It’s all about relationships.

Let’s set aside the recession for a moment and look at what we can control.

If your business has room for improvement, start with how your people interact. The goal is to develop total cooperation and support at every level of your company. I hate the term ‘teamwork’ because it sounds like chain gang. I am trying to convey something much deeper. Will accounting help sales get the order processed or are there 6 orders ahead of the one one that needs to get out today? If the janitor has an idea, can he take it to a manager without being humiliated? Can a mid-manager present an idea to the boss without being rejected? (there’s a difference between rejecting the person and the idea) 

The first thing to do in a bad economy is burn the org charts. Sure, you have to maintain one, it’s necessary for planning. But does it have to be constantly distributed at every slight change? Can’t you just say that Bob now reports to Mary? Is it necessary to have everyone in a box?

I also recommend having frequent, short meetings of mixed ranks. The CEO can sit in on a basic sales meeting and a worker from production should be there too. Talk ideas. There is too much silly secrecy at most companies. It’s stupid because it’s ego, rather than profit driven.

A small retail store can do this too. Meet for 10-15 minutes daily. Freely discuss issues and solutions. Invite ideas. Even a little improvement can greatly benefit a business.

Set the egos aside and get to work. I see far too many businesses doing far worse than they should be. When a business is losing money, it’s like house on fire: it doesn’t matter who is applying water, it only matters that everyone is fully participating in the fight. Don’t forget it.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog.
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