In every industry or segment of enterprise a careful reader can find both the leaders and the laggards in regards to sales and, most importantly, profit margins.
During his first fifteen years in the graphics arts business this small business owner spent hours reading and in conversation with other business owners to find that one key action that would turn our business into a true industry leader.
The answers came in all forms with all sorts of admonitions and to-do items. Write out your mission statement, have all sorts of meetings, do training, empower your employees. All of these pieces of advice were well meaning, and while our business got better year after year, the real industry leaders that I followed in the graphics arts business kept elusively ahead of where I thought we were.
Then came the moment of epiphany. I attended my first gathering of the players of the Great Game of Business.
Since returning from that meeting we have more than tripled the size of the business, opened a facility in Europe and grown our pre-tax profit line, year over year over year!
And here is what I learned at that Great Game Gathering.
Meet with all employees every week and tell the whole story (and whole truth) about the business. Teach them that business is a game with rules and scoreboards, called the income statement and balance sheet, and open those scoreboards to all employees. Then pay those people a percentage of the ‘bottom line’, so that they have a real stake in the outcome of the business.
It’s not easy. It’s difficult. You have to tell them the bad stuff along with the good stuff. You have to trust and respect them and their opinions. But in the end you win their hearts as well as their hands. That propels any organization to new heights