There are a lot of keys to business success. Everybody has their own list, including me, and by and large they are all true. Here are a couple more that have recently been issues for us in our office:
Any business can run without good organization, but a lack of organization stunts growth. In fact a surge in demand can kill a business that does not have good organization. Good organization means more than just having a clean desk. Here is a list of things that help in the organization process:
- Knowing what jobs need to be completed
- Knowing what positions need to be filled to complete those jobs
- Having clearly defined job functions
- Having clearly defined job procedures
- Having adequate workspace and equipment
One of the biggest hindrances to good organization of a company is lack of note taking. That may sound strange for some environments, but this is especially crucial in the training process or anytime a new procedure is put in place. Jotting these things down helps each member of the team to remember the new instructions. Nothing slows things down more than having to go back and re-iterate instructions that were already given because a team member “forgot”.
Without good communication, a business falls apart. While each team member may know their own job function and may be able to perform it adequately–even superbly–for a business to run smoothly each person’s job must be integrated with the whole. There are no islands in a business and individuals that try to perform tasks in a vacuum are setting the business up for failure.
It is crucial for the members of the team to be able to communicate verbally with each other effectively. This requires both parties involved, the one speaking and the one listening. Too often people start questions without considering that the person they are asking is NOT thinking about the same thing. This means the question is asked without first having provided the foundational information that even allows the question to be answered. Time is wasted by the askee asking the asker what they mean. Once the foundational information is provided then the question often has to be asked all over again so it can be answered.
On the flip side, many questions and instructions are missed simply because a person wasn’t fully listening, or only picked up pieces of information. This often leads to tasks completed improperly or things being done that should not have been. All this would have been corrected had the listener been listening fully in the first place.
One of the most difficult aspects of developing a workplace with good communication is learning how each individual communicates best. Some people are prone to take certain tones wrong while others are more sensitive to constructive criticism than others. More than once I’ve been accused of yelling simply from my tone rather than a raised voice. I know I wasn’t yelling, but it was perceived as such, which created block in proper communication. These things must be worked out first from the folks at the top, but is also essential for that to filter down to each team member as they communicate with each other.
Organization and communication are processes. Sure you can organize, but as the business grows, employees change, etc. there will always be a need to improve the organization processes. And as businesses grow, communication gets more and more difficult. Each new personality added to the mix only complicates the process, at least for a while.
Small companies can often get away with putting these on the back burner, but that’s a mistake that will only be magnified with growth. You’ll spend far less time in the early stages developing the organization and communication structure than you will have fewer growing pains and less tension later on.