In today’s world of Social Networks, Google, and hordes of other media, there is hardly any shortage of teachers, soothsayers, and numerous so-called ‘experts’ that teach us how to run our life, business, social circle, and everything in-between.
There are millions of sages out there, imploring us to use their ‘tried and tested’ techniques to improve our lot. Given such a situation, would it really make a difference if someone like me comes up with a step-by-step process anyone can apply in his/her daily life with equal ease whether in business or in personal life?
Yes, it is true not all situations are alike because you cannot treat your kids the same way you treat your boss, or the Chairman of the Board or, even your subordinate staff. This is where a bit of common sense will act as an excellent guide.
“Communication is depositing a part of yourself in another person.” Unknown
Supporting an open line of communication, both formal, and informal has often been seen as an effective medium of growth. It helps the executive team to find hidden pitfalls while, at the same time, identifying room for improvement. A word of caution here, watch against any simmering discontent of favoritism.
Introduce creativity by example. Those at the top must set standards for others to follow in suggesting creative processes that help increase efficiency throughout. According to George Lois, “Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality overcomes everything.” George is an American art director, designer, and author, well-known for numerous covers he designed for Esquire magazine between the years 1962 to 1972. In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art exhibited 32 of Lois’s Esquire covers.
Hold weekly brain-storming sessions as an essential component of corporate culture rather than a formality. Each department could have a 30-minute meeting every Friday afternoon. It will help look back at challenges faced by different TEAM members through the week. (TEAM: Together Everybody Achieves More, or Together Everyone Acquires Money.) The brain-storming component will help ascertain a few other, different approaches that could be used in the future with equal ease.
As a follow-up, Monday mornings could bring in best ideas before the management in a 15 minute ‘Points to Ponder’ meet. It is up to you how or when to schedule the same, so long as you ensure the results of each brain-storming session are given due consideration. Recognize and reward creative thinkers in your organization. A simple gesture, e.g. designating a clearly marked premium parking space to the ‘Best Thinker of the Month,’ or a ‘Family Dinner for the Winner,’ at a nice restaurant could be a simple starting point.
Pay attention to the feedback your employees provide as the first-hand experience in the market-place. Businesses spend an insane amount of money on gathering market intelligence, whether through creative marketing campaigns or businesses alliances, Loyalty Programs and In-house Credit Cards, E-mail list purchases (e.g., in the travel and tourism industry for Cruise Sales,) and so much more. Why not use the talent at your disposal every day of the week? Your employees can contribute a lot through their own observation of the competitors’ strategy and its impact on your business.
Bill Gates has this to say about feedback:
Virtually every company will be going out and empowering their workers with a certain set of tools, and the big difference in how much value is received from that will be how much the company steps back and really thinks through their business processes,” thinking through how their business can change, how their project management, their customer feedback, their planning cycles can be quite different than they ever were before.
Introduce a system of surprise breaks for your staff. Let’s say the Production TEAM gets a half-hour break on Friday evening whereas the Sales TEAM reports half-an-hour late on a given day during the week, (not on Monday, of course.) The same rule could be applied to the other departments by rotation. Do it once a month in the beginning. Gauge the reaction of your staff to this surprising offer in terms of productivity over the next 3 to 4 weeks before repeating the same. Such a gesture helps create a sense of human touch where the employees feel appreciated.
Encourage and empower staff to attend industry related trade shows, conferences, and/or exhibitions to widen their sphere of knowledge to help increase productivity. Let them gather insights into advanced systems, machines, and methods to improve both the quality and quantity of their daily output. Ask them to submit a written report on their experience from such a visit on company time and cost.
Introduce a Family-Day in your organization where the staff may bring either their children or the spouse to work, and intermingle with other colleagues’ families. It helps create a sense of belonging among all. Alternatively, you can organize a Half-yearly Corporate Picnic to suit the size of your organization.
Hire an Event Management company to take care of the details. Rest assured the expense so incurred will go a long way in terms of investment in your workforce. They will develop a closer affinity to both their work and the organization beyond belief.
Make sure you have an Annual Day where all the creative juices, passions, hobbies, and other curricular activities of your TEAMs are allowed to come to the fore and appropriately nurtured. A three-hour show could have story-tellers, singers, instrument players, hobbyists, and all other creative employees would get a chance to showcase their interests outside of their cubicles. Giving a vent to their emotions, respecting their families, helping them interact with other employees of the company, as well as giving them recognition where due, will all help you drive the maximum possible leverage out of your human resources. Not only that, but such steps will also infuse a stronger sense of camaraderie whereby you will reduce staff redundancy and get to keep them longer, produce more, and help the business take on the competition with a laser-sharp focus.
Invite, hire or engage experienced speakers, coaches, trainers, and other professionals/experts to give a discourse on all-round development. Sales coaches would help bring value to the concerned staff whereas cost-efficiency experts will help the upper management put in place proper systems to control waste. Time management gurus will help the team learn the techniques specific to relaxation and productivity balance. Executive Coaches will help throw new light on various systems, methodologies you can introduce or implement without delay. You will soon realize the hidden value of these initiatives.
Last, but not the least, make sure each one of the above efforts you put together has the responsibility, evaluation, tracking, as well as follow-up activities attached to it. Officers and/or managers entrusted with the implementation of any of these activities must be prepared to give an impartial review upon completion of the same, and also suggest ways and means for future improvement.
Trust the outstandingly intelligent, discerning readers will find relatable value in the above submission.
I shall be keenly looking forward to your valuable feedback; Thank you!