un-civil war in small businessA lack of control systems can cause chaos and un-civil war in small business!

Think of it. Your day starts off well enough, then suddenly there’s a major argument. Worse, a knock-down, drag-out fight between two of your staff in production or right in the front office.

But, of course, this never happens at your company! Really?  Well, it happened in mine—and I hear about it happening in other companies. Let’s be honest!

Fact is, in my 25-plus years of being a business owner, I found myself right in the middle of such confrontations a time or two, sad to say. However, this stopped when the root cause was identified and corrected.

Why Does Un-Civil War in Small Business Happen?

Maybe it’s a personality conflict, or someone taking a bad day out on others. I can be something really important, like someone’s pet dog getting called a stupid, blankety-blank mutt!  It’s amazing how these “silly” arguments can happen among adults!

As a company owner or manager, it falls to us to separate the warriors, sit them down for a meeting of the minds. We tell them how unacceptable their actions are, especially when they act out in front of the rest of the company. If it gets really bad, short of firing someone, we may fill out a disciplinary document, have them sign it, and hopefully get back to work.

But has THE REAL ISSUE been resolved so it doesn’t flare up again?

Let’s look deeper at most confrontations that happen in companies. I have instructed our supervisors that, if they see two people arguing, the first thing they are to do is bring calm to the situation. The next thing I expect supervisors to do is ask themselves, why these workers were really arguing, and find the root cause.

The Cause of Un-Civil War in Business

I believe most arguments among fellow workers are due to one of only TWO things:

1) Either an individual has some personal, non-work-related difficulty that he or she has brought to work, or…

2) There is a HOLE in the system that’s creating frustration for the workers. In which case, I believe, as the owner or manager, it’s MY or YOUR fault! Yes, it’s your fault, if you’re the person in charge of implementing and overseeing systems that operate your department or company. Faulty or no systems can cause all-out “war” in a business!

What is a System?

A system is a tool—a map or compass—by which employees are able to navigate, in order to do their best possible job. If there’s a hole in the system, or, as we say, “The system is BROKEN,” it’s OUR job as owners/managers to FIX IT.

I’ve seen this happen time and again in companies, when people don’t have the necessary and correct information or tools to do their jobs. Without systems, or constant supervision to tell them how, what, when and where, chaos reigns. Moreover, without proper systems, workers are expected to commit to memory every detail of their job assignments. Not to mention, all OUR verbal communications to them. So, what happens? Frustrations, leading to civil unrest!

One party THINKS something is supposed to be done a certain way and the other party THINKS it is supposed to be done another way. The key word here is THINKS!

The finger-pointing and name calling begins. Words are said, blame happens, tempers rise, every other frustration in each of these workers’ lives builds to a crescendo, and World War 3 breaks out!

How easy is it in these economic times to spark all-out war?

The Solution – The Fix!

Why not put in a system so ALL parties know EXACTLY what is suppose to be done, and what is expected of them, in order to do the job RIGHT?  Only YOU and I, the owners and managers, can stop the shoot-from-the-hip culture that leads to such outbreaks. Yes, the SOLUTION is to install a system that gets everyone on the same page. No more need of arguments, fights, reprimands, ulcers—lost time and money!

Types of Systems that Bring Everyone Together—from Chaos to Teamwork:

All of these systems become your company’s Operations Manual or your Standard Work. You might even call it…the Great Peacemaker!

Did I mention? Great Systems Work!

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