Letting Go of Old School Business
We are working in an agile, lean, bootstrapping world. We are delivering big data globally, in nanoseconds. We manage and run businesses 24/7 with on demand expectations from customers, employees and vendors.
Are you operating your business in modern times or like it is the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s or even the last decade? Your established ways of doing business may be holding you back. You may be out of touch with what can move your business forward now. It is time to let the “old school” business practices go and embrace progress.
Aged leadership techniques for running businesses that worked 20 and 30 years ago are great for television dramas, but not for motivating others to help you create a thriving organization. Managing from top down with authority and control is counter productive to collaboration and innovation. Dictatorial bosses are not respected today. Confrontation and intimidation were once seen as ways to “control the population” of workers. Today, it is misguided and creates resentment, all barriers to inspiring others to come together to solve problems and flourish in the workplace. Is your leadership style up-to-date?
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Work environments that are open develop greater trust and equality in mission. The millennial workforce is community driven, with a sense that you do well by doing good. Parents and institutions work hard to instill the values of sharing. It is expected to carry over to the workplace. Openness and freedom of expression are as important as basic rewards and even compensation. Younger generations will work hard, but old carrot and stick approaches are less appealing than basic respect and the feelings they experience by doing good work.
Retro is cool for clothing and design. It doesn’t appeal to where people want to spend a good portion of their day. Are you keeping up with the times? Are the visual clues in your office showing you are fresh with new ideas or stuck in generations past? Is your desk cluttered with paper files, stacks of business cards or even shelves loaded with management and leadership books that were promoted two decades ago?
Here are some clues that you may be stuck in your old school business ways.
Micro-management feels good. No one wants to be controlled by the overlord. If you are running the numbers every morning, watching arrival times and wondering how to squeeze out another ounce of productivity, it is time to refocus your energy. Today, results and outcomes move businesses ahead of their competition. Align your team with organizational goals and expectations. Celebrate accomplishments.
Dress code policy is a regular meeting topic. Ties and nylons are bygones as standard office attire. Loosen up! You want people to be comfortable when they are working hard. Innovators want to collaborate with peers, not be addressed by the “suit” in the room. Do you represent yourself as an equal that inspires others or someone that dresses to impress? If your employees are impressed, it is because you empower and motivate them.
You love your big executive suite. Big offices represent old austerity days. Everyone knows you earn the big bucks with your title. The expansive office gives the impression you are unreachable and untouchable. It does not increase your cool factor. If you have spent a big budget on office decor, it shows your priority. How about an office ping pong table, an employee lounge or creative think tank room? Big offices exclude you from working with your team.
If you have a time clock on the wall, you are truly old school. There may be legal reasons you may need to track or “clock” hours; however, time clocks bolted on the wall give the impression you are still operating in the industrial world. Computer software can be set up on any standing office computer or tablet and help you remove the visual of ancestral ways of tracking every second of work time.
Your technology budget for 2013 has a large line item for new desktop computers. Laptops, tablets, smartphones are how productive people operate today. Information available via online “secured” vaults and in the cloud storage provides convenience to vital documents and programs. Carry-on computing gives you freedom and accessibility to work from any where at any time. Times are changing and desktops are definitely old school.
Are you still using out of office notes? Throw the pink slips away. It’s not new, it is called voicemail. Use it. Return the calls left for you. It reflects your follow-through and respect for others. Better yet, encourage your team to find you via text and call you on your mobile device. Make it easy to be in touch.
There may be financial, legal and security reasons that you can not leave all your old school ways of doing business behind. Make sure that there really is a reason for holding on to the older ways you conduct business. If the only reason you are using old school business techniques or tools is inability or lack of interest to change, you will be left behind. Your employees see it. Your customers know it. Your vendors and suppliers are pained by it. It’s time to move into the new school of doing business.
Today is apps and accessibility, cooperation and alliances, nanoseconds and responsiveness. Being a progressive in business creates more opportunities for growth, in people, profits and productivity. Let the old go and go anew. You might like the results.
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. - Benjamin Franklin