Give them the puzzle box

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I don’t like puzzles so much anymore. You know, the ones that come in a box in a gazillion pieces and you have to put it together? Thank God for the box or the whole process would be unbearable to me. I guess I’m a big-picture guy come to think of it. I like to see the overall goal, the big picture, and then I can become more focused on reaching the goal and all the little steps, or pieces, that are needed to get there.

I participated in an activity not too long ago where the group I was in had to put together a jigsaw puzzle in a gazillion pieces without the box to guide us. It was quite annoying to me. Some folks in my group dove right in and started to work, energized by the whole challenge. But the majority of people in the group stood around and watched or causally helped with a piece here and there. And that reminded me of something that small business owners sometimes do that causes themselves problems.

I have written in the past about examples of businesses who were trying to do something creative with technology or social media and they failed. There are usually numerous reasons when that happens, but some of them are completely avoidable. Think about the puzzle analogy.

It is extremely important to keep your employees informed about what’s going on in your business. They can’t help the customer, they can’t answer questions, and they can’t help you be successful if they don’t know what’s going on. Kind of like the majority of the folks standing around, like me, watching the puzzle being put together instead of trying to help. Alot of people (i.e., your employees) simply won’t participate or engage in the process if they don’t understand the big picture and where you are trying to go.

So don’t be that boss, that owner, that keeps your employees in the dark and only informs them on a need-to-know basis. Especially if you are going to use social media in some form. If you are gonna create a Foursquare special, if you are gonna start a new text-messaging campaign, if you are gonna have a Facebook promotion… you better let your employees know everything about it BEFORE it happens. And if they don’t know what Foursquare is, or what a text-messaging marketing campaign is, then you better educate them so they do know.

Don’t keep them in the dark. Give them the puzzle box.

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