Every business has a tremendous ability to succeed far beyond the founder or owner’s expectations. In consulting for more than 29 years I’ve learned the true secret to success in not only my client’s practices but my own business as well. As in building a structure that is to last, there is a foundation known as the cornerstones. The same is true in every business large or small.
The first and most important part of the foundation is communication within the business. From the owner(s) to the employees, from employee to co-worker, and from all to the consumer. Knowing very little about one’s product or services and less about the benefits to the buyer of those products or services is the downfall of many companies or professional practices. In his book, ‘Everyone Lives By Selling Something’, the author Alan Lord clearly defined this weakness in one’s disability of connecting customers with the product or services on the shelf. Along those same lines of weak communication skills is the owner or upper management of a business not clearly defining the mission or goals of the business to the workers. There is an epidemic of people not enjoying their work places or chosen profession. When the communication within a business improves, the likelihood of workers enjoying their environment is greatly enhanced.
The second important cornerstone of success is organisation. Some people are totally disorganised which causes stress for others as well as low productivity for all. Looking for things that could be found in seconds versus minutes or hours is one of the key reasons why some companies and professional practices are not only less productive but also less profitable. I truly believe it is the top 20% of efficiency and organisation that creates another 40% of productivity. Going home ‘happy tired’ versus ‘stressed-out tired’ will be the workplace of the future and one that is highly organised. Some workers are born organisers and others struggle with it. I find that some employees need simple organisational plans to accomplish more each day. Outline plans step by step, prioritise the lists with dates, then colour-code or track memos to achieve more.
The third cornerstone is motivation. Often employers and employees lack motivation to move their company to the next level. At meetings they continue to discuss what needs to be done but the motivation necessary to turn great ideas into finished projects through teamwork and delegation from upper management is not there.
Motivation is a gift we give ourselves. We can’t look to others to motivate us. How a person thinks, who they spend time with, and what they listen to, shapes their level of natural motivation. It isn’t the daily stress that comes to a person during the day that causes their stress. It is how one chooses to deal with the issues that come their way. If they process responses through a negative filter they will have negative results. The opposite holds true for the optimistic people of the world. They process everything, even obstacles and challenges that come their way through a positive filter which brings positive results. We all enjoy being around positive, motivated individuals as they give us energy.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fourth cornerstone, which is appreciation. Appreciation for one’s work, co-workers, customers and the opportunities for being able to contribute each day is having ‘an attitude of gratitude’. So many employers are not appreciated by the people they hire; yet the employers go out of their way to create a good work environment for the employees. Some employers do not appreciate their employees. These employees usually end up leaving when there is little, if any praise and respect for the workers. If a company has good employees they should be treated like gold. In today’s world, attracting and retaining good employees is not an easy task.
Most important to success is the appreciation for customers and clients. Letting them know you appreciate their business and that when they need the product or service you sell, they should think of you first and only. This type of customer loyalty is ironically found in businesses that have strong leadership, effective communication, praise and appreciation for employees and employers. The trickle down effect is definitely obvious in a happy business where the level of appreciation and respect are strong.
Linda Miles is a consultant, speaker and author. She started helping other practices train their admin teams in 1978 and built up a successful practice management consulting firm over 30 years. In 1997, Linda founded the Speaking Consulting Network.