Ring in the new, but not at the expense of the Old
Had enough of the never-ending ‘Hottest new ways to manage your Business’ advice that floods your inbox? While it’s true that the Internet, and the reach that it offers everyone, has been like a bomb under the desk of every business owner (no matter it’s size.), don’t fall into the trap of believing that everything that all businesses ever did to make their day-to-day work prior to 1985 no longer apply. If you have moved away from certain ‘old school’ management techniques, in favour of letting the ‘net do it, you may well be missing opportunities that your business rely on. After all, centuries of business practice won’t be completely swept away in less than a generation.
If the future of work depends on speed and nimbleness, there are certain paradigms that are required to help these systems work correctly. Keeping these paradigms in mind will oil the wheels of your business, keep it on the tracks, keep it steaming along, guided by its proactive marketing, taking the fuel it needs from its sales funnel, and everyone enjoying the trip of Customer Service.
Take all you can from new media, better processes in warehousing and industrial practices, and the untimed working period, but don’t throw out everything you used to do in order to maximize your businesses’ future. After all, everything old becomes new again, and you may well be better served to use systems you already have in place, rather than blowing everything up in an attempt to be modern. Sometimes, things need to be overhauled, occasionally, they need to be helped along, but if your systems are working, then why change it?
Reporting has gone the way of the Dodo in many companies. This is due to telecommuting, ever changing corporate roles, and other symptoms of the wired world. Just because many employees and contractors are working remotely, it is important for them, and you, to ascertain their goals, and how close they are to getting them. Even if – in the case of a remote sales force – you can access software that shows where they are, and what they are doing at any time you choose, the opportunity to talk to them on an ongoing basis – even if it’s only seasonally – to sit with them face-to-face and ask how business is will always impress on them that you are listening. If you have hired the right person to work for you, and you have given them goals, a fast, regular and ongoing conversation about how close everyone is will help you keep a tab on your businesses’ everyday operation, and teach you some new tricks that these talented people have found. It will also cut down on your workload.
With everyone’s reliance on AI to complete tasks, how hard is it to e-mail you and let you know what is close to completion, only half-way there, or behind schedule. It doesn’t have to be every Friday afternoon, but if your business runs on a tight schedule, you have to have some way of knowing how that schedule is going. Talented employees can be entrepreneurial and excited by taking control over their area. This is a great way to expand the business, but it could also slow up projects that have a Critical Path-type of operating history. Keeping them on their own schedules, as well as encouraging them to do what they have to in order to move the project forward, allows for the best of both worlds.
By moulding your existing practices that work, and changing those that can be managed better, you can have the best of both worlds in your business, but don’t throw out the rules that have managed businesses for centuries, just because it’s not ‘modern’.