The Art of Change in Business:
Everything changes constantly within a business environment. This is especially true in a small business setting. These changes can be anything from office culture to new strategy changes. No matter what, your business needs to be ready to learn and do better.
In our office we like to have a culture of “Do, Learn, Pivot.” This mentality is great to have, but there also needs to be a follow through. Many businesses like to think that they are great at change when they really aren’t. So here are some guidelines for going about change in the office.
Listen to everyone:
You pay your employees to be specialists in their fields, so they (In theory) have more knowledge on the subject than you do. You hire your employees to add value to your business by bringing knowledge and skills to the table. Let them use that knowledge and skill set to bring that value to the business. Micromanaging and putting down ideas only stunts the business as a whole.
This holds especially true when multiple people within the business are telling you the same thing. Your employees that deal with the customers and your product everyday will see things that need to happen sooner than you will. Allow them to make changes accordingly or at the very least speak their mind. Without that communication the business will be weeks behind on changes that have been needed for weeks or even months.
Allow your team to take ownership:
Your team is full of leaders. Allow them to take ownership of tasks and run things themselves. Your employees want good deliverables! They want to be valued in their job. They want to be needed. Allow them to bring you the best projects and ideas to you. Then allow them to take them farther. It is their vision. Not yours. So they will do it the best.
Flatter structures tend to have more creativity:
Going through a hierarchy of control to get things done is very clunky. When you give power to good people they will deliver good results. So allow department heads to lead their departments and brief you at a later point. Your employees will come to you if they need advice or have questions they can’t handle. Allow them to make good choices quickly and problems will work themselves out faster and the overall business can run faster.
Draw it out:
Our CEO does this all the time. Draw out problems and explanations. Have a white board ready to show thoughts and processes. This way people are able to follow your thoughts and edit easier. It really helps to push meetings along and get people thinking. It is even better if you can draw out your thoughts before a meeting so your thoughts and processes are easy to follow. It can cut meeting time by upwards of 2/3’s if done well.
Come together as a team:
Meetings can be cumbersome, but meeting as a team is important. Make sure to set time aside every week to go over important details about what the various team members are doing. This communication can weed out discrepancies and miscommunications early as well as help to set expectations and timelines.
Diversity has become a buzzword, but really you need it.
Different perspectives are important when it comes to business. You cannot have all of your employees within the same age range, culture, or gender. This leads to singular perspective and a lesser ability to solve problems. Various perspectives allow for faster problem solving, efficiency in closing clients, and better office culture.
Don’t just talk. Do!
Leadership quotes and books by business leaders are great. They have their place, but great leaders aren’t born out of quotes from others. Leaders take charge and do what is best to empower others on a daily basis. My brother used to tell me as I was growing up, “Leaders don’t need a title. Leaders just lead.”
This has been true throughout my life. Leaders were never just the executives. Leaders were those that people gravitated to in the office to solve problems. This is because those people act on what they know and are a resource to others. They didn’t read a book to become a leader or to look the part, they simply are.
People who come in with just talk lower morale, lower productivity, and they make overall processes less efficient. This is because instead of coming into the process and adding value they are adding quotes and theory. The people around these faux leaders see right through it and are disheartened by it. This happens when an employee needs leadership and specific goals they are being met with meaningless fluff and essentially being told to figure it out for themselves.