January is traditionally a time when businesses plan out the main objectives they want to achieve by the end of the year. Usually, the conversation is limited to how to maximize profit from the resources they have. However, this year, in addition to looking at our goals, we took a step back and asked: “What are our employees’ goals for this year?”
As we look to our staff and ask them to help the business grow, we should be willing to return the favor. I know what I’m suggesting is somewhat radical in the world of business, but this year we decided to invest time and money into helping our employees reach their personal goals.
After ten years of owning a business, I’ve come to appreciate the value of networking, but I can understand why many business owners hate it. Going to events and talking to strangers can be exhausting and feel like a waste of time. Regardless, having the ability to network is invaluable to a company.
As any business continues to grow, the CEO will naturally transition to the role of maintaining current relationships with vendors and seeking out new partnerships with other companies. That includes attending various events and conferences with the sole purpose of building relationships.
Talking to strangers comes naturally to me, but not everyone is an extrovert. However, a person doesn’t have to be outgoing to succeed at networking. It is possible to develop business relationships by being authentic, a good listener, and patient.
Here are some strategies for anyone looking to improve their skills and maximize their time networking.
In my circle of fellow business owners, I’ve noticed a recent trend in debating the pros and cons of whether it’s a businesses processes or individual people that make the difference at the end of the day.
It can be a bit of a catch-22 situation no matter what. Will the perfect process succeed if the wrong people are using it? Or will a business with perfect employees fail due to a lack of processes?
Lots of businesses like the praise their success on how quickly their employees turn out results because they have strict processes in place to make sure they reach profit goals. Of course, part of that side usually involves the business treating their employees terribly, and the business is experiencing a high turn over. Amazon recently fell into trouble for employees being treated like machines and not taking a bathroom break. They put too much faith in their processes and sacrificed their employee’s well-being for money.
Sometimes I see owners of smaller businesses following the same logic, the process is more important than people. Treat your staff like they are dispensable as if anyone could replace them. As if they are merely a cog in a machine.
Lots of successful business owners think they can increase productivity by paying their employees less, making them do more, and expect better results.
Forgive me if I think that’s a bunch of crap.
I don’t know any relationship in the world that improves if you tell the other person they don’t matter. Tell a spouse they’re replaceable and you’re not going to encourage commitment or inspire them to put effort into the relationship.
This is the exact mindset I seeing some companies exhibit, and it blows my mind! I know I’ve talked a lot about employees and culture this last year, but this mindset has just been weighing on my mind that I wanted to put my two cents into the debate.
I’m a fun loving person by nature and have a very dedicated “work hard/play hard” mindset. Even in the very earliest days when my friends and I were working 24/7 from a basement we still took time to blow off steam by playing a friendly game of foosball.
While we’ve moved from a basement to our own building, our company has never really lost the desire to have some fun on the job.
All of that is fine, but a fun-loving culture is harder to maintain as you grow. I want my employees to work hard to make the business successful, but I also realize there are times when people need to take a break and do something else, just like we did all those years ago.
I think a lot of businesses have difficulty in balancing the work/play dynamic within their business. Sure, you want to be the “cool” fun-loving company, but you don’t want staff goofing off and ignoring their job responsibilities.
Is it possible to have a fun work environment and still get work done? Should a business even care if their employees can blow off steam at their job?
Well, I think so, and I want to go over some of the biggest reasons I think it’s important for a company not to exclude play from their work culture.