Are you one of the many small business owners that resist creating policies and procedures? It’s understandable since almost everyone has either experienced or knows someone who has experienced the horrors of bureaucracy. In fact, a large percentage of small business owners vow that they will do it differently in their company.
Then, their companies grow and they start having employee problems. These issues can range from people not doing their jobs to doing their jobs in a way that is not acceptable to the owner. Sometimes it shows up as sloppy work, poor customer service, or differing priorities; other times it appears as a slide into the unethical or illegal.
This change is not inevitable. It can absolutely be avoided without adding a slew of policies and procedures. How?
By starting early to identify and utilize the company’s brand. To quote Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Harvard business professor: “In organizations that I call ‘supercorps’ – companies that are innovative, profitable, and responsible – widespread dialogue about the interpretation and application of values enhances accountability, collaboration, and initiative.” In fact, Ms. Kanter also argues that open discussion of company values eliminates the need for oppressive and bureaucratic rules.
Why the brand and not just values? Because while values are strong and wonderful things, the rest of the brand (vision, mission, and company belief systems) provides context for the values and makes them that much more powerful and empowering.
Any business, regardless of size, can be one of Ms. Kanter’s ‘supercorps’. Simply identify your brand and start using it every day to guide decision making and daily behaviors.