“It is not the beauty of the building you should look at; it is the foundation that will stand the test of time.” These golden words of David Allan Coe bring forward a hidden success mantra for companies who strive for sustainability and survivability in the era of change, transformation and competition. It is a common fact that a foundation stone cannot come out to the front and introduce itself as the one who supports in holding the entire building on it. Beneath any beautiful structure that earns accolades from the world for its beauty and performance laid those unseen heroes who agree to remain at the below-stage – unsung.
Identify the foundation stones: Foundation stones are not the ones who laid the foundation of a company. These are the lots who perform the jobs on which the company joyrides. They are the real technocrats managing or carrying out the core jobs themselves. They are the company’s actual intellectual property. Mostly the higher management shall have to take extra pain in reaching out to such people as they are not the yes ministers.
Foundation stones are non-visible: These intellectual lots are non-visible to an amateur’s eye. You really require a vision that can see the unseen, below the obvious. These lots hold the entire burden on to them and rarely pass anything to the higher ups. That makes them non-visible to the management and the judgmental world. One should understand that if in an organization, things are also moving right and fast, there must be some able, laborious and efficient mind there. One need not always think of bottlenecks alone, remaining bottle is also worth attention. Troubleshooters are like patch-makers. Most of these solve issues with alternative methods and make the building look patchy.
Foundation stones work below-stage: The biggest irony about the people who are the foundation stones is that they prefer to remain unsung. They never show off the potential and abilities. Mostly they are introverts with the belief that the actions speak louder than words. This makes short-sighted management fail to identify the hidden treasure that makes the building valuable. Though one need not dig the foundation to locate them below stage, their work and steady output identifies them broadly.
Never mistreat the foundation stones: Most of the time, the glamour friendly management underestimates the value, importance and abilities of these foundation stones. As natural, any damage to these people can shake the entire building, if it is intentional but unwarranted. No foundation stone will peep out of the base and announce the contribution it made to help the building stand tall!
Replace displaced foundation stones: As in a building, the stones cannot be just taken out of a building’s foundation. If at all there is a need to displace these people, the void must be plugged in with an alternate. It is observed that taking out such people from a live project or office to populate them in other so-called critical assignments can cause both the terminals suffer. Neither we should pull out many people nor leave the emptiness unattended.
Listen to them: People who are the foundation stones say what they feel is right for the company or a project. They do not manipulate the data to present a rosy picture to the audience. Listen to them and try to get the feel of the real issues. It is mostly possible that these people themselves will give the solution for the problems that may at some point of time cause the trouble in the execution of the project. However they do not readily give the advice or the suggestions. Once taken into confidence they can provide the much sought tool that can easily remove the likely hurdles in the path to success.
Timely water the foundation stones: Recognition is what everyone wants. People working for the companies sacrificing their personal interests and holding the building erect also need to be recognized timely and suitably. A small token of appreciation enables the foundation to remain strong enough to continue supporting the building standing on it further. Applause, accolades, rewards etc. are mainly targeted to the people who are at the fore-front and are visible to the world, leaving a sense of ignorance to the people who really toil hard put up the show well.
They enjoy others success: The people who form the foundation stones of a company enjoy each and every milestones achieved by the company or the project even if someone else is credited for the same as they know their contribution in making it a success. Till the party lasts, the arrow points on someone else but once the party is over, the arrow turns back to them.
It is natural. In the game of soccer, the forwards get more chances to score the goals to keep the count ticking but with the able support of those who remain in their positions performing their tasks. The backstage artists for movies, dramas etc. toil hard to present the stars with the aura they shine with. Generals fight the war but only with the confidence they have on their foundation stones, the real strength of their battalion. Identify and reward these foundation stones, the company will do wonders, always.