It’s often been said that many brains are better than one. That applies in academia, in medicine, and in business. Companies that learn how to leverage their employees often end up doing a much better job than those that don’t. They’re more innovative, more dynamic, and more open.
It’s funny because most of the best ideas for improving a company don’t actually come from the senior management or bosses. Usually, they come from keen, ambitious, and creative employees who want to make a difference and get ahead. As a business, you never know when inspiration might strike, so it’s a good idea to maintain an open forum at all times. Employees need to be able to come to you with their eureka moments without fear of rejection.
It’s worth noting that every company does innovation a little differently. Take Google, for instance. Google has a policy where all employees get to work on their own work-related projects once a week. It’s an expensive practice, but it has also led to some of the company’s most innovative products.
For example, many of the features of Gmail we know and love today arose from employee projects. Other companies do innovation differently still. But there’s a sense that the business itself is an innovative community. That’s what binds the company together and gives it a common focus.
So, what can your business do to better leverage employee innovation? Check out these ideas.
Build An Innovation “Safe Space”
Science progresses fundamentally through conversation and community. Scientific journals are the formal aspect of the scientific community. But if you’ve ever read one of these journals, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of back and forth. Scientists write each other letters, describing their criticisms of each other’s work in an attempt to get closer to the truth. They do so at conferences too, albeit in a less formal manner.
It’s important to allow this cross-pollination of ideas among employees too. They should be able to meet face to face at some central location. And, there should be opportunities to meet people from outside the firm who can offer a different perspective.
Include The Views Of Others
One of the reasons why most of academia is so stale today is that it’s a monoculture. Almost everybody has the same scientific and political viewpoints. People who don’t are shunned. This is the type of culture you don’t want in your business. The problem with monocultures is that once they become established, they get embedded. It’s hard to change working practices once this happens. And new ideas that don’t fit the model are few and far between.
There are, however, apps like Vetter that help bring different ideas to the conversation. These apps are essentially online suggestion boxes where employees can speak freely about what matters to them. Often, they’re a great vehicle for getting different insights and perspectives on the company.
Once you’ve identified unspent talent in your organization, you’ll find that innovation grows. Leveraging your employees is actually one of the best ways to maximize the use of your resources.
There are many different approaches to doing business, and one of the most common is that of scaling up. For any business which is designed to breed success, scaling is going to be essential. But what is scaling, exactly, and how is it achieved?
Put simply, scaling is the process of gradually expanding your business until it is bigger than it originally was. In a way, this is what all businesses are trying to do all the time. However, there are specific scaling techniques which it is beneficial to know about. With these techniques, you should find that your business grows as fast as you want it to. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective scaling methods for your small business.
Experiment With Marketing
The process of marketing itself is often misunderstood. It is not just the act of promotion, although this might be its most important ingredient. Actually, marketing is the entire process of selling a product. Right from ideation through to promotion and sale – all of that is marketing.
If you want to scale your business, therefore, you could do much worse than by reinvigorating your marketing. As, essentially, this means you are shaking up your whole way of selling to people. It might be that your current marketing campaign works fine. However, if you occasionally shake things up a bit, it is much more likely that you will be able to help your business grow. You might also discover one or two techniques which you would have never come across another way.
This is one of those things that many small business owners dream of, but never quite get round to. Often, the problem is fear – and that is completely understandable. It can be scary trying to expand your business overseas. This is particularly true if you are not even sure whether or not your business will stand the test of time.
You definitely want to ensure that you have a strong base to work from if you are going to do this. That way, even if the foreign venture fails, you can recuperate and try to scale in other ways. It is worth taking on board the advice of those who have been there before, as they will know what pitfalls to avoid. Take a look at this radio interview with Joe Kashurba as a starting point.
One of the major reasons that people fail to properly scale a business is because they lack the proper perspective. This means that any real progress they are actually making is ultimately ignored. However, fixing this perspective issue can be difficult. If you are really keen to scale your business as soon as possible, you need to know how to recognize success. Even small successes, as these are what breed major successes.
If you are able to keep perspective, you will see that small failures are not necessarily a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It might be that small failures need to happen in order for the bigger success to come along.
Being a good boss is essential if you want to run a successful company. Here are three ideas that will make you the best boss possible:
Learn How To Empathize
You will never be a good boss if you don’t know how to empathize with your workers. Empathy is so underrated, and it can be very important. There are times where people may have bad days and their work level drops. They put in less of a shift than you’ve grown to expect from them. Or, they make a mistake, and you have to call them into your office.
A bad boss will start shouting and bring the hammer down without asking if anything is wrong. A great boss will ask and then be empathetic when they hear the reason. Your employee may be going through a tough time or feel as though they’re being overworked. Being able to empathize can help you make better decisions and treat your staff with more respect and care. They’ll respond well to this and start working harder for you because they like you. There are loads of places like www.mindtools.com that provide tips on being empathetic.
Help Your Staff Improve
A key trait of a great boss is that they help their staff improve. A good boss can motivate their employees and ask them to perform better. But, a great one thinks of ways to make them improve permanently. One of the easiest ways to do this is through training and coaching.
Coach your staff to become better at what the do and understand your business in more detail. This gets everyone on the same page and helps them think in the same way you do. There are places like ecicoaching.com where you can undergo training and gain proper coaching qualifications.
As a boss, this puts you in a better position to teach your employees new things. With permanent improvement, you’ll see an increase in efficiency, productivity, and staff collaboration. All of these things can help your business thrive.
Work Hard And Lead By Example
I want to put you in the mind of one of your employees for a second here. Is it likely you’ll work hard and try your best for a boss that’s lazy? Are you going to be giving it your all when they’re doing nothing all day? No, you aren’t, because you won’t put the effort in for someone that’s not putting any effort in. So, as a boss, you have to work hard and display this work ethic to your staff.
Whenever they see you, you should be doing something productive. Lead by example and your employees will soon follow suit. It’s a basic form of human psychology, people will follow those who lead. Set the best examples possible and your staff will emulate you and try to match your level of work.
I hope these three tips will help you improve as a boss at work. If you’re after more business-related tips, then check out my article here tamarhela.com. Reading this will help you protect your business, which is the foundation for sustained success.
We rarely seem to have enough time to do the things we want to do. This is especially true in the office. This results in late nights and increased office stress. If these things are happening, then work is being mismanaged. You need to cut down on the time-wasting that often occurs in modern offices. Here are the activities you need to make sure are cut out of your workplace:
An Over-reliance on Email
This is probably the most common way in which office workers waste astonishing amounts of time. Part of the problem is that people tend to think that emails are a surefire way of saving time. Sometimes, they are. But they’re hardly ideal when it comes to explanatory messages or important, long-winded conversations.
I’m sure you’ve noticed, at some point in your life, that it takes longer to write words than it does to speak them! Well, you need to keep that in mind. Emails can be brilliant in the office. They generally allow you to be clearer and more eloquent than you would be in a face-to-face talk. But that often comes at a great cost. And the cost, of course, is that of time.
Sometimes, it’s simply much quicker to get up and speak to the person. If they are very busy, then consider emailing them to let them know you’d prefer to speak to them in person. After all, you’ve probably got other things to be getting on with too, right? But so often these things can be solved by a face-to-face talk that lasts a minute or so. Read more about business email clutter at www.slate.com/articles/business/.
There are a lot of people out there who love to plan meticulously. If you’re sniggering at them, then you’re probably guilty of wasting a lot of time at work. It may seem to you that planning is in itself a massive waste of time. After all, isn’t it better to simply get on with the task at hand?
That may seem like a good idea. But when you go in without a plan, you’re liable to make mistakes. This is especially true when you’re the manager of the business! You’re more likely to have to take several projects into account at once. Taking the time to plan is vital. Otherwise, you’re going to find that workers find themselves rather aimless.
Project management is an art that every business owner should be familiar with. Breaking down the larger task into a series of smaller tasks is the first step. Then you need to create a schedule based on the amount of time you have to finish the project. Estimating how much time it takes to complete each task is important, but make sure you leave some leeway. Not everything is going to go perfectly!
Timesheets can be a good way of helping your employees keep track of all this. You can find out more at www.avaza.com/online-timesheets/.
You may think meetings are incredibly important. Most business owners seem to think so. And, on the surface, they seem very useful. After all, what’s so bad about them? How could it not be practical to get loads of people in a room to discuss business? It ensures that everyone is on the same page. It helps people feel that they’re part of something important. It gives people a chance to put in their own ideas. Right?
In theory, meetings are great. But in practice, most meetings are actually a massive waste of time. A lot of people will tell you this, but defenders of meetings will claim that these people are just lazy. But this isn’t true.
Meetings tend to interrupt the workflow of your most productive employees. A lot of people don’t have anything to add to a meeting. This isn’t their fault – they’re there to work, not take part in meetings! They also cost money. You can actually calculate the cost at www.hbr.org.
Part of the problem is that people usually call meetings with only a vague idea of what to actually do in that meeting. They know that there’s an issue to solve, which usually involves having a decision to make. They don’t have time to think things through, or they simply don’t want to make a decision yet. So, they call for a meeting, hoping the solution with suddenly transpire during the proceedings. In other words, meetings often become a stalling tactic.
A lot of people engage in silent procrastination. This term covers a lot of the sorts of “micro” time-wasting activities that workers do. Many of these things are really obvious. They’re things that business owners tend to be a bit more lenient about these days. When a worker checks Facebook and Twitter, or checks their phone, or even simply gazes out the window?
There was a time when most office workers would have been too afraid to do any of this. But a lot of managers don’t think too much about it if they see an employee doing these things. They trust that it will be a short task and that they’ll be back to work in no time.
And, most of the time, that is the case. The employee themselves rarely see themselves as having done anything wrong. It’s true that even small breaks every hour can increase productivity so it may not seem that bad. But the problem here is that time can pass you by so quickly. Before you know it, you’ve spent a good five or even ten minutes just idly browsing or gazing. Workers may do this several times a day. This, of course, all adds up.
You need to remember that getting fully settled into a task can take about fifteen minutes of solid work. When you break away from this to engage in these micro-tasks, you lose your focus You become less efficient. It’s best to try to crack down on this sort of behavior if you see it a lot. And if you do it yourself, you may need help concentrating! Find some concentration advice at www.artofmanliness.com/your-concentration/.