One of the things I struggle with as a leader is the constant desire to push new ideas and initiatives. On the surface this sounds like a good thing, but it can put a lot of pressure on a team that is already working so hard on a day to day basis. One thing that I have recently found to be extremely helpful in driving positive change is making sure everyone understands the "Why" of a new initiative or change. Here are a few thoughts on the importance of everyone understanding the "Why":
1) Leadership is the art of getting a team of people to do something that needs to be done because they want to do it, not because they are told to do it. This requires education as well as a clear understanding of the benefit to everyone involved.
2) Once everyone understands the "Why," it is crucial to make sure that everyone has the tools necessary to make it happen. In addition to the tools necessary to make it happen, we probe to see if there is a better way.
3) It is critical to get initial feedback from the group regarding objections and obstacles. The chances of success are much higher if you work together on the front end to identify any flaws in the plan or items that could stand in your way.
At Swift Straw, we are beginning a new initiative centered around strengthening our relationship with each customer. This means getting to know and appreciate not just each customer, but also each individual person associated with that customer. It is a very large undertaking but I am confident that we can and will be able to see it through. Now that everyone on our team understands the "Why", I look forward to doing everything possible to strengthen our relationship with all of the wonderful people that make our business possible.