I've reviewed dozens of successful businesses and they all have a couple of things in common:
- Employees have a stake in the business; not just superficial ownership, but a real sense they belong. They are often more skilled at their respective crafts/responsibilities than their supervisors but respect their bosses as they enjoy their own work and career progress.
- The business has a disciplined and organized planning and "change management" system usually involving regular weekly meetings and bi-annual serious planning and integration efforts. Note this is not the bureaucratic "endless meeting" ritual that many governments and large companies observe -- our meetings are disciplined, short (regular meetings are never more than an hour) and encourage participation from everyone involved.
P.S. You'll want to read Michael Stone's latest blog entry, especially if you are a general or specialty trade contractor facing payment problems within your community -- the nonsense he describes, alas, is a trait of a recession and screw ups and dishonesty unfortunately become glaringly apparent in hard times. I'll discuss these issues in the next blog entry.