I was coaching one of my clients recently and they were suffering from a very common problem as a small business owner. They are responsible for everything in their business and everything is in their head so they often forget to get things done.
It was a simple request that I could tell by the way their employee said it to the manager that this was not the first time she had requested it. “Can you order some more ________”. The manager said, “Right, sorry…I forgot last time I placed our order”. I asked if she thought of putting up a white board with the name of the various orders she placed as the headers then asked her employees to write it down on the board. On order day she could just go to the board and she wouldn’t ever have to try to remember what to order. I could see the light bulb go on.
She was a very intelligent person who could have easily thought of the white board idea. So what happened? We can often forget to look at our frustrations and pain points and really think about how we can solve them. We tend to just do what we’ve been doing even if it is not working. Many times we ignore or don’t ask the very people who have the best ideas: our staff. As I pondered this I started thinking about how as small businesspeople we tend to “protect” our staff from the stresses of being the one in charge so we forget that they are our best resources to get it all done. Far from needing to be protected most of the time they want to be included – they want to be part of the solution.
So how can you get your people more involved? Here is one solution: for the next week carry a notebook or your have your smart phone ready. Every time you start to get stressed write down the problem. At the end of the week organize all of your pain points and then call a staff meeting. I think you will be surprised at what great advice you get if you are ready to listen.