• Dave Fuller MBA, Author

Focusing on what's important

Updated: May 7, 2018

Is what you do really important? Recently, I was helping a business conduct a company meeting with their employees. As the meeting started, I tried to understand the participants and their positions in the company. After writing their names and job descriptions up on the board, I asked the question "what would happen if you didn't do your job?" This intriguing question resulted in quite an interesting discussion.

When we are dealing with businesses, organizations, teams, and even families, we need to ask the question from time to time "what do you do?" and "how does that affect the whole organization?" The truth is that most people have no clear understanding about what happens if they don't do their job or contribute in the expected way. Often, we are so focused on doing what we are required to do that we can't understand how our efforts affects the big picture.

Take, for example, someone who orders supplies or parts for your business. What happens if they don't do their job in a timely manner? Of course! You won't have the parts in and your customers will be upset or even leave you! What if their orders are inadequate? If they order too much you will have cash flow issues, but, if they order too little you are going to be faced with out of stock problems. If they pay too much for the products, you will have profitability issues. Or if they are rude or abrupt with your supplier you might end up losing the supplier or getting unsatisfactory service on a regular basis.

The reality is that the business could fail simply because the person ordering supplies doesn't understand how much of the business depends on their expertise. Each job in a company, in an organization, has a real purpose in ensuring that the business is successful. Yet we often fail to let our employees know how significant their positions are. We neglect to give them the necessary training to ensure that the business thrives safeguarding their jobs into the future.

So why is this so important?

Imagine running a business and feeling that the success or failure of the business is totally on your shoulders? That is a heavy weight to carry. Not only do you have to sweat the fact that you are responsible for guaranteeing that the business is profitable, that the customers are cared for, that there is enough profit to ensure that your employees have sufficient wages to buy food for their families, but you have to do that each and every day of the year.

What a difference it would make if employees understood that they share the responsibility for stabilizing the business resulting in job security and satisfied customers! With this approach, employees would feel greater pride and satisfaction in their involvement in the business's success knowing that their ideas and contributions were valued by their employer. The chances of success would be much greater with more brains in the game.

As I ended my session, I asked for comments and someone spoke up saying that they just realized that their business was like a table. Each part of the business, each employee, was like a leg holding everything up. If one leg was broken the whole table could collapse. There was real strength and stability when they all worked together.

Imagine what would happen if you could get your whole organization working together building upon each others strength and creating stability? I have seen it work, in teams, organizations, and businesses, and I can testify that when people know where they fit in, what they are supposed to do, why it is important, and how they are accountable, incredible results take place. Perhaps it's time you had this conversation with your team.

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