Are You Ready for Progress? Check Your Infrastructre

Progress relies on good infrastructure.

In our rush to create results (or profits), we often overlook or underinvest in the necessary basic structures required to excel.

But how do you know if you have good infrastructure?
(Based on this great article by Seth Godin)
Here's a couple of good questions to ask:

1. Do ideas and assets move in your environment like they should?
Your staff should have the most appropriate tools they need to do their job. If they don't, or there is constant refrain of "my tools don't work", you have a problem.

Can people openly share ideas? If not, then you are missing out on ways to improve.

Solution: It's time to reinvest in your tools and/or reorganize your communication structure.

2. Do you have a culture of apathy or discouragement?
If people - whether they be your customers or your employees - don't feel like anything good will come, then you have a problem. You can "bootstrap" for only so long, but even with a great vision, people want to see and expect progress.

Solution: Check your operations structure. It may be time to reorganize how things flow through your process and/or how the flow of communication works.

3. Are you still acting like it's 1985?
If you are not learning and growing, and are not promoting your employees to learn, then you have a problem.
Don't expect better results if you are doing the same things. Education is key to advancement, so make sure you are cultivating your talents.

Solution: Read. Pursue education and encourage your employees to advance their learning.

4. Do you promote civility?
Seth says it best here:
"Not just table manners, but an environment without bullying, without bribery, without coercion. Clean air, not just to breathe, but to speak in."

Solution: Encourage the right kind of behaviors and deal appropriately with the wrong kind of behaviors. Be an example of the culture you want. Don't expect perks and not expect to give them.

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, its time to get to work. Business, life, and results are all better when we have the essentials down. While no company can ever master all these areas, we need to keep trying.

Empower your staff with better tools, education, communication avenues and a fair workplace. It's time to do better business.