No matter what else you do in 2012 there are three things that can guarantee increased sales, profits and improved employee performance and effectiveness. They are: focus, clear direction, and effective communication. Yes, there are other areas you need to pay close attention to but my guess is that all of them will fall directly or indirectly under these three. Let’s look at each of them briefly.
There is a psychological concept that basically says: what you focus on in your life, business, career or relationships tends to increase or be manifested. In other words if your concentration and awareness are always on what is wrong or negative, guess what? It will continue to be wrong and negative. As a manager/owner, if your focus is on what is not working somewhere in your organization then it will be difficult to change it for the better. This does not mean that you should stick your head in the sand and ignore it or act like it doesn’t exist. What this implies is that it is difficult to create positive outcomes while focused on the negative.
Over decades of working with organisations helping to develop manager/owners and improve overall organisation effectiveness and profits, it’s been determined that most managers/owners tend to focus on what they don’t want and are then surprised when they get more of it. Duh…
There is a great old saying attributed to Yogi Berra, “expecting different results from repeated behavior is a mild form of insanity.” So, business is coming back slowly for some of you. For others it may still be in the tank. No matter. Ask yourself, “where is my focus and the focus of my employees? Is it on what we do well, right, and our successes…or on everything that’s wrong?”
One of the great challenges today for many manager/owners is to see the future clearly. In many cases it’s downright impossible. Problem is, you still have to grow your business and make money today, as well as tomorrow, and do it taking a lot of risks that you can’t always guarantee will pay off in the long run. From your perspective as a manager/owner this poses problems that can cause stress, frustration, fear, and insecurity. Imagine what it’s doing to your employees who don’t have the vantage point or ability to see past their next assignment.
Some of the common statements/questions heard from employees during surveys is:
• who are we,
• where are we going,
• how are we going to get there
• how do I fit into the future of this organization…or do I
Imagine for a minute that you’re an employee of your organisation and not a manager/owner and that you’re not privy to most senior-level information, goals, or strategies. What can you do? You can do your job…and that’s it…and with no creativity, no imagination, no innovation, or no ownership in the ultimate outcome. What if every employee had this attitude? It’s not hard to conclude that you’ll get the labor of their hands but not their hearts. It’s tough to grow and compete with this culture or corporate mindset.
The movement of communication in any organisation is; top-down, bottom-up, department-to-department. What would be your guess as to where the biggest problem is in these three processes? You’d be amazed at how much redundancy there is in most organizations…because the primary method of communication is:
• you have to be in the right place at the right time
• you have to be high enough on the food chain
• you have to be in the “in group” or
• you have to fight for every scrap of information that you need to do your job right or better
Ask yourself again, how well can an employee do their job if they don’t have the information they need to be effective?
Whatever else you accomplish this year, if you can effectively address these three issues you’ll be amazed at how much more profitable and competitive your organisation will be.