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Building up your competitiveness means looking outwards outside your organisation, but it also paradoxically means looking inwards inside your organisation. So why it is important to assess the workplace when trying to win the marketplace?
When businesses are looking to make themselves more competitive the first thing they do is to look outside from the organisation. Just for fun; try to google anything related to how to get a more competitive business and the first results will all be focussed on customers, price, marketing and the competition. However, I believe that the internal organisation plays a more crucial role into winning the market. Or in other words, the words of Doug Conant, CEO of Cambell’s Soup, “To win the marketplace you must first win the workplace.” In this blog I will describe firstly why it is important to ‘win’ in the workplace and how that contributes to your business competitiveness, and how you can achieve ‘winning’ in the workplace.
Why winning the workplace is important
Firstly it is important to understand that ‘winning’ in this sense means that you are creating the right office environment for your employees. This means having the right facilities, building the right culture and understanding what your employees need to succeed. I would argue that it is just as important to empower your employees in this way as to look into customers, price, marketing and the rest of the competition. Just think about it, it is your employees who will ultimately make the difference between a happy customer or an unhappy customer, a successful project or an unsuccessful project, and even good business results or bad business results. It means the difference between you and the competitor. An internally motivated employee will go above and beyond to outperform the competition if he or she is empowered in the right way. So therefore winning the workplace is vital to your business competitiveness.
How we can win the workplace
Now that we have an understanding of its importance, the next step is to know how one can win the workplace.
Facilitate effective collaboration
Firstly you need to facilitate effective collaboration, by means of technology. Your facilities and IT should be in accordance to what your workforce requires. So perhaps it is time to replace the laptops which have been bought ten years ago, rethink the internal software systems as they are not aligned or user-friendly, or think about installing air-conditioning because the effectiveness of your staff seems to go down during warm months. There is a saying that goes “a good craftsman never blames his tools” however I would argue that better tools would make for a better craft.
Do you want to learn more on how you can improve your digital facilities? Read more here.
Be a great leader
Secondly you need to be a great leader by tapping into the personal needs of your employees. Let’s all face it, we all have our own personal problems. Therefore a great leader knows that he or she needs to minimize the problems that their employees face at work. This can only be done by genuinely listening to your employees and to fix the obstacles that they face. Furthermore a great leader knows how to lead by example. Why? Well firstly it is not easy to follow a leader that is not consistent in what he or she preaches is the right behaviour and then not follows up with the same behaviour of his or her own. Secondly it motivates people to see their leaders putting in their best effort, which brings us to encouragement. Beyond leading by example your employees can be encouraged in a variety of other ways, such as inspiration and motivation (even upon failure; learn more about why that is important here). Encouragement shows your employees a way forward and pushes them beyond their own imagination, which is vital for a well-performing workplace.
Want to find out more about leading, listening and encouraging? Find out more here.
Turn into an agile organization and implement feedback systems
Finally, you need to think about how your organization, its working methods and feedback systems are organized. If you still think that ‘scrum’ is only a term used in rugby and that ‘kanban’ is a kind of canoe, then this one is for you. I am hinting of course towards agility and how new methods have been challenging the status quo. So maybe if you are experiencing a stagnating employee productivity, a lack of creativity and a general bad internal attitude, maybe it is time to experience with new way of working and implementing bottom-up feedback loops. It might surprise you on how creative and engaged your employees can be if they feel heard. Remember, each of your employees has a creative mind of his or her own, it is your job as an employer to create the right environment and put their creativeness and productivity to the test. Therefore it is paramount that you always strive towards an agile organization.
Interested in learning more about agile organizations? Read this article.
To win the marketplace you must first win the workplace, which means:
- Facilitating the right equipment and facilitations.
- Making sure that you hear your employees and their problems and proposals, and that you actively lead, listen and encourage.
- Rethinking your working methods to transform into an agile organization.
If you have any doubts on how to address either of these topics, then get in touch with us and see what we can do for you!