Making business decisions can be complicated even on a good day, but it tends to get more difficult as the stakes get higher — such as when the business is facing down a challenging obstacle.
The way leaders handle challenging situations has significant consequences beyond those directly related to the challenge at hand. Their choices will influence how employees feel about the company, and about their role in it.
At The Receptionist, one of our core values is to be Bold.
When we use the term “bold,” we mean that we’re willing to take risks, speak out, be different, listen to conflicting ideas, and try new things.
We’ve embraced this value for many reasons, but boldness plays a particularly important role when we’re facing challenges. We believe that being bold makes us more resilient and versatile in the face of difficulty.
Here are the three most important things we do to boldly tackle business challenges.
We Seek Input Across Departments
Sometimes it can seem easier to limit important decision-making to a few relevant leaders, or at least to the departments in charge of the issue at hand.
However, we also know a couple other things to be true:
- Big decisions about how to tackle challenges in any one department usually go on to affect other departments, too, which gives many people a stake in the choice.
- Big decisions can benefit from everyone’s input, and valuable insights can be missed if you limit that input.
As Receptionist Cofounder and Director of Customer Experience Jessica Marshall said in our podcast A Deeper Look at Our FABRIC: When it comes to tackling challenges, we don’t see it as “a marketing problem” or “a sales problem.” It’s “an us problem.”
In particular, we have designed our processes, our offices, and our goals so that employees from sales, marketing, and engineering all work together closely and regularly. They know each other personally, and that paves the way for more productive conversations.
Most importantly, though, they understand that they’re all working together toward the same goal: finding what’s best for the customer. That mindset eliminates some of the friction and turf wars you see between departments at other companies.
For more on this alignment, you can read our posts Here’s Why Sales and Marketing Alignment is Crucial and How Your Sales and Engineering Teams Can be Friends.
We Encourage Employees to Boldly Speak Up
When your company is facing a significant fork in the road or a serious obstacle, employees are likely to have passionate opinions on both sides of the issue. That’s a good thing: it means you’ve created a culture where employees feel invested in the company’s success.
However, at many companies, employees have learned that it’s much safer to just stay quiet during meetings and keep any opposing viewpoints or criticisms to themselves. Leaders may put on a show of asking for input, but react to criticism harshly or even criticize the person who disagrees with them. Even if they don’t react harshly with their words, their body language can speak volumes.
Speaking up in these situations is never easy, and that’s why it requires boldness. Of course, it’s much easier to be bold when you’re working in an environment where dissenting viewpoints are welcomed.
At The Receptionist, we’ve had to build an environment where it’s safe for employees to say that they disagree, and we do that by always assuming that our colleagues have positive intent. We don’t take things personally, and we focus on ideas and goals instead of pointing fingers — even if the criticism is difficult to hear.
At The Receptionist, we’ve had difficult conversations as we have grown the company and the culture, but we believe that those conversations give us the best insights we need to move the company forward. We believe that our teams’ willingness to respectfully disagree has been one of the things that has helped us continue to grow year after year.
We Create a Clear Plan for Everyone to Follow
Once we’ve gathered input from all departments and had some honest discussions, the next part of tackling a business challenge is making a plan to overcome that challenge — and then sticking to the plan.
At The Receptionist, we have a specific framework called The Entrepreneurial Operating System that we use for establishing our goals and measuring progress at each step along the way.
EOS calls for a specific weekly meeting framework that provides a minute-by-minute agenda so you can make sure nothing gets missed and everyone’s time is respected.
At The Receptionist, we also schedule what we call “cascades” every two weeks where departments “cascade” their info to the rest of the company.
At our meetings, we ask questions like these:
- What were you working on yesterday, and what are you doing today?
- What is preventing progress on the goals we’ve established, and how can we remove those obstacles?
- Are we on track with the process and schedule that’s necessary to meet our quarterly goals?
For more on EOS and our goal setting methods, check out the podcast episode How We’ve Implemented the Traction Model at The Receptionist and our blog post on Business Goal-Setting Tips.
Taking a structured and transparent approach toward our plans and goals makes it possible for us to work together to actually make them happen.
We Embrace Risks
At The Receptionist, we always use our core values as the lens through which we evaluate every new decision, and the acronym FABRIC is how we sum up those values. FABRIC stands for Fun, Authentic, Bold, Respectful, Innovative, and Collaborative.
Again, when we talk about the value of being bold, we don’t mean trying to set trends or stand out in the crowd. We mean being courageous — and that also means being willing to fail.Being bold means being courageous — and it also means being willing to fail. Click To Tweet
When you’re boldly tackling challenges and occasionally going out on a limb to try new things, it’s inevitable that mistakes will happen. Embrace them as learning opportunities.
If you create a workplace culture that welcomes when people admit that they made a mistake, you make it easier for them to take bold action in the first place.
To learn more about our FABRIC, get to know our team, and see behind-the-scenes glimpses of life at The Receptionist, head over to The FABRIC Show.
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