Imagine for a moment you have great communication in your business. What would that look like? Great communication would include not just the events that go on day to day in your business that need to be transferred, but also ideas, concerns from customers, watchful indicators about employee performance and the systems that are working or failing, intuitions and positive news from both customers and employees.
As a Gazelle coached business we pride ourselves with providing meeting rhythms and tools that offer great communication. However even with established meeting rhythms, the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual meetings will not provide great communication unless the business has an open approach to discovering the truth.
This starts with the subjective elements of your business. The business needs to not only have Core Values, but to live them day to day in the operation. Employees need to see in action that these Core Values are not some platitudes meant to be put on the wall and then discarded, but living breathing applications that are on display each and every day by the management team and employees. We’ve already mentioned that a good practice is to focus on one of your Core Values in your daily huddles, even if just for 15-30 seconds.
I recently facilitated a weekly meeting for one of my clients where the customer and employee data portion of the meeting offered some good discourse, however after the meeting when I was conducting management training with several of their new managers it became evident that there were some lingering issues that were not mentioned in our weekly meeting.
What became evident is despite the company’s attempts to encourage open discourse, the matter in question had been brought up on previous occasions and several of the new managers felt their opinions and ideas were being ignored. They left feeling that there was a “sacred cow” in the management area that was bullet proof from scrutiny.
Of course that was not the case, however the point here is to recognize that many times people in your business are reluctant to offer good ideas, criticisms and suggestions simply because they either have failed to have been acknowledged in the past, or someone or something is serving as a roadblock to allow this input.
Communication is critical in your business. It starts with providing staff with a clear indication of what your goals are. One of the significant benefits of Gazelles’ One Page Strategic Plan is that it achieves this and helps everyone to be on the same page.
Yet even with this tool on everyone’s desk or in their computer reminding them of what the company’s goals and foundational principles are, managers need to be receptive to input and open to feedback and criticism. Often times an employee will have a brilliant idea that cannot be acted upon immediately due to the other priorities of the business. It doesn’t mean that their suggestion isn’t good; it’s just that their timing isn’t appropriate.
The One Page Strategic Plan helps everyone to get the “big picture” mentality. It allows them to see that, yes they may have a good idea, yet based on our present goals and focus; it is not right now a top priority. On the other hand if their suggestion fits with the priorities for the quarter or year, it provides a perfect opportunity to immediately respond and take proactive measures to implement it.
The rules to running a business are simple. The application, that is another story.Two years ago I had a client who for a prolonged period of time failed to dismiss a relative who worked in a management position for him despite poor performance. What kind of message does it send to the other employees when someone in your business fails to perform to an expected standard? What type of communication is not being offered simply because the staff members see someone who is not meeting their responsibilities? If they see someone who is related to the owner/manager not achieving their expectations, do they believe that the owner/manager will truly care to get ideas that will increase performance or improve the business?
The owner finally released his relative. The relative had created specific training systems, yet wasn’t requiring new staff to observe or follow them. As a result of this action, one of the other managers, whom the owner had been pressing to improve his performance, immediately responded to some of his earlier suggestions increasing production and efficiency to provide an additional $1000 a day in profit. That’s right $1000 a day in additional profit!
Communication is a two way street. What you say by your actions has tremendous impact on the performance of your people. Do you listen, or pay lip service? Do you provide a big picture to your staff in an effort to explain why, how, and where you are going?
Communication is critical to your business’ success. How you act, how you live your intentions every day in your business communicates more than you can possibly imagine. Make sure you are communicating in word, thought, action and spirit what you really intend and see how measurably your business performance improves.
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