole board had turned over during that time, taking all their learnings with them.
When it comes to knowledge Ben also emphasises the importance of respecting older team members. He says they may not be as quick to adjust to change – but they have an invaluable amount of corporate memory that should not be underestimated.
‘The slow burn is much more conducive to long-term success. Be patient with the staff you have, allow time and run parallel systems for a while if you need to,’ he says. ‘The more you churn the less memory you have, so you often make the same mistakes over and over again.’
When it comes to cohesion, he believes leaders should put their need for short-term results aside.
‘Listed companies are about the quarter, not long-term results. The really successful companies are looking at the decade, and beyond,’ Ben says.
However, in very personal terms it’s also about the people at the top keeping their egos in check.
‘Self-interest is very powerful and what it takes to build long-term success doesn’t often fit with peoples’ short-term narrative. The reason you are winning is not because of you, it’s the sum of all the parts connected overtime and the cohesion created.
‘It takes time to truly have the awareness needed to build a great team. A cohesive team is profitable and sustainable, and that is what you should be aiming for.’
HIA members can hear more from Ben Darwin at the upcoming HIA 2019 National Conference, 23–25 May in Perth. Spots are booking up fast, so contact HIA today to register.