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Back to basics!

I recently went to an event with a band that played classic rock and roll. Of course, I sang and danced my little heart out! I was captivated by one member of the band who was playing a string bass that was painted midnight blue with “Led Zeppelin ‘ish’ Dark Side of the Moon” rainbow and pyramid paintings for effect. I had always considered the string bass a symphonic instrument and here was a fellow challenging my thinking while he was playing endless Pink Floyd!

This got me thinking…

HR.August2019 I started my business 10 years ago and quickly realized entrepreneurship is a “learned behavior.” I was a corporate HR and training executive who had not honed the entrepreneurial behaviors necessary to run my own business; an understanding of business strategy, marketing, contracts, processes, accounting, social media, etc. I went to seminars, read books, and hired a coach to get “up to speed.” Over time, they became second nature and I had become comfortable, until I saw a musician rocking the string bass. I was looking at an instrument used in a way that was new to me, perhaps it is time to challenge my behavior and go back to school to reassess the basics as they relate to business.

Wikipedia defines behavior and details that it “… changes throughout an individual’s life, as they move through different stages of life.” This may apply to entrepreneurship, leadership, relationship, and all the other “ships” that have set sail in our lives.

Consider the following:

Look at your business strategy and review your value proposition? How do you acquire, serve, and maintain customers? How have your products, services or delivery methods changed over time? Do you need to change the model to expand your customer footprint and revenue? Do your marketing and social media programs foster existing relationships and create awareness with new customers? Does a change in your business strategy impact your organization infrastructure?

Once you answer these questions, you can create a roadmap to direct your next steps to achieve your vision. Perhaps your next initiative or step is to introduce a technology solution to monitor inventory, streamline your business, or communicate with customers, etc. The results or impact of this initiative will define the next step and so on and so on...

Leaders often jump into “operations execution” mode and start making changes before considering the impact on employees and culture. Discuss the initiative with your team to gather feedback. Years ago, in traditional “top down” organizations decisions were made solely by the manager. Today, good leaders gain input from their team to garner information and identify potential issues. Employees want to have a voice and know that their opinion is valued in the organization. The model has changed to foster “out of the box” creative thinking. This is an important phase in achieving your long-range strategy and value proposition.

Once you have clarified and defined your roadmap, go back to the basics and identify the skills, competencies, and metrics employees need to achieve results. Review the people on your team and identify who has the required skills or can learn to exhibit the necessary behaviors. Set people up to win placing them in positions where they will be successful. Be realistic, not everyone can play Pink Floyd on a string bass! Be clear about the roadmap or change, timeframe, and your expectations. Tell the employee the type of training or coaching that will be provided to them and gauge their response. Pay attention to the clues! When you do not believe the incumbent employee has the desire or skill to take on the new initiative or role, start to interview and hire talent that will align with your evolving business strategy. You can influence and motivate, but at the end, you truly don’t have any control over others, including your employees. You can select the best and brightest, train and put policies in place, but the employee determines their “behavior” in the workplace.

Once you have implemented your immediate strategy, you can assess your company culture... the one you have versus the one you want. Culture change takes time. Develop policies, training, an employee handbook, engagement programs, and performance feedback, etc. that mirror your desired culture, enable the employees to “learn behaviors,” and propel the organization to achieve the long-term vision and results.

When you look at the string bass with a new set of eyes, it becomes a different instrument; going back to basics is necessary for your business. Look at the article “Staycation” in the last issue of Floral Pulse and read about the basics to implement in your business.

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