By Aline Ayoub
Your reputation as an employer is everything. A company culture is the best prescription for your small business success. When interviewed at the Annual Culture Conference, Edgar Schein said that he is more interested in the DNA of the culture. He explained the importance of understanding why things cannot be changed with a culture change. For example, if you define “innovation” as one of your core values, employees must feel empowered to make positive changes. Whenever there is a strong disconnect between your small business culture and your core values, your culture will not be coming to light.
As a small business owner, you have to think about the big picture. You need to consider issues such as what trends are affecting your small business markets, how your company’s strategy should evolve and what new technologies or initiatives your organization should adopt. These are the areas you probably spend the most of your time, as they are a critical part of your job.
But when it comes to the execution of your plans and strategy, it comes down to people. Meaning how they work together, their alignment with the changes ahead, the organizational structure, the roles and processes in place to support the strategy.
In other words, you need to connect the dots between the type of organization you want and your culture.
Simply put, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is a set of quantifiable measures that your small business uses to gauge or compare performance in terms of meeting its strategic and operational goals. To be effective, KPIs must reflect your own small business in order to affect positive changes. KPIs must be Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound in order to be acted upon.
In order to be effective, KPIs must align with your small business objectives. It is the best measure of evaluating the performance of your employees because of its objectivity. It also makes your employees accountable.
Creating a culture of accountability is about getting your employees to own their results. It’s about making things happen because of them, not in spite of them. It’s about helping your employees personalize the results and say: this is mine. Give your employees the ability to account for how they got their results and the ability to respond differently in the future. Build ownership of developing, planning and delivering value to your small business.
There is a direct correlation between the ability of your small business to develop your employees and your confidence to meet your business growth. It helps you face crisis and fill roles in a non-hasty way. It is a practice that will prevent interruption in your operations.
Start with developing a solid understanding of the most significant challenges your small business is likely to face in your industry over the next two to four years, and the skills and experiences you need as the business owner.
Then develop the employees identified as your top performers and invest on developing them. Investing on your internal candidates will greatly increase your retention.
Leading in This Ever-Changing Work Environment
Do not kid yourself. There is no one-size-fits-all leadership style. In fact, there is a ONE common denominator. That is being HUMAN. 50% of small business owners feel lonely at the top.
Self-awareness is key for being a great leader. In fact, small business leaders must understand that the level of agility and resilience the business displays in the face of change will come from the bottom up. And that’s because change doesn’t happen to organizations – change happens to the people who make up the organization.
Working with employees from different generations requires agility. If you want your business to succeed, you have to acknowledge that your employees (regardless of their age, race, ethnicity) are an integral part of its success. Show all your employees that you care and make them feel valued at work.