We serve many small to medium sized businesses, and it comes as no surprise that a lot falls on these business owners. In addition to running the day to day, putting out fires, and directing staff, you also have to have some strategic vision of how to steer your business in the right direction.
In our experience, most business owners are voracious learners and are eager to put new ideas into practice. You may have read a new book, article, or even one of our blog posts that has inspired you to try something different in your business. But if the rest of your team is still stuck on doing things the old way, your new tactics will likely fail.
So for that next great innovation to your business, whether a new marketing strategy or new product offering, how do you get alignment and consistent adoption across the organization?
Here’s a perfect example. You decide you need to implement a new “customer first” policy as a way of showing your clientele you care about their needs above anything else. You mention to your office staff that everyone needs to be more customer focused but you don’t put any concrete policies or procedures in place. Your staff listens attentively, and may even want to go in the direction you do, but without specific guidance, how exactly should they respond?
A better approach is to work with the staff to update (or start) a policy manual for customer interactions. For instance, you may develop a standard phone greeting like “Thank you for calling Dr. Smith’s office. How may I help you today?” Or, you may collaborate to create email response templates for the most common questions your customers ask.
How to Get Everyone on Board
Your office staff will need solid guidelines and ongoing feedback to break one habit and start a new one. You can’t just roll out a new idea in a meeting and think it will stick. Get your staff involved in crafting procedures to put that idea into action. Launch the new plan officially, and set up mechanisms to check that it’s being followed.
Make sure to offer a way to gather feedback about the changes, whether in a staff meeting, email exchange, or other method. And don’t be afraid to get creative to solve any problems or challenges that come up – oftentimes your staff members will have the best ideas on how to make the experience even better.