How to Move Your Business Forward

This past year with the pandemic was one of disconnection, isolation, perhaps numbness and desperation.  With multiple vaccines rolling out, there is hope for moving forward in a different way. 

Recent past blogs highlighted Trends and Opportunities (January 2021)­ and Ask for Help (February 2021).

To be successful, HOW you move ahead is important.  You need to listen well, create a positive company culture, as well as be empathic.

The starting point is listening.

To ensure and accelerate growth in today’s and tomorrow’s environment it takes humility, authenticity and vulnerability.  And the starting point is listening.

Listening is participative; you need to be all in and fully present.  When we give others our full and undivided attention, we let them know that they really do matter.  We are interested in what they have to say and who they are.

These days, we all need to listen more closely and attentively to our employees, customers, vendors, partners and others.

With so much noise and so much that needs to be done, taking the time and effort to listen may seem counterintuitive, but this really is the time to listen with open ears, open minds, and open hearts.

Foster a positive company culture.

Organizations need to find ways to improve engagement, retention and performance to move forward.  Creating a positive culture for your business helps.  Here are a few ways to make your workplace a happier and more dynamic place to work each day.

Flexible and remote working has become more prevalent due to the need for social distancing.  For businesses that can adapt to the needs of their employees, the outcome is positive.  Businesses see a greater result in terms of culture and employee retention.  

Transparency is key in any organization, but particularly now that access to information is so important.  Being transparent with your workers helps to encourage innovation and builds trust among the team, both in the company and in fellow employees.  Further, transparency helps to develop a culture of honesty that is critical to success and happiness in the workplace.  Make sure everyone has access to common information to keep them working from the same page.

Be more open to staff requests.  And adapt and understand the need for work-life balance.  Whatever it is that your staff needs to be happy, stress-free and productive should be something that the business considers important, whether that’s updated training, remote working or flexible hours.  While not all requests can be accepted, it’s important that employees feel able to ask and discuss their needs with their employers, without fear of being told no without consideration. 

Not all aspects of fostering a happier company culture need to be immediate; sometimes, it can be hugely beneficial to have something to work towards in the future too.  One way of doing this successfully is to plan a celebration that everyone in the company can look forward to and enjoy together. 

Communication is of paramount importance with so many business challenges (and opportunities) at the moment, as well as staff members working from numerous locations.  Remote management demands plenty of regular feedback so that everyone can work on projects efficiently, while still enjoying autonomy, so make good use of email, phone and video technology to ensure that interactions are regular and thorough. 

Further, make sure that not all of the check-ins are business-related; remember to listen thoughtfully, let people know they can come to you to discuss issues and keep virtual meetings as ‘in person’ as possible.  This will help to maintain great relationships within the workplace and ensures that your company remains a fun and friendly place to work.

Empathy reigns supreme as businesses move forward. 

While some businesses seem to be starting from scratch, others are transforming to be relevant and responsive in today’s business world; yet at the same time we all remember how it used to be. 

We need to develop approaches that blend empathy and usefulness.  So, imagine what you will miss; perhaps services, community, spontaneity, among other things.  Then think about what you will need to proceed, such as patience, confidence, creativity and more.  Then transform your efforts to anticipate and honor what is needed, to be of use.  Finally remember, we all are trying to emerge from the pandemic; please think in terms of unity, rather than suffering.

We can move forward by allowing ourselves the grace to acknowledge the fear and discomfort.  Recognize that we have always been pursuing new benchmarks in business, challenging ourselves to be more efficient or more innovative.

We still have the capacity to do that and, perhaps more than ever before, we have a better sense of the emotions of those we are trying to serve.

Let’s hope these suggestions of listening, fostering a positive company culture, and empathizing help you to move your business forward.

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