Behind every business, “unspoken rules” can impact resulting levels of success. In “Your Hidden Game: Ten Invisible Agreements that Can Make or Break Your Business” (2018, Indie Books International), Sharon Rich discusses the ways to transform these outcomes through awareness. During the last decade, the author and leader in the advertising industry for 25 years has helped teams to discuss issues openly.
According to Rich, the ways that you handle the following will shape the destiny of your operation:
1. Business descriptions: The way your team describes the business has a significant impact on its ability to achieve a company’s purpose and objectives. Employees need to be in sync about intentional and authentic core messages, which are communicated internally and externally.
2. Safety in success: Progress in business depends on staff members’ ability to speak up, share ideas, take action, try new projects and even make mistakes. If negative fallout occurs, information is hoarded and withheld, issues are hidden, people do not stretch and they resist opportunities that could deliver rewards.
3. Shared vision: When teammates lack a common understanding of the organization’s mission, efforts and resources are scattered. Alignment of shared goals expedites the process of reaching them.
4. Clear priorities: Without these, business owners and managers tend to focus on urgent rather than important issues. They are easily distracted, and team members struggle with differing opinions about the most pressing tasks. Agreement about the top priorities allows groups to accomplish more in less time and with less drama.
5. Role definitions: Without clarity about individual responsibility, confusion and breakdowns occur during muddled interactions. Clear role definitions specify how each person is expected to work and interact with others in the business. Then, effective execution of individual tasks will lead to desired outcomes for the group.
6. Effective decision making: The success of any business depends on staff members’ ability to make decisions effectively. In addition, skill in communicating these clearly, implementing what was decided on, and following through will contribute to the ultimate outcome.
7. Information dissemination and action coordination: In school, many were encouraged to work independently and learned to maintain a certain distance. Consequently, the coordination of ideas, information and action within and between business departments and functions can present a challenge. This step is essential for survival and results in a stronger competitive edge.
8. Response to issues: Complications are an inherent part of most operations. High-level performance in business means identifying and solving problems seamlessly and rapidly, with minimal disruption.
9. Treatment of failure: Failure and success are inextricably intertwined. Every win holds within it multiple failures. The secret to success is to acknowledge this reality and agree on how your organization will approach, learn from and leverage its setbacks.
10. Expectations for accountability: This concept is one of the most needed and misunderstood in business. Trying to make people accountable creates stress and frustration throughout the organization. The missing key is that accountability is an agreement among teammates rather than an expectation imposed from outside sources.
Rich also recommends creating a “code of conduct,” along with an atmosphere fostering open conversations about these agreements. Does your business practice any of these suggestions or rules? What issues have you experienced while trying to implement them?