Companies wanting to stay competitive in a fast-changing business environment need open and innovative workplaces, says TakeOn chief executive Paul Stewart.
TakeOn is a business performance programme aimed at getting companies to improve workplace culture and innovation, and solve common business problems through open discussions and incremental but continuous improvements.
Stewart founded TakeOn after he found about 90 per cent of companies had a business strategy, but most failed to implement it.
"What tends to happen is that people come to work and they do their job and then occasionally HR or whoever comes along and says, 'OK we're going to go on this course or workshop or whatever'. And it ends up being a distraction from business as usual and then people go back to business as usual and get busy and don't feel like they get the opportunity to apply it," Stewart said.
The first TakeOn business conference, TakeONEDay, was held last month in Auckland and saw more than 100 businessmen and women gather to discuss challenges as well as sharing perspectives and experiences.
Stewart said the event was aimed at getting users of the TakeOn programme to share their ideas on how to create an aligned workplace culture, as well as discussing common issues and possible solutions.
Stewart outlined four of the key takeaways from the conference, and highlighted some of his top tips to creating a dynamic and aligned workplace.
Engage your people - most of the answers you need lie in the experiences of others
It doesn't matter what sort of challenges you face, a lot of the knowledge you need and a lot of the answers to the problems are already there. Create a conversational environment where employees can share ideas and make suggestions.
Focus more on what is working than on what is not
The default of management is to tick the box on what's working and then spend the rest of the time focusing on what's not working. But if you pull out examples of where you've been really good at something and talk about those successes, you can get a lot of insights which help you to improve. The psychology behind that is that people feel better when they're talking about successes and they become more connected.
Shift the balance of your communication from download to dialogue
In a lot of organisations, particularly larger ones, communication is often letters or emails, or senior people delivering a presentation. It's one way. A much better model is one where there is dialogue and where everyone is involved and everyone's perspective is being heard and shared.
Create space for yourself
In a lot of organisations the work pace means people don't often take time to slow down and give themselves space to think, and so they become less efficient and less effective over time. Making time to take a few minutes to slow down and be able to prioritise your workload and not be distracted is really important.
What is TakeOn?
It is a business performance programme that aims to help companies be more innovative, improve workplace culture and deal with day-to-day issues.
Who could benefit from the programme?
It has more than 50 organisations using it, from telcos, banks and retailers to smaller businesses, but any organisation with a management team could use it.
How does the programme work?
TakeOn provides business mentors for companies and helps them work through common problems and develop strategies for improving culture. They also use an online resource base with more than 60 topics for dealing with issues.