Sharing a post from my B2B CFO® partner Tony Valentino:
Every day, management and employees are faced with difficult challenges. At times confusion, uncertainty and frustration can slow or interrupt the organizations progress toward success. These twelve common sense ideas can provide the fundamental principles that will help your organization be successful and reach its goals.
Keep it Simple
The organization has grown so quickly and our business has become so complex that sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed. When we look at the forest we sometimes forget it is made of individual trees. It is only by getting back to the basic roots of our business that we can understand how our own forest has grown. When we understand the roots, the answers to our problems can become obvious.
In a society that has so many laws and regulations, it is easy to confuse the letter of the law with what is right, fair or just. Our organization (and people) must be known for having the highest standards of integrity and for doing the right thing for ourselves and our customers. If we work as if everything we do will be reported on the evening news and we strive to have ourselves and organization held in the highest regard, we will always do what is right.
Throughout history there is example after example of ordinary people producing extraordinary results. It is not just luck. This happens because these people don’t settle for the ordinary, but set high goals and develop plans to get there. If we believe we can be outstanding, we will figure out how to be. If our target is non-existent, we can be sure we will hit nothing.
Each of us has many things going on around us at once. It is easy to become so focused on our personal priorities that we miss what the organization is dealing with. When we detect that something is amiss or headed in the wrong track, we cannot assume someone else will deal with it. We must remain sensitive to our environment and when we smell smoke, yell for help.
It is impossible to anticipate all the issues that change on a day to day basis, yet a good management team is responsible to deliver a forecast. Since we are all in this together and depend on each other, it is imperative that we communicate continually. When changes do occur, we must inform each other on a timely basis so that adjustments can be made and problems avoided. Surprises are for birthday parties, not for business.
We don’t get in our car and take off without knowing where we are going and how we are getting there, yet sometimes we are guilty of just letting our business happen to us. If we are going to succeed, we need a goal to define what success is. We also need a roadmap to tell us if we are making progress in the right direction. Goals do not have to be fancy or complex, but should be clear and tough enough to force us into developing sound strategies to get there.
Make it Happen
Sometimes it can seem like there are so many people to involve, committees to cover or approvals to seek that we forget our main objective is to be efficient and make things happen. It is easy to analyze and question, but if we establish good plans, coordinate with each other and agree on our actions, when it is time to jump, we will jump.
Deal in Facts
We are constantly bombarded with information in the form of opinion, gossip, facts, innuendos, beliefs and assumptions. Almost any conclusion can be drawn by listening to the wrong information. It is only by sorting out the facts, applying the ones that are relevant to the situation and keeping an open mind that we can make intelligent, rational decisions that pertain to the matter at hand.
Respect Each Other
We are all in this together. Individuals that put personal objectives (that harm our best interests) ahead of the organizations objectives are guilty of playing politics. Like weeds, if allowed to flourish, politics will destroy everything we are trying to achieve. The true sign of a strong management team is one that develops mutual respect, realizing that the best way to achieve personal goals is by working with, not against each other.
Stay on Course
It is not uncommon to find ourselves taking two steps forward and one step back. We need to realize that progress starts slowly and builds momentum with time and patience. What is important is that we continue to get better. As long as our direction stays true and we remain committed, we will get there.
There is nothing as frustrating to a good employee as wanting to do a good job but not being able to do it. In addition to helping people understand their jobs, good management remains ever aware of opportunities to make jobs easier. Rather than forming more committees and muddying the waters with minor details, we must help our employees to be effective by discovering and removing the obstacles in their way.
Organizations are truly effective when each person is given the responsibility and authority to make decisions within their area of control. By empowering people we instill a sense of pride and recognize the knowledge and experience in our own backyard. By offering to help but leaving the responsibility with our people, we encourage ownership in all our processes.