If you look around your business and recognize a mess, everything is probably working a lot more smoothly than you imagine. It sounds counter intuitive, but companies that are progressive and evolutionary are likely to have many things left undone.
Here are three things that you are likely to recognize in your company that are unseemly, but good.
There is no such thing as a perfect business team. When you evaluate your team, you will recognize that they all have strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is always working on improvement in some area of their professional responsibility. In today’s environment where responsibilities are diversified, it is likely that you have tasked people with jobs that do not meet their training or core strengths. You should not expect them to be rockstars at doing jobs that are new to them.
Accept that your staff is evolving. I know a guy in the Midwest who was retasked with being an MLS communications director as a result of a management change. He had not written a blog, and rarely used facebook or twitter before he was tasked to be the champion of this business goal. Here we are 3 years later and he is among the most respected in the industry. On day one, he was naturally clueless.
What you need to look for in your people is their spirit. Do they approach their job with passion? Do they drag themselves into work for a paycheck or do they show up each day with a fresh spirit and a willingness to champion your cause?
You will have bad customers
No mater how much you try to convert every client you court into a customer, it will not always happen. You will loose sales, and some of your customers will always be unhappy. If you are an Association or MLS, you need to swallow this one pretty deeply. Since you cannot fire a customer, you need to get along with the worst of them. If you are a technology company, a broker, or an agent – good news. You can fire a customer, and it may very well be the best thing that you can do to keep you and your business team happy.
When you see an unhappy customer, you think your business is broken when it probably is not. Unhappy customers are those that want things that your company either cannot do, or should not do for very good reason. We see this frequently with feature requests. The customer asks “Why can’t you do this?” And the answer is that “We can, but it is not our mission so we will not.” To keep moral, it is often best to ask that customer to go away rather than hang on to a bad relationship.
Growth and Innovation break systems
If your company is growing or is innovating, expect systems in your company to break. The whole concept of business systems is normalizing procedures that create successful outcomes every time. If your company is doing something new or innovative (which is should always be doing), your procedures are evolving.
When business systems break, it not only is apparent to you but also to your staff. It takes them longer to accomplish goals. Exploratory or new procedures create erratic outcomes. It detracts from the successful operation of historic or core businesses. Frequently your business team will tell you that your stimulating new idea for growth is creating desperation and disillusionment. The truth is that those moments of adversity are making your business better because they force everyone out of the box to find new alternatives and new fail-safes. They keep everyone focused on coming up with better ways to operate.
If your business is broken, congratulations! It means that you are probably doing something right. Just be sure of one thing. You need to know that whatever is broken is on the path to getting better. Remember this perspective the next time you are casting your evaluation of the Associaton of REALTORS, or your MLS. It is very easy to find weakness in any successful organization. Be mindful of the strengths too.