Forging an efficient, successful company is a challenge in today's competitive business market. Some 71% of employees work in weak work climates, according to a recent Gartner report, which can impede productivity and ultimately the bottom line.
Organizations are operating in a fast-paced, volatile, ever-changing workforce—in which conflicting opinions on how to keep a company relevant are spewed left and right. In reality, companies are really just doing what they can to stay relevant, often involving chasing the latest tech trends.
SEE: Hiring kit: Chief diversity officer (Tech Pro Research)
However, having the latest technology doesn't ensure success. "There are constantly vendors barraging us with news of their latest and greatest configurations, updates, and development toolkits," said TechRepublic contributor Patrick Gray. "One could easily spend a career learning the nuances of a single network component or one module of a complex software package. However, as quickly as that particular skill becomes valuable, it can become irrelevant."
Having the latest tech is nice, but not knowing how to use it, or not operating cohesively enough as a company to take advantage of it, doesn't get you very far. Here are the six habits organizations must adopt in order to be successful.
1. Healthy culture
The success of a business is completely determined by the company's foundation. Going back to the basics, the way a company operates and the values they operate on are what comprises its overall culture. To operate successfully, the company must have a healthy climate, according to Wayne Strickland, a business consultant and former Hallmark executive. "An unhealthy culture will never win in the marketplace, no matter how good the strategy is for the company," he added.
Instead, team members need to be just that: A team. "Businesses and organizations that focus on team building activities and training are probably going to be more successful than their competitors who don't," said Alayna Pehrson, content management specialist at Best Company. "Most businesses are successful because they have strong teams working behind the scenes. When a business or organization has several strong teams, they are able to grow and work at a faster, more efficient pace."
Consumers are the fuel that keeps the company afloat. For an organization to remain a business, they need to have business. While companies do some self-reflection, they can't forget about their audience. "When companies start only thinking of themselves, then they start failing," said Pehrson. "People want to do business and have interactions with organizations who truly care about their needs and wants."
Sometimes the company's initial ideas or goals may not align with what their consumers want, and that is okay. "A successful company or organization should be willing to make sacrifices in order to keep their consumers happy," added Pehrson.
3. Hire smart
Hiring is critical to the future and culture of the company, as new hires could be in control of the business one day. The company needs to consider the skills, personalities, and values they are looking to either add or build upon in the group. "Not only must we hire people with the right skills for the roles and the right personalities for our culture, but we also need to be sure that candidates have proven their abilities to work well in teams of different sizes," said Mark Jaffe, CEO of Allure Security. "Also, since teams can most easily get out of sync when there are changes in the overall business, it's important that we hire people whom we believe can adapt well to change."
Employees are ambassadors for their company, so if you want a quality business, you need a quality employees, added Pehrson. "That means companies need to care about who they hire and what type of work environment they want to create in order to keep the quality employees they do hire," she added.
This is the obvious one, but very necessary. Companies can only work well together if they communicate together. It's almost like a relationship, said Pehrson, "Whenever a couple stops focusing on communication, they are more likely to get off track and lose their connection. The same is for businesses and organizations. The more communicative they come across, the better their business flow will be," she added.
Communication opens the door to new ideas and strategies, which ultimately benefits the company as a whole. "The team should feel comfortable sharing any and all ideas and questions on a regular basis, so that the overall team can stay in sync and understand concerns or confusion as it arises," said Jaffe.
Good communication and work culture fosters innovation. "An organization's culture of agility must encourage, support and allow the dynamic application of nuanced, real-time decision making at the optimal point in the organization," said Kevin Baril, Grant Thornton's national managing principal of innovation. Team members must foster an innovative attitude, one that wants to keep the company developing.
While automation is vital for companies to stay competitive nowadays, Baril said that the innovation isn't just about the technology, but also the way of thinking. He recommended that "employees across an organization should see innovative thinking and creative problem-solving as everyone's job—not a side project or a privilege reserved for a select few."
6. Take risks
With innovation comes the opportunity for risk-taking. Some ideas may fail, but others won't, meaning that a risk was necessary for further success and efficiency. "The risks and rewards of continuous improvement must be a dialogue that is present and active within teams at all levels," Baril added. "In teams that are heavily structured and that must strictly adhere to standard operating procedures, there must be a mechanism to suggest and develop a better way of getting things done."
- 10 real-world truths about succeeding in IT operations (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Leading a successful digital transformation (ZDNet)
- DevOps: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- DevOps success is about culture, culture culture (ZDNet)
- The 5 secrets to becoming a successful CXO (TechRepublic)
Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.