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'Success Galore'

'Success Galore' was a recent media story hidden away towards the back of a newspaper which described the success of community development in South Uist, Eriskay and Benbecula. The people of these communities were given the opportunity to take control of their land under the Scottish Land Reform Act. In total 93,000 acres were brought back into the control of the local people in November 2006, which included 850 crofts, 3 quarries, shooting, fishing and curiously, wind rights!

The community have made phenomenal progress and not just in a small way. They have regenerated Lochboisdale Harbour which was left virtually moribund after the departure of the herring fleet, it is now a prospering marina, with future plans to develop a deepwater commercial port. Wind turbines are providing sustainable energy, and the old Tom Morris golf course at Askernish has been restored, and today is a golfers paradise holding an annual Open Championship attracting golfers from across the world. The community plan is a 50 year strategic plan which will benefit generations.

The result of the community is population decline has been reversed, dependency on external support reduced, sustainable industry developed and all achieved whilst protecting the environment, culture and history of these islands.

Now I must declare an interest here, I have good friends from South Uist and visit regularly. I have played in the Askernish Open, all be it rather badly it has to be said. So what does this have to do with HR and human behaviour, well quite a lot.

Read any management text book and they will describe the common traits of successful organisations, and they mirror the characteristics of the South Uist success. Successful organisations share their goals throughout the entire organisation, they value teamwork, invest in training, understand risk, go out of their way to care for their people, communicate effectively and adapt to changing pressure and circumstance. But perhaps most importantly successful organisations listen, listen to their staff, listen to their users, listen to external information and act on it.

Can we honestly say we reflect the views of our people around decision making tables? Is bad news allowed? Are managers under the cosh to meet targets, and have no time for anything else? Is there a bullying culture? The people of South Uist have a long term strategic plan, they have reversed decline and become sustainable can you say the same about your organisation?

There are countless lessons for us in the story of 'Success Galore', we just need to open our eyes and ears to see and hear them. Engage and listen to your workforce, don't shirk from truths, and even out the power base. HR needs to find its voice and be heard, and start to represent and champion on behalf of the workforce. 'Success Galore' let the community shine, and reap the rewards of their investment and hard work, can we say the same about our organisations?

Given the current workforce challenges, it's time for every organisation to find its success galore

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