Max Dumais

SmartCompany /

‘Space’ and ‘time’ are actually the two things every entrepreneur has some control over.

Thinkspace – setting aside a space and time for thinking

It’s a strange and yet obvious fact that the two variables we have any chance of controlling in our business is “space” and “time”. Yet how many of us take the trouble to create just such space and time for giving people the opportunity to step back and think?

After all, there is no question that people are paid to come to work, but a more interesting question is: “Are they paid to bring their brains as well?”

One way to make sure this question is never an issue where you work is to give some thought to designing some sort of mechanism that creates just such an opportunity for people to take time out to think.

The story of the emperor’s new clothes is a salutary one and we shouldn’t allow it to apply to us.

As the business owner you have the opportunity to set the tone. If the people in your workspace see no point in speaking up or telling it like it really is, then you and your company will be the poorer, and what’s more you run the risk of forgoing all of those riches that exist just below the surface.

Someone was telling me over the weekend that a good part of their job is handling the suggestions and complaints that inundate their company’s travel web-site.

What a pot of gold is that! Not only do people care enough to share the downsides of their experience with you, but they also want you to get better by helping you qualify your information. That type of consumer buy-in is invaluable, but it also shows what other people value about your business.

Tip of the week: Within your own group, the secret is to set up a regular process where “all bets are off” and everyone is expected to provoke and poke at the system as it stands. Keeping dedicated staff is not just about the money.

Create a special “thinkspace” within staff meetings by declaring two minutes in which each person can challenge, suggest or amend anything the company currently does that might lead to becoming a better way for adding value and doing better business.


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