Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this recessionary economy together.
If you're still lucky enough to be employed, listen carefully to my message, as simplistic as it may seem: It’s time to put aside the natural rivalry, competitiveness, intraorganizational politics and just plain silliness that is everyday business life if you want to stay employed and, moreover, to keep your business from going under.
It’s time to really look at the way the silos within your company are formed. Take them apart, and relearn how to run your business.
Yes, I know I'm preaching. Sorry. But you can always stop reading here (but don't).
I assure you that on this day, in this economy, businesses need to adapt or die! We're all terribly scared about the future of our careers and how it will affect our families. The more we — and when I say we, I mean employees and business owners — succumb to our fears, the more difficult it is to work together. We second-guess ourselves. We second-guess others, and most importantly, we spend a lot of time playing armchair quarterback to the decisions that are being made.
It’s no wonder companies are going under daily. If you look carefully, you'll see mismanagement as the big culprit. Greed. Power. Ego. We can't run businesses this way at this time in history.
It’s officially time for kumbaya! From this point forward, you and your colleagues must work together to fight to keep your company alive.
Beyond newfound camaraderie, two keys to doing this are obviously increasing sales and reducing costs. If you look, I'm sure you can find many places where your company's inefficient.
As an employee, you already know they're there, but fear keeps you silent, doesn’t it?
Recently, while consulting for a company, I set up an internal group, more like a renegade operation, and named it “Operation: Unturned Stone.” The goal of this operation was to turn over every stone in the organization in search of opportunities to either reduce costs or increase sales. This required getting people together from each department in the company. And not the heads of that division either, but key managers who aren’t usually empowered to make a difference like this.
We put them together in a room, told them NO topic was off-limits, even pet projects their CEO might be working on, and told them to build a report on what can be done better.
The last part of Operation Unturned Stone is critical: C-level management must make the commitment to listen and take action. Also critical is that each member of the presenting group can feel 100 percent comfortable that there will be no consequences for what they recommend. Additionally, upper management at all companies need to address the paranoia level. Peoples' nerves are frayed as they wait for more bad news or the ax to fall.
The time is now for reassurance, comfort and team building. This can be accomplished relatively quickly. Along with reassurance, get your employees together. Suggest outside-of-the-office events. Create events as well. No, I'm not talking about corporate retreats. How about an ice skating night? A company picnic for no reason? Give out free movie passes; something along those lines.
In short, it's your responsibility to do what it takes from any level to ensure that your staff sticks together in these troubling times. Now is not the time for every man/woman for him/herself!
We will get through this difficult time and thrive again.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Jim on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect. Read Jim's personal blog at http://gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com/.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.