By Deb Flomberg

If there’s one constant in the business world, it’s change. Whether it’s in regards to your product line, your customer services, your marketing techniques or even your accounting principles, change is a constant and any business that fails to adapt to those changes will do just that – fail.

There are many ways you can be an adaptable organization and a lot of things you can do to keep up with the times to ensure a productive and happy workforce. Whether you’re running a new organization and you’re establishing guidelines and employee training manuals now, or if you’ve been working for a while but need to step things up to take it to the next level, having an adaptable organization is paramount to any success.

Start At The Top

It may help to look at your adaptability by starting at the top. Most organizational structures are set so that the “worker bees” are at the bottom of the hierarchy while the “thinkers” are at the top. There is a strong dividing line between the two, and people can rarely cross over from one to the other. Now, imagine getting rid of that dividing line, and suddenly you’ve created a workforce in which your employees are empowered to think and create while also being productive and effective. If everyone has the ability to be both a thinker and a worker, then you have a more motivated and productive staff, because everyone buys into the overall mission of the company.

Find The Box

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “think outside the box,” however, that does you no good unless you know what and where that box is. So start with the box: Establish some guidelines as to your decision-making process and make sure your employees know where they are allowed to go and how far outside that box they can step. You may be surprised at how many new, creative ideas come pouring out of your employees once they have your permission to think creatively.

Make Some Changes

There are a lot of little things you can do to change things up, thereby enforcing an environment in which rank is not an issue and everyone can be as productive as possible. Try simple changes like moving your seat at the staff meeting. Instead of placing yourself at the head of the table, sit in the middle with everyone else. Let someone else run the meeting and have another employee be in charge of tracking progress. Give your staff some authority and you may be surprised at how much more productive they become.

Keep Communication Open

If there is one key to ensuring the success of an open organizational system, it’s communication. You cannot have an effective workplace if you aren’t communicating well with your staff. This needs to be on all levels, not just at your morning meetings when you address the daily sales goals. Communication is key because it provides guidance and confidence in everything you do, so make sure to keep your door metaphorically (and literally) open. When your staff knows they can come to you with questions and get an honest answer, they will be more willing to open up to you about all their issues and you’ll find ways to be a more productive organization.

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