I read a great article recently by CEO Kim Shepherd, talking about culture in organizations.
She stated something powerful that many in business miss.
“Great culture welcomes like family. Invest in onboarding and you’ll see the returns. When a new team member starts at DT, we send a giant fortune cookie that says, “We predict a very bright future for you at Decision Toolbox.” We let them know they have the freshest eyes, and that makes them one of the most important people on our team . . . please tell us what you see that’s missing or inefficient or redundant. Not only does that set the stage for them to engage and participate, but it also sends a loud and clear message that they are valued.”
I have a new puppy, and as I was sitting outside on the first day this spring, it reminded me of this. She notices and observes everything! A couple of flies were buzzing around the grass, and ants crawling on the deck, and she was watching them with amazement. She notices every sound, and is curious about absolutely everything, just as we are as infants. As we progress through life, we start to lose this childlike curiosity and stop noticing all the little things around us.
This also happens in business. When we are new, we notice everything and how things are done. We are usually conditioned on the “how”. After some time, we become almost robotic….performing our work without having to think. This is both good and bad. It’s great to become competent, however, it’s so important to maintain the fresh perspective, curiosity and observations that we have when we are new at something.
We have all heard the phrase “we couldn’t see the forest for the trees”. Reflect and think about how long you have been in your current career. Bring yourself back to the first day. You most likely felt like you were on information overload. You may have felt overwhelmed at all there was to do and learn. But, you got through it, and are now sitting where you are today. What if you stopped, and asked yourself some new questions….could this potentially bring about new, innovative ideas you haven’t identified?
-How long have I been in this role
-What has changed
-What hasn’t changed
-Are there any new ways of doing different tasks that I haven’t learned about
-What needs improving
-Does anyone I work with know how to do things I would like to learn
-How could we help each other learn and grow
You could literally add as many questions here as you like. The point is, to step out of comfort, step out of the box, be willing to shake things up a bit, be willing to be the student and look at things with a fresh perspective.
If you are a business owner, you could make this a new project with your existing staff. Hold a “innovation” week, where you encourage staff to submit any and all ideas they have to make it a better place to work, more effective ways to communicate, deal with customer service, marketing ideas, etc. You could start an “employee suggestion of the month” club, whereby you use this exercise as the launch pad to create an environment where staff is self motivated to bring ideas to the table. The rewards could be as simple as their picture up for the month where clients can see it in the place of business, and perhaps a feature spot on your website and social media channels. Give them recognition, it builds their confidence, their sense of feeling valued and their self esteem and self motivation. You might include a gift card for a coffee shop, or online shopping. It doesn’t have to be much, even a $25 gift card is valued by people. This will also be noticed by your clients, that will see you value your employees.
Think for a moment what one new idea could do for your business.
-increased profits, new clients
-happier, more engaged employees
-build loyalty in the workplace
-employees taking on stronger leadership & personal responsibility
-clients will “feel” the strength of the company through those employees
-clients will be confident in doing business because of this
The rewards absolutely outweigh the very small cost…..