The company began as a small “mom and pop shop,” with the family matriarch serving as the key executive. Together with only five employees and tireless work, the company has grown to over two hundred employees and can no longer be considered a small business. The small business mentality remains though, and directions and instructions are delivered from the top, down. Employees are afraid to communicate problems or issues that they have because of what they perceive as an overly controlling executive team. Despite the appearance of overbearingness, the executive leadership of the company is in fact dedicated to improving their products and actually welcomes input from customers and employees alike. In order to rectify this problem, I would like to implement systems for greater corporate collaboration and to break down barriers to communication that exist. This will go a long way towards increasing teamwork in our enterprise and solving problems more efficiently.
With the difficult economy there is significant and increased pressure to reduce expenses and increased net profits across all business units. Perhaps because of the difficult economic climate, implementation of new ideas is difficult. Ideas that are not proven are frowned upon, and the general mood is one of risk aversion. To continue to grow the company though, it is necessary to incubate and implement new ideas. Whereas we certainly shouldn’t be permissive of great amounts of failure, a culture that is more accepting of novel ideas and small experiments will allow us to grow and develop. Innovative processes and strategies would allow our employees to better communicate with each other, with management, with our customers, and with key vendors. We must nurture a climate that views failed experimentation as less of a failure, and more of a learning experience that we can tweak and change course and grow from.
In sum, the two main areas in my company that require innovation are collaboration and acceptance of new ideas. These changes will not be easy to implement as we have grown exponentially on our present model. Despite our rapid growth, if we are to continue to grow changes must be made to how we conduct our operations. Using various communication tools and web applications can increase collaboration. Furthermore, fostering a climate that approves of dissent and differing ideas will allow us to fully utilize the intelligence of our staff. With regards to fostering a climate that is more accepting of innovation and experimentation, this can be accomplished by dedication and further showing the leadership what the staff is capable of. Growth will no longer come horizontally and it is important to dig deeper within our organization to achieve vertical growth. I believe that ultimately the two problems are intertwined and innovation with regards to collaborative methods will show the leadership the potential of the staff and lead to increased permissiveness for experimentation with new models. Risk does not mean that we have to gamble the entire enterprise with new models. We can test ourselves in a small area of the company and if the experiment works, it can then be implemented more broadly throughout the organization.