Building a Great Company: Understanding Your Employees’ Belief Systems

February 8, 2013 5:59 pm Published by

This may sound like a bit of an odd topic for someone who is trying to grow his or her business. But it’s not what it sounds like. This isn’t a post about faith in the marketplace. And it’s not tips on how to pray for success if everything else has failed.

The reality is that members of your team have certain beliefs that affect the way your business runs. Understanding what they believe—and how it affects your corporate environment and performance—is pretty important stuff. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

  • I Don’t Believe in Giving Feedback. You may have team members who have observed things that you haven’t seen. They have positive, constructive feedback that could help your company overcome a significant business issue. But they hold back on offering that feedback because they are afraid it will lead to confrontation—and maybe rejection. What is your corporate culture when it comes to “ugly” truths? Do you allow people to expose things that may “sting” initially—but which will ultimately improve your performance? What’s the attitude of the rest of your team? What can you do to encourage constructive feedback?
  • I Don’t Believe in Delegation. Often this mindset begins at the top. Do you subscribe to the belief that, “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself?” If you never give up ownership of projects or tasks it’s really hard for your team members—and their team members—to feel like they are really having an impact. What can you do to make sure your team members are clear about what they need to do so that you can let go and let them do it?
  • I Don’t Believe in Sales/Marketing/Engineering/Etc. Some people think sales people are too pushy and arrogant. Others think people in marketing are nothing but dreamers. Some have disdain for engineers’ single-mindedness that appears to them to be anti-social. The thing is, you need all of the parts of your business if you want to be successful and grow your business. Your team is probably made up of individuals from different disciplines. What can you do to help these members recognize—and even encourage—the talents of team members who are so different from them?

Those are just a handful of the “belief systems” that commonly crop up in businesses. If you don’t address them, they can cripple your growth. What are some of the other “beliefs” you see in your business? How do they affect your performance? Remember, these things may not be based in reality, but if your team feels that they’re true, they can bring your business to a grinding halt.

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This post was written by Chuck Kocher