Human beings are social animals. We were not meant to live on an island by ourselves. We were meant to share and collaborate. If anyone believes they can do all things and be all things, they are delusional.
Wikipedia is the perfect example. What we have here is an encyclopedia owned by no one individual and authored by thousands of people. It is open source; a living website constantly changing to consider the rapid evolution of data. This is what happens when you collaborate.
Can you image how dynamic your firm could be, how loyal employees and customers would be if it was to tap into the incredible knowledge and vastly different experiences of all stakeholders; all of your customers.
Employees – As the owner, manager or supervisor your first priority should be to the employees. When Herb Kelleher, from Southwest Airlines was asked who came first, shareholders or employees he said, “Well, that’s easy; employees come first and if employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works and it’s not a conundrum at all.”
Whether it be an open door policy where any employee can communicate directly with the owner of the organization or a private anonymous suggestion box, it’s critical to allow for open communication. The forum should be limited only by your imagination. As people become more comfortable expressing their concerns and feelings, that anonymous suggestion box may just disappear!
Paying Customers – Ask many businesses why there customers come to them and ultimately stay and the standard answer is because we give great customer service, superior quality, features, price, service etc. Really? Now ask how that is measured. In most cases, it’s measured at the end of a month, quarter or annual based on the results in a financial statement. When budget does not meet plan the push is on; more cross-selling, more cold calls, more activity. Guess what comes before the financial results? Customers! Without loyal customers who stay with you and become messengers for you, it’s unlikely you will achieve your projections.
Suppliers – Your suppliers are made up of people, individuals with their own needs. More to the point, they are also the people responsible for making sure that the needs of their corporation are met.
These individuals at the corporate level are no different in psychological make-up than the your business’ other customers – your employees and your consumer! As individuals they also have passions and purpose as it relates to their job, have subconscious beliefs based on their experiences that may or may not be true and will carry those beliefs into their working environment.
Your job is to treat them like any other customer. Ultimately, it’s your job to find out.
How do you invite Participation into your company?