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The “grey matter” of your team is what matters.

By July 8, 2011December 30th, 20152 Comments

Model of human brain

Earlier this week, in the blog post by @jolewitz he talks about how critical people are to a business’ success. In the comments he and @RaynaNyc talked about how your team is one of the biggest unique selling propositions (USP). It’s so true, and it got me thinking.

The “grey matter” of your team is what matters. People who work in friendly, tolerant environments, and who have the opportunity to make decisions about how they work, are best able to come up with solutions for serving customers.

Remember that how you treat the customer will form the basis of your corporate culture. Put your staff first, listen to them, and follow up on their ideas and suggestions.

All of this may seem counter to the customer-focused business world we live in today. Especially in tech startups, it seems nothing is developed or launched without first the ideas and critique of customers. While this is one approach, consider that some successful companies have traditionally only innovated internally. Alessandro Di Fiore recently wrote “The Power of Proposition Innovation” about bucking the customer-centric trend and focusing on employees for creativity. He uses the example of a range hood company called Elica.

Elica transformed itself from a low-end supplier to an innovative organization by proposing — and imposing — a radically different vision on the international market.

How did they do this? By relying on and investing in their people. They understood that their team could be the greatest source of innovation for the company. They used art and travel to help their employees generate new ideas.  There’s a lot of talk right now about the value of talent that left Corporate America being hired on by small businesses. Are your employees your competitive edge? Go ahead! Trust and empower your team! That’s the advice from Guy Kawasaki in this short video on improving company culture. (Although he also says that at some point, the CEO has to make the tough calls).

How much do you rely on the ideas of your employees to drive your business forward? How can you improve? We’d love to hear from you!

  • Rayna Fagen says:

    Lindsay, I liked your post, and glad my comments ‘stirred your grey matter’ (in a good way). Reminded me a bit about a phrase that Jim Collins coined in his book ‘Good to Great’– ‘getting the right people on the bus.’ It’s no accident that the best companies to work for are often those with great customer experiences. Think about how many companies are now putting their employees front and center with customers, in a variety of media touchpoints, to better service them and these employess are also featuring prominently in advertising (i.e, Best Buy’s blue shirts). I give much credit to companies that place importance on their people assets, and then empower them to provide great products and service. We all benefit in the end.

  • Hey Rayna! I’m a big fan of the lessons from ‘Good to Great!’ Getting the right people on the bus is a great philosophy for hiring, and managing talent. And you’re right that we all benefit in the end! Thanks for your comment.

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