JEFFREY TOBIN: Think of business as a dog
Your business is a dog. And if you don’t think so, well perhaps it should be. That’s because when a business is a dog, it’s a better place to work.
There are fewer clashes among employees. Employees are engaged and motivated. Sick days are fewer. Turnover is lower. Productivity is higher. Even profitability is better. Sounds like business nirvana to me (or about as near to it as one might get.)
Shouldn’t your business be a dog?
A couple of weeks ago as I passed an animal shelter, I heard the familiar cacophony of dogs barking and yapping. It would be one thing to be abandoned, I thought, but to be abandoned in a small cage with the smells of other dogs and all the barking would be almost unbearable.
These were the thoughts that went through my head at first. But I quickly realized how wonderful it would be for any unwanted animal to feel safe, clean, warm and loved.
I imagined the workers spraying out the soiled cages, cleaning up urine-soaked blankets and living in the smell of wet dog fur for hours on end. And you know what amazed me the most? Many of the people who perform these detestable acts are volunteers. Yes, volunteers. They do it for free.
I don’t have to explain why they do it. You know why. They love these animals. They care for the animals. And they know how greatly the animals benefit their owners.
Through volunteering, these workers make a real difference in the lives of the dogs and the lives of their owners. Oh, and by the way, they benefit from it themselves.
Their business, you see, is the dogs.
So why do these volunteers work for free? It’s because they make a difference. They do it because what they do really matters.
That’s why I want you to think of your business as a dog.
If you want engaged employees, lower turnover, higher productivity and everything else that goes with it, you need to do two things:
• Clarify why your company matters to your customers.
• Clarify the critical role each employee has in making a real difference.
When your employees come to understand why your product or service matters — and how their part makes a difference — you’ve really got something. You’ve gone to the dogs, and it’s the dogs your employees will nurture.
In other words, they will nurture the company.
What difference does your organization make to your customers?
Is yours just another product or service out there trying to make a buck? Would it really make a difference in the world if your organization didn’t exist?
Identify, then internalize, how your organization makes a real difference. Give your organization — and your employees — a purpose to fulfill, not just a product to create.