Monday, February 9, 2009

No News is Good News?

Don't jump!

You have a business and things are kind of okay but employees are nervous and so are you. You wonder how you can streamline and get your "back burner" marketing plan back up to the front.

  1. You're not sure if your systems are working anymore.
  2. You finally admit to 'yourself and another person' that you may not be reading your P&L correctly.(!)
  3. You've stopped having regular Company/Employee meetings.
Oh, this is a huge one right now!
Quite often what I do with companies is help them rebuild their relationships with their employees. Especially in the case of their being one "Captain" at the helm, the relationship with one's employees can be the first thing to go in a stressful situation.

When things are difficult or not working well within a company, I've found that owners often shy away from employee meetings. Perhaps they want to wait until they have "good news" for everyone. Thing is, people just want news! Any information is better than no information. Imaginations run wild with worse-case scenarios.

Even when things are going well for a company, the need for regular meetings is never something that should be neglected. There have been several times that company owners have come to me said "I'm having these monthly meetings, everyone seems fine by the end but then nothing ever changes!" I talk to their employees and I hear exactly the same thing: "nothing ever changes."Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's easier to talk to your friend about your spouse/partner about what's bugging you? Yeah!

This is when a little mediation can be in order. I love having these meetings where I meet with the employees without their boss and they can tell me everything they think is wrong (and right) about the business and their boss. They share their frustrations, we as a group come up with an outline of things that they would like to address. I knock the points out that are frivolous, too personal, not best dealt with for whatever reason and come up with a basic game plan.

I go back to the business owner, talk to them a little bit about the content of the meeting and ask them to now meet with all of us, and I will host the meeting this time. Without holding the owner's feet to the grill, I am able to create a middle ground for everyone to have a chance to go over the points we brought up in the previous meeting. I can put issues out there in an anonymous way, but the owner is answering to everyone on these points.

This may sound scary to some of you, but I've never had one of these "interventions" that didn't end with a group hug and a sense of moving forward. Sure, not everything gets fixed, but everyone certainly has a sense of what needs to change. Then, regular company meetings generally move a lot more smoothly and things do begin to change, for everyone.

Even if you don't have employees, this may give you a sense of how to deal better with sub-contractors or others. For the most part, no news is NOT good news...

Go dream!

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