By Fred Koury
CEO, Smart Business Network
As an organization grows, changes are inevitable.
New employees are added, promotions are made and job responsibilities shift.
But any time you have change, you have the potential for conflict. Few
people are comfortable with change, and each person will react differently in
making the adjustments necessary to move forward with the company.
The most important thing a CEO can do is to be active in confronting potential
conflict. Conflict goes hand-in-hand with change. Employees begin to question
management, co-workers and even themselves as they are forced outside of their
comfort zones. Those questions can lead to misunderstandings that can lead to
conflict, and that will ultimately slow your growth.
Don’t passively avoid potential conflict. Instead, actively engage members
of your organization by providing the necessary forums both for you to
communicate your strategy and vision and for them to communicate their concerns
back to you. An active conversation will help drive your vision for the company
through the organization and will also help foster your next generation of
leaders as they take a more active role.
Only when employees are challenged to think — and to challenge you — will
you maximize your organization’s potential. Do you want employees who don’t
speak up when they recognize what may be a fatal flaw in your grand strategy?
Or would you rather have employees who are actively thinking about the big-picture
goals of the company and doing their part to contribute?
Regardless of what size company you run, it comes down to a simple choice.
It’s a choice between having employees acting like robots or acting like
people. If you choose robots, you will have to have all the answers. If you
choose people, you only have to have some of the answers because the employees
will help you find the rest.
Engaging employees in conversations, meetings and decision-making helps them
take ownership and helps you create a happier work force. If they are not
allowed to speak, gossip and rumors will drag down your productivity.
Actively provide two-way communication. Let employees do the talking and
hear what they have to say. The results may surprise you. Those closest to the customer
often know best what needs to be done to improve sales, service or efficiency.
Too many CEOs lament the lack of good people to help take them to the next
level. Maybe the problem is more CEOs need to create good people rather than
driving them off with a work environment that’s better suited to a good robot.
Fred Koury is CEO of Smart Business Network, which publishes
the award-winning Smart Business magazine, a national chain of business management
journals with insight, advice and strategy for C-level executives. The company
also offers numerous networking, awards and educational business events.