Conway Daily Sun May 5, 2010
By Michael Kline
Is your success in business a result of your work or in spite of your work? Chances are if you’ve found success in business, you probably discovered the power of creating systems, at least for certain processes. The more advanced a small business, the more likely they are to have pretty good systems. Systems are created to produce predictable results again and again in any given task. Most small businesses start with an owner who is excellent at what they do. Developing systems is the best way for employees to produce results similar to the owner, freeing the owner to work on the business and grow beyond their own personal capacity for work. This is a must if the owner ever wants to grow their business, sell it, hire someone else to run it, or even to really enjoy running it themselves.
Ideally, systems run the company; people run the systems. Even the most advanced companies, who have their processes down to a science, realize that the beautiful, creative and unpredictable nature of people creates the biggest challenges. Can the leadership of unpredictable people be systematized without killing the creativity and valued differences?
If people are our most important resource, is it possible to create “people systems” to cope with the complexities of managing, developing, and leading our people? What about dealing with difficult people or smoothing communications between the Greatest Generation and Generation X or Y? Each of course, thinks the others have no understanding of the workplace, so how do we tap the incredible value each brings to the table? If you have a liberal definition of the word system, then I say yes, systems are possible. As we discussed in last week’s sales article, we all generally fit into one of four major personality types. Each personality type filters and presents information in their language. Add to this, the complexity of the self-esteem and self-image baggage people carry with them (didn’t you ever wonder what was in those backpacks?) and how that impacts their productivity and attitude at work. Now consider those who are too passive (at-risk for passive-aggressive), those who are too aggressive (at risk for driving a passive to become passive-aggressive), and we begin to wonder how people ever work together. If we add to the mix, vastly different motivators, you have what we call the US Congress!
The good news: Science has been researching the human psyche forever. The wisdom of the ages hasn’t changed that much, but how we perceive it changes dramatically every twenty years or so. Modern studies teach us how to bridge the communication gap of generational differences, personality types and self-image based fears, confidence levels and other issues. To a large extent, this communication bridge resolves conflict, miscommunication, absenteeism, lack of motivation and lost productivity, and drives high morale, higher productivity, less turnover, and a more profitable and pleasant work environment.
It is important to learn and use these communication skills in three ways. First, they are critical to succeed in sales, customer service and even bookkeeping. Second, in leadership and supervisory roles, it’s no longer acceptable or effective to use the military approach; you can’t really tell your staff to “drop and give you twenty” when they step out of line. No, you’ll need to understand the meaning and the position your staff is coming from if you are to communicate what you want from them. You can fight for your old-fashioned rights all you want, and being the boss, you will win the argument but you will lose the productivity and eventually the talent. Finally, you will want to consider the great balancing act; how to balance the need for strict systems with the desire for input and continuous improvement created by the people running the systems.
The goal is to create a company culture in which everyone learns the communication skills, so their other work skills can be their most productive. To create an environment in which ordinary people use extraordinary systems to produce extraordinary results.
Michael Kline is a local retailer, Success Coach and trainer. He may be reached through his website www.klineseminars.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org