SMB Owners In The Communication Age
I have been in the training industry for quite a while and I have received many requests for information on the Dale Carnegie Course, and a lot more requests for help.
People in businesses, especially small businesses, want to know how they can be better presenters, better sales people, better leaders and at the very core, be better people builders. They want to work effectively with their peers and lead the people that look to them for guidance and mentorship.
Take the following letter I recently received. It came from a small, family owned business with concerns that you may find all too familiar:
I work in a small, family owned company, where all of us are in one office, and three family members work for the company.
We have developed communication styles that don’t always create a positive work environment.
Our business is very detail intensive and we have to give a lot of attention to those details. Much of our time is spent correcting our printed docs, our advertising, our plans, and even our ideas.
We need help to make this a better place to work. Can you help?
Now, how many of you are facing similar challenges?
If you work in a small business environment and the leadership team either consist of family members or people that have known each other for a long time, then at some point you probably paused, assessed the situation, and said, “How are my ideas going to break through and be heard when I’m not a part of the inner circle?”
Or maybe you are *that* member of the executive team who looked around and said, “I’ve been assuming that we work well together because we have streamlined our process. But now I think we’ve gotten too comfortable with each other. What’s the best way to get some fresh ideas and new thinking into the leadership team?”
In most cases, regardless if the company is a large operation or a small partnership, many of the challenges facing managers, directors, owners, and leaders in these organizations stem from a lack of effective communication and human interaction.
In our programs we help people find their own voice, help them create their own vision, and assist them in cultivating those strengths they have neglected for so long. We help them envision and design how they want their relationships to work instead of letting them happen by accident. And we supply them with the principles, strategies, and tactics to make those relationships a reality.
Dale Carnegie Training Grooms a Small Business Owner’s Protege
Back in 2004, I did some work with a small, metal working company. The owner wanted his son, “Jim”, to take over as the leader of the company. However, he felt that his son lacked certain skills. We’re not talking about the typical business acumen one would acquire from an MBA program. He felt that “Jim” lacked the people skills, communication skills, and leadership skills necessary to step into that leadership role. None of the employees viewed “Jim” as a leader, and “Jim” didn’t go out of his way to communicate effectively to any of the employees. As you can imagine, this was not the best situation for “Jim”, the employees, or the business owner who wanted to retire while making sure that the company was in capable hands.
We worked with “Jim” to improve his ability to communicate effectively and to work with people – and that included an honest assessment of himself. Before we could help him take on the mantle of leadership, we had to help him take a different view of his abilities and recognize that his personal brand was entirely under his control.
We helped “Jim” find his own voice, create his own vision, and cultivate his long-overlooked personal strengths. We helped him explore, nurture, and harvest his own ideas and to leverage critical thinking skills. And we helped him leverage several strategies for communicating his ideas to other people and enlisting their support.
Naturally, “Jim” started the program with a healthy dose of skepticism. But after 3 weeks, he began to recognize his skills and strengths. He began to acknowledge the value he brought to the company. And he started to believe in his own vision.
After 6 weeks, he was taking direct control of the relationships in his life, planning and creating the outcomes that he wanted instead of letting them happen by accident. After 8 weeks, he was noticing that other people were treating him with respect instead of indifference.
At the end of 12 weeks1 when he graduated from the program, “Jim”2 had taken on additional managerial functions in the company. In the graduation ceremony, he told us that he had been promoted from a low level management position that was given to him, to earning the Director of Operations position.
The Dale Carnegie program works, not because we give participants a bag of tricks and a cookbook to manipulate people. It works because we coach participants to recognize that they are actually in control of their lives and their outcomes. And once they recognize that they can control and shape the events in their world, they are in a better position to use the communication strategies and principles we teach in the program.
Here is a principle that we teach in our Leadership Training for Managers course, but it has roots in all of our programs. It’s something that you can use when building your own company culture. That principle is as follows:
People support an environment that they help create.
If your people are in control of the events in their lives, they will actively participate and support the environment where they work, believing that they can make a difference.
So give your people the freedom to think and express their view. Give them the coaching and training so that they can build their environment and take control of the events in their lives.
You give them this, and you will have the engaged workforce you need for this brave new communication age.