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January 11, 2008

Know > Do > Treat

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Philosophy

Shawn and I had a conference call earlier this week with a client about some staffing issues. The client had called wanting some feedback on a particular employee they were thinking of promoting to a new position. Not only were we against promoting this person, we were also not so sure this person was best matched with the position they already have.

About half way through the call, the client got a little somber and shared some personal issues this employee was going through, and how difficult it would be if this employee was not promoted, not to mention let go.

I shared some advice I received several years ago about how to deal with situations like this. I call it the "Know > Do > Treat" approach.

1. Know the mission.
2. Do the vision.
3. Treat people really well.

All three of these must be done together and in this order.

1. Know the mission
The mission for your organization is what you're moving toward. Without it, you're lost. When JFK said the U.S. was going to put a man on the moon and return him safely home by the end of the decade, we all had somewhere to look to.

2. Do the vision
The vision for your organization is how you get closer to the mission. By actually doing the vision of your organization, you'll accomplish your mission. In order to get to the moon, NASA laid out a clear plan for how we could get there. We knew the Apollo program was the vision to realize the lunar mission.

3. Treat people really well
It takes people to accomplish the vision, which in turn accomplishes the mission. And when people are treated really well, it makes getting there that much more rewarding. NASA knew it was going to take a huge investment in people to make the mission and vision happen. If people weren't a priority for NASA, then why bother with the "return safely to earth" part of the mission?

Again, the sequence on these three is a must. The tendency is to either ignore the third step entirely (and forget about treating people well) or put it ahead of the first two by pandering to people before you know the mission and do the vision. When treating people well is ignored or comes first, the mission suffers. And when the mission suffers, chances are pretty good a whole lot more people are going to suffer too.

Know > Do > Treat

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