According to the Conference Board Challenges study 2012, the key to be successful for organizations is that they must possess an innovative mindset and a corporate culture that brings out the best in teams of diverse, talented, engaged and passionate people.

Easier said than done – for sure – and many, more or less serious books, studies and surveys have been published trying to come up with answers.

Certainly, many functional criteria needs to be in place for business success such as competitive and marketable products, R&D, effective production, competitive salaries, decent working environment for employees etc. but my focus is on the Human Capital and that is what I will address in this post.

People´s attitudes and behaviors are what drives a business and are at the heart of the organization´s success – or failure.

But there are no universal answers. People are different and as an organization is defined by its people, it makes organizations different as well. Organizations are dynamic and different and need to fulfill different needs for different people depending on what kind of organization they are and what stage they are in. Size of the organization, a start-up or a mature company, types of products or geographic location are but some examples where Human Capital issues need to be addressed differently.

What makes organizations successful resonates with the even more basic question; What makes people successful?

An organization, a division, or a team consists of individuals and each and every one of those individuals have their own definition and recipe for being successful.

An organization can never be “led”; only individuals can, and even though an organization might have thousands of employees the leader has to find ways to address and connect with each and everyone in the organization.

Each person needs to feel that his or her particular needs are being met; be it the need to earn a good salary, find a balance between business and private life, reach a sales target, feel that the work is interesting and challenging or that it is easy and manageable. Also, people want to have the opportunity to advance, feel that one is learning and developing and being seen, heard and respected.

People are different and we have different needs in different stages of our lives. We also have different definitions of success but there are also many basic needs that unite us and form the basis for making us successful.

The need to be seen and heard and recognized for who we are and what we do are basic needs that most people share. So is the need for mutual social relationships and a sense of belonging.

A person with good self-regard and an ability to self express, who can make decisions in co-operation with others, who respects others and in turn is respected by others, who can manage stress and is flexible enough to deal with different people in different situations and who has an optimistic attitude and a sense of belonging and well being is, in all probability, a content and productive individual.

Content and productive individuals make up productive and successful teams and many productive teams make up a productive and successful organization.

It boils down to a personal leadership where the leader needs to have the awareness and the skills to emotionally connect to his or her employees and build mutual relationships.


So how can organizations use this knowledge to be successful? I believe it is about “Selecting the Best and Training the Rest”.