QLeadership Series – Show employees how the business works

To succeed in today’s business environment, your employees need to know far more about the business than just how to do their jobs.

They need to know how it operates.

Influential managers must take the responsibility to help workers better understand the entire organization, gain a clearer perspective on just how the business operates, analyze the competition, learn to take risks, and inspire innovative thinking.

As a manager, you understand how your organization operates and manages its finances. That’s your job. So you might not realize what it’s like to work without knowing how every person and every job impacts the bottom line. When your employees learn how the organization runs and how it spends and brings in the money, they become more motivated to help make a difference.

Start by arranging for a business basics training program for all workers. There are several on the market that can be customized to your organization’ s needs. These programs may use a game format to explain how your organization operates and how it makes and loses money. This can be an enjoyable and fun way to teach employ­ ees the business of being in business. And here are a few other suggestions to get people moving on understanding business basics:

Talk money: Share the monthly departmental profit-and-loss statements with your empIoyees. This can quickly help workers to better understand how their jobs and specific duties fit into the overall workings of the organization, their neighbourhoods, and even their communities. Take time to analyse scenarios that show the impact one person has on the entire organization. This can be a real eye­ opener! The point here is to help your employees see how one per­ son’s attitude and behaviour might directly impact the organization’s bottom line, potential pay raises, bonuses, profit sharing, and so on.

Encourages “open-book managing”: The idea of open book management has become quite popular. This concept involves sharing the organize­ tin’s financial data and operational strategies with employees and then showing them specifically what they cost and what value they add to the organization. Some companies go as far as to post everyone’s salaries! A good resource for learning about this approach is the 1992 book, The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack. Information is also available on the Internet at http://greatgame.com.

Help people see the big_ picture: By showing-your employees how to see the big picture and understand the monetary domino effect of every action they take, you instil in them an entrepreneurial mindset that creates a motivated organization. Your purpose here is to devel­ op smarter, more skilled, and highly motivated employees who under­

stand their role in helping the organization succeed, today and into the future. Helping your employees to see the big picture, and not just a myopic view of their specific tasks, can help .make that happen.

“Trust-the glue that binds followers and leaders together. “

Warren Bennis

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