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Is what you do really important?

I recently helped a business conduct a meeting with their employees. As the meeting started, I tried to understand the participants and their positions in the company.

After writing their names and job descriptions on the board, I asked: What would happen if you didn’t do your job?

This intriguing question resulted in quite an interesting discussion.

When we’re dealing with businesses, organizations, teams and even families, we need to ask from time to time: What do you do? and How does that affect the whole organization?

The truth is that most people have no clear understanding about what happens if they don’t do their job or contribute in the expected way. Often, we’re so focused on doing what we’re required to do that we can’t understand how our efforts affect the big picture.

Take for example someone who orders supplies or parts for your business. What happens if they don’t do their job in a timely manner? Of course, you won’t have the parts and your customers will be upset or even leave you. What if their orders are inadequate? If they order too much, you’ll have cash flow issues. If they order too little, you’re going to have out-of-stock problems. If they pay too much for products, you’ll have profitability issues. Or if they’re rude or abrupt with your supplier, you might end up losing that supplier or getting unsatisfactory service on a regular basis.

The reality is that the business could fail simply because the person ordering supplies doesn’t understand how much of the business depends on their expertise.

Each job in a company or an organization has a real purpose in ensuring that the business is successful. Yet we often fail to let our employees know how significant their positions are. We neglect to give them the necessary training to ensure that the business thrives and safeguards their jobs into the future.

So why is this so important?

Imagine running a business and feeling that its success or failure is totally on your shoulders? That is a heavy weight to carry. You have to sweat the fact that you’re responsible for guaranteeing that the business is profitable, that the customers are cared for, that there’s enough profit to ensure that your employees have sufficient wages to buy food for their families. And you have to do that each and every day of the year!

What a difference it would make if employees understood that they share responsibility for stabilizing the business, resulting in job security and satisfied customers. With this approach, employees would feel greater pride and satisfaction in their involvement in the business’s success. They would know that their ideas and contributions were valued by their employer. The chances of success would be much greater with more brains in the game.

As I ended my session, I asked for comments. Someone said they just realized that their business was like a table. Each part of the business, each employee, was like a leg holding it up. If one leg broke, the whole table could collapse. There was real strength and stability when they all worked together.

Imagine what would happen if you could get your whole organization working together to build upon each other’s strength and creating stability. I’ve seen it work in teams, organizations and businesses. I can testify that when people know where they fit in, what they’re supposed to do, why it’s important and how they’re accountable, incredible results take place.

Perhaps it’s time you had this conversation with your team.

Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy.

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