I’m just finishing up my first business trip with my most recent company and it’s been an extremely worthwhile experience for several reasons. Not only did I get a better overall view of the company as a whole by visiting their headquarters or home office (HQ), I’ve met some incredible people over the various sites, created stronger bonds with the team I have from home, and obviously had some fun in NYC as a return tourist. These kind of opportunities are so incredible for any and all employees, whether you’re a long-time veteran C-suite manager or a newbie supervisor like myself because they provide a greater return on just being an awesome compared to a normal investment. The transparency that a company shows through these opportunities, like visiting supplemental offices within your company and/or with suppliers and customers outside of an employee’s normal job function, allows associates to think outside of the box, literally, known as their normal job function.
Like a view from a cliff or a plane’s window seat, it can be breath-taking and overwhelming!
Thinking outside of the box, like all skills, can come more easily to some than others; but, the ability is critical in productivity for any and all employees. Mixing up the day-to-day grind of one’s position and forcing them to think outside of their daily “box” is like hitting a refresh button. Employees get pulled away from their routine and out of their daily responsibilities up to an aerial-view vantage point on the company. Like a view from a cliff or a plane’s window seat, it can be breath-taking and overwhelming. Most likely you would be asking “we’re actually doing all these things?” which is then quickly followed up with other questions like, “for how much?” and “why the hell are we doing this?!” These are fair questions to ask; never stop asking why.
However, once the initial shock is conquered employees gain a greater appreciation for obtaining a better understanding of the bigger, grander goal/picture as well as their role within that picture; it’s kinda like pointing out your hometown on a map and setting up the crazy road trip to get to your ideal vacation spot. It’s exhilarating and mind opening! As a supervisor in a distribution center, I face this challenge with my associates everyday. Unfortunately, they do not have the opportunity to go to our HQ (yet) so “bringing” the feeling and message of HQ to the warehouse has been our internal challenge.
To have our associates understand their importance within the facility may be easier than in other roles because these associates get to see the physical manifestation of the service we provide for our customers by physically shipping out the products: aka our bread and butter. However, even within this fairly simplistic process the associates still need to be able to understand the reasons behind every step as much as the management team understands it. What’s the point of providing and holding the associates to certain the safety, quality, and performance standards if they don’t understand the purpose behind having these metrics?
This is where I love putting on my coaching cap and teaching our team behind the calculations. Not only to have them have a better understanding, but for them to raise questions I wouldn’t have otherwise considered in tracking these numbers. That’s why I love to continue to challenge my team to always ask why this status quo? If they can provide a better alternative, that makes us all winners in the end. Provide a shoutout to a mentor who always pushed you to learn the bigger picture and to challenge the status quo; for me, it’s my Director of Fulfillment, Deepak Madabushi!
Picture credit: http://www.proshowblog.com/2014/01/6-of-our-favorite-new-built-in-effects-in-proshow-6/