Beginning, maintaining, and growing a small to medium sized business or passion area in the non-for-profit realm presents a balance and a dance that must be encouraged and supported. Often the drive to keep the business or organization running day to day is where the focus lies.
I want to lay down a challenge twist to this day to day dance. This is a world of fast moving, ever changing, and constantly adjusting society. As owners and managers work to establish order, systems, and procedures and offer the services and goods of our business, there needs to be an avenue for change or improvements. Be warned that as management continues for months and years in the particular services or goods, it is easy to fall into the ‘I know it all attitude,’ or a perception of ‘That’s the way it has always been done,’ or ‘Why fix it if it is not broke’, or ‘Just do what I say’.
Much of the time the farther removed (in time or position) a manager or owner becomes from the lower leveled employees the farther away the understanding of operations becomes. I would encourage managers and owners to think through avenues that would allow people in all areas of the company to express ideas and thoughts of change, newness, or making things run more succinctly. The theory and the vision are essential and yet with the need to change sometimes it’s the grassroots employees that have a way that would make things run more smoothly, or they may have had the face time with others that will allow for a new component or service that will catapult life and new clients or customers.
There are a lot of idea people out there and not all of them are leaders that surface for promotions or leadership roles. These people may just need the avenue or opportunity to share an idea or a dream. Seth Godin in his book Poke the Box uses this premise throughout. He states,
“The world is changing too fast. Without the spark of initiative you have no choice but to simply react to the world. Without the ability to instigate and experiment, you are stuck, adrift, waiting to be shoved.”
Is that what any of us as business owners and managers desire who really want to make a difference in this world? Ask yourself when was the last time around your company or organization that you heard, “I have an idea,” “What if we…” or “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” etc. Let’s provide the solid everyday structure and vision that is needed and also allow for people around the organization to propel us forward with their initiatives, thoughts, and wonderings.