Leadership Math (Algebra Much?)


I love the funny images on Facebook about not using Algebra since taking the class umpteen years ago. I mean, honestly, when's the last time you actually whipped out a pencil and solved for (do they still use pencils in school?). The answer may actually be more recent than you realize, and probably in a way you haven't even thought of. I've realized that math applies to many things and often a simple equation can be the answer to a complex problem.

I wasn't always good in math. Quite frankly, it wasn't entertaining in the least. So my early years in school were focused on writing, music, and theater. I wasn't so hot in the numbers department. But, once I got it, I got it. The logical side of me emerged and rejoiced, and I appreciated a good formula from then on like nobody's business. Even today, I see ways that I am constantly solving for that little 'x-ie-poo' (I know, that's totally not a word) and leadership is no exception. There's a leadership formula that I like to refer to and it's relevant to just about everyone and every situation. There are no x's or y's, and you can hang on to that graphing paper, we won't need it for this (gosh, do they still even use graphing paper?). It's seriously easy like 1-2-3, only way more cool. Ready? Here goes:

How you treat your employees = How they treat each other = How your customers are treated.

Too many equal signs you say? I think not. Here's the logic to this little formula. You see, how people feel each day about what they do is a direct reflection of how they are treated and the culture of the organization. It directly impacts how they treat each other; how they communicate, collaborate, support, and care about each other. This, in turn, flows right out into the experience of your customers; and it's happening every single day. Employees that feel great about what they do take care of customers with that in their spirit, and the customers know it; they feel it. There are a number of factors involved in all of this, from having the right fit, to culture, to how employees are led, and so on, but you get my point. If teams are happy, they serve each other and their customers well.

We've all had an experience of the great and the not so great variety as a customer and they both tend to stick. I don't know about you, but great experiences lead me back to those places that treated me right time and time again; we're talking loyalty here. The bad experiences...well I don't return. And here's the bonus (both good and bad), we all tend to share both types of experiences with others; and so do your customers. Yikes.

So, 'do the math' as they say and, if there's a morale or culture problem in your organization, the answer may lie well somewhere before the point of interaction with your customers. Back up a bit and check in with your team. Get to what may really be happening underneath. I won't say it's as easy as 1-2-3, because it may mean that some of those bucks stop squarely on some desks that don't want it. Yikes again. It can be a real ouchie moment, but one where needed change can come from getting real about a thing or two. Good 'ol math may well save the day, so to speak. Oh, and by the way, Amazon totally has graphing paper for sale; I checked for you.

Originally posted on LinkedIn.


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