From the October 2008 issue of eBiz Insider magazine.
Each morning before I open my office door, I brace for the clutter. I’ll admit that my office should be condemned, but it’s my “system” and it works! Outside my messy space, though, organization counts.
In business I have always focused on organization – even when there were just four of us. Building a structure and tweaking it is extremely important in preparing your business for growth. Too many companies mushroomed only to collapse like a house of cards because people had no direction, no supervision and no clear understanding of how the company worked.
Communication is Key
I recently spoke to a very frustrated marketing manager. Her department’s goal for the 1st quarter of this year was to increase the customer base by 7%. Unfortunately the tele-sales group’s goal was customer retention. It’s a bad structure when department managers aren’t talking. If they had communicated their goals, the marketing campaign could have worked. Every department should be working towards agreed-upon goals. If everyone isn’t on the same page, you’ll go nowhere fast.
Structuring your company is more than just a flow chart showing who reports to whom. It’s about analyzing each department, each task and each responsibility to ensure that they all support the overall goal.
As you grow, you need to insert levels of management with specific responsibilities, direct reports and departmental goals which match the goals of the company.
Structure benefits everyone. Workers without direction aren’t as productive. Unmanaged employees, no matter how good they are, are never good for business. Structure instills a sense of security in the minds of your employees and also makes them feel like they’re working for a company with clearly defined goals and practices.
Expect Growing Pains
Improvements take work. Your first efforts to add structure may be met with resistance. Hey, we all hate change! Explain the benefits and improvements and most of all stress how the changes will make everyone’s job easier. you expect from the new organization can and how it will only make everyone’s job easier. Make sure everyone understands that all changes are positive, never anyone’s “fault.” Negativity leads to employee resentment.
Every successful business needs structure. The sooner you get started, the better.