When problems exist in a business, it is very easy to blame the employees and focus on their shortcomings, lack of initiative, motivation and attitudes. When we as business coaches are called into assist a business with “people” problems, it is very often traced right back to a management problem! I am not saying that there are not troublesome employees and people with bad attitudes. Negative people with bad attitudes do have to be weeded out or they contaminate the business at root level. However, what I am saying is that sometimes certain processes do not exist, are not implemented or even adequately communicated to everyone. A business needs to be built on business principles and decisions not made emotionally or to avoid facing issues. This is where the buck stops at the door of management. Being a manager is not a “popularity competition” and it can be a lonely at the top!
There is a way to address issues right from the top down and that can immensely improve the organizational culture, productivity and financials down the line. This has a direct bearing on the attitudes at grass root levels and determines the level of job satisfaction. The process involves having an honest audit of your business or company from different angles. How would your company score if audited on financials, internal processes, expertise of staff and customer satisfaction?
Questions to ask are:
- Does my company have a vision?
- What are the values that this company must endorse and display?
- What will set your business apart from any other in the same line of work?
- Why would your customers choose you and not the competition?
- Do you know how your customers perceive you and the services you offer?
- Are you aware of how your staff members are treating your customers?
- Are efforts at correcting problems always taken personally with everyone becoming defensive and not facing the real issue?
Some of these problems can be solved by having a company vision and values which require everyone to hold themselves to a higher standard, take price in their work and offer the best service possible with a good attitude!
Deciding what values your company should stand for is up to you and what you want to achieve. Let’s take one example, PROFESSIONALISM. This is always appropriate and any business should operate professionally.
Values, such as professionalism, should be made explicit at all meetings and staff communications. Even more powerful is the way managers’ role model the value in all their interactions with staff and customers. Employees can be drawn into the conversation and brainstorm ways that the company can up the scale as far as being professional is concerned. Each member can give thought as to how they could improve in this regard. Any infringement of professional standards is then not a personal issue, but a case of failing to implement a higher standard expected of all. Employees should know what is expected of them and if their values do not align with that of the values of the business, then they do need to seek another form of employment. When values are not aligned between employees and the company they work for, there will be unhappiness, distrust and conflict.
Read further about the Balanced Scorecard which might help you see which areas of your business need tweaking or a complete revamp! Note the importance of a mission statement and a vision……………..
What exactly is a Balanced Scorecard?
A definition often quoted is: ‘A strategic planning and management system used to align business activities to the vision statement of an organization’.
More cynically, and in some cases realistically, a Balanced Scorecard attempts to translate the sometimes vague, pious hopes of a company’s vision/mission statement into the practicalities of managing the business better at every level. A Balanced Scorecard approach is to take a holistic view of an organization so that efficiencies are experienced by all departments and in a joined-up fashion.
To embark on the Balanced Scorecard path an organization first must know (and understand) the following:
- The company’s mission statement
- The company’s strategic plan/vision
- The financial status of the organization
- How the organization is currently structured and operating
- The level of expertise of their employees
- Customer satisfaction level
In conclusion, is a vision necessary? Are values necessary? Yes, it makes the company more cohesive, gives everyone guiding principles when they are socialised into the company in the first place and it gives all a map of how to get where the company wants to go. In short, it makes Business Sense