Friday, October 2, 2009

A new level of thinking

Business growth is a pain. Urban Bella, even though it has been only 8 months old has been able to signed clients such as Zhu Jiang beer, Toni & Guy, Schick Quattro and Reactine. We are in a crucial growth phase – the killer phase of most startups. This is a test of human resources management, financial management, cash flow management and my sanity.

I’ve been pacing the floor, staring to the gray Vancouver weather the last few weeks, wondering about some of the problems that my partner and I need to overcome before we can catapult Urban Bella into a different stratosphere. As I look around, look within me and recognize some of the problems we need to overcome.

I’ve been referencing a book by Stephen Covey “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” to hammer through some of the problems that we need resolve. It is actually quite weird but the most profound example that I got from the book was about how to have a happy marriage. To paraphrase Stephen, “in marriages where each spouse wants the other to change, where each is confessing the other’s “sin”, where each is trying to shape up the other” and “people spend tremendous amounts of time and energy trying to create legislation that would force people to act as though the foundation of trust were really there.” To think of it, most cause of all relationship difficulties whether it is marriage or in a business stems from conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals.

At the root of the problems that most businesses face is the lack of foundations which requires principled-centered and character based approach to resolve. Three consecutive nights in a row spent at Waves on Commercial Drive, 8 Earl Grey teas and 12 hours later I worked on a new training program that is based on a completely different paradigm that we are used to. All objectives, criterias to demonstrate accomplishments are identified on one sheet of paper. Guidelines, resources, accountability and consequences that results when objectives are met on another. Focus on results and not methods otherwise you will always be stuck in micromanager mode. Sound so simple? Not really, most businesses do not allow their employees to have active participation into their own goal setting, define their own criterias and set their own rewards.

Save yourself the trouble and set the right foundations in place for your business before you wear a hole on the floor pacing the office floor as I have. Create the framework, have performance agreements in place and plan for reviews but have faith in your employees.

Quote of the day:
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

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