Un-Civil Wars in Your Company
Your day starts off well enough, then suddenly there’s a major argument—worse, a knock-down, drag-out fight between two of your staff in production or right in the front office.
But, of course, this never happens at your company! Really? Well, it has happened in mine—and I hear about it happening in other companies, whenever an owner or manager gets perfectly honest. In fact, in my 25+ years of being a business owner, I found myself right in the middle of such confrontations a time or two, sad to say.
Why does this happen? Maybe it’s a personality conflict, or someone taking a bad day out on others. I can be something really important, like someone’s pet dog getting called a stupid, blankety-blank mutt! It’s amazing how these “silly” arguments can happen among us adults!
As a company owner or manager, it falls upon us to separate the warriors, sit them down for a meeting of the minds, and tell them how unacceptable their actions are, especially when they act out in front of the rest of the company. If it gets really bad—short of firing someone—we can fill out a disciplinary document, have each of them sign it, and hopefully get back to work.
But has the REAL issue been resolved, so it doesn’t flare up again?
Let’s look deeper at most arguments or fights that happen in companies. I have instructed our supervisors that, if they see two people arguing, the first thing they are to do is bring calm to the situation. The next thing I expect supervisors to do is ask themselves, why these workers were really arguing, and find the root cause.
I believe most arguments among fellow workers are due to one of only TWO things:
1) Either an individual has some personal, non-work-related difficulty that he or she has brought to work, or
2) There is a HOLE in the system that’s creating frustration for the workers; in which case, I further believe—as the owner or manager—it’s MY or YOUR fault. Yes, it’s your fault, if you’re the person in charge of implementing and overseeing the systems that operate your department or company, and those systems are faulty.
What is a system? A system is a tool—a map or compass, if you will—by which employees are able to navigate in order to do their best possible job. If there’s a hole in the system—or, as we say, “The system is BROKEN.”—then it’s OUR job as owners/managers to FIX IT.
I have seen this happen time and time again in companies when people don’t have the necessary and correct information or tools to do their jobs, and without constant supervision to tell them how, what, when and where. Generally, without proper systems, workers are expected to commit to memory every detail of their job assignments, as well as all OUR verbal communications to them. So what happens? CHAOS!
One party THINKS something is supposed to be done a certain way and the other party THINKS it is supposed to be done another way. The key word here is, THINKS!
The finger-pointing and name calling begins. Words are said, blame happens, tempers rise, every other frustration in each of these workers lives builds to a crescendo, and World War III breaks out!
How easy is it in these economic times to spark all-out war?
SOLUTION: Why not put in a system so ALL parties know EXACTLY what is suppose to be done, and what is expected of them in order to do the job RIGHT? Only YOU and I, the owners and managers, can stop the shoot-from-the-hip or Russian Roulette-type culture that leads to such outbreaks, and put in a system that gets everyone on the same page. No more need of arguments, fights, reprimands, ulcers—lost time and money!
Types of Systems that Bring Everyone Together—from Chaos to Teamwork:
- Job Descriptions
- Daily Routine Checklists
- Quality Control Checklists
- Data Entry Control Checklists
- and various other forms and documents.
All of these systems become your Company’s Operations Manual or your Standard Work. You might even call it...The Great Peacemaker!
Did I mention—Great Systems Work!
Philip Beyer has raised the bar in quality and excellence, having spent 10 years researching, considering, dissecting, tweaking, writing and implementing business process management systems that brought total order to his business. With System Busters, learn how to eliminate errors and clean up the messes to make your business run like a super-clean, well-oiled machine.
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.