Companies are made up of many intricate, sometimes complicated facets, and components. There are a lot of hopes, dreams, ideas and successes that go into making our visions come true. Without building on the basic framework of, or creating a solid structural foundation that includes meaningful processes at the beginning, and/or adapting as we grow, the productivity wheel will continue to spin with a lot of hopes and dreams going out the window all at the same time.
- Communication starts with Management & the Leadership team. It is imperative that this group of people lead the way. Management’s responsibility is to create cohesive cultures that work together. Using assumptions to formulate results reduces communication within a company. As leaders it is important that we look past our biases towards the larger goal, building cohesive, collaborative cultures based on results not feelings.
- A serious complication arises when some employees inwardly sabotage the progress towards the company’s goals. Said employees are more concerned with maintaining their biases, are unable to enter into multiple conversations, and therefore inhibit the flow of communication that would benefit the well-being of others. This creates stress in the company’s culture, which aggravates dedicated employees.
- Another communication problem exists when employees feel uncomfortable with the topic and/or conversation and choose not to voice their opinions. Management may then assume this silence means employees are happy with the decision and the discussion is completed.
- It is often difficult for all employees to fully discuss and communicate all the issues to resolve. If issues are not discussed in full, assumptions will be made which in turn can cause a number of issues. Sometimes the communicators do not have all the facts, run out of time to finish the conversations, or take offense to an important question or answer, and are unable to come to resolve. As a result, important discussions stop, some employees judging enough information was provided, and everyone goes about their business without solving the concerns at hand. Unfortunately, avoiding the difficult discussions has negative consequences.
2. Policies, Procedures and Decisions
- Inconsistent/incomplete policies and procedures run rampant in many businesses. They are sore points for employees. Different standards for different people or circumstances are common in the work place. By implementing quality policies and procedures, better decisions will be made. This process takes the guessing game out of decision making, and creates a level playing field for everyone to follow. Of course there is always a grey area. For me this is good, as it creates healthy discussion points that can be used to enhance collaboration and results.
- Let’s look at API and ISO certification programs as an example. They can be quite stringent and restrictive if not created with care. Having said this, often people’s interpretation of the guidelines ends up being excessive, as it is easy to put in rules and regulations, it is difficult to create guidelines that are practical. The requirement is that the certification criteria must be met and maintained. This is a must and non-negotiable. How you write your policy & procedures to achieve the required results is a different topic. The certification criteria does not tell you how you create your processes, only that you meet the criteria, do what you say you are going to do.
- Practical and functional policies and procedures are essential to creating productive work place environments. Having too many policies and procedures in place is counter-productive. Sustainable policies & procedures have clearly defined directions, and attainable boundaries that outline practices. Being consistent in the use of these types of policies and procedures is the key to obtaining employee buy-in and engagement. Without employee commitment to effective policies and procedures, problems develop that become detrimental and costly to the company and its operation.
- Choosing not to follow well defined policy & procedures, or deviating from their directions because you do not like the outlined components, are poor choices to achieving team success. If you have an issue with a particular policy or procedure, it is wise to have a thought-out solution in place and go have that difficult conversation, as freelancing only creates additional problems.
- When communication is not clear, employees are not sure what they are supposed to do. When employee tasks and job descriptions are unclear, employees adapt by creating their own procedures to complete their daily tasks. This often results in shortcuts being taken, increased employee complacency and eventually disengagement. Without the implementation of consistent direction (coaching) and commitment to the well-being of your systems, the foundation will be continually manipulated. When employees become complacent, productivity will decrease; then disengagement starts to build and productivity goes down even more. Often this is when management begins to wonder what happened.
Company Management Alberta
What happened is communication was poor throughout the entire process of developing the policies and procedures. The structure, or foundation the company was trying to build at the beginning was incomplete, poor implementation practices were used, not aligned, and/or not relevant to the goals and objectives of the company. Inconsistent direction and incomplete decision making processes caused operational redundancy, duplication of work and disengagement of employees within the departments of the company.
Written by Brent Trenholm