Is it hard for you to help your business to operate at it's full potential? What is causing the breakdown? Have you identified these issues and written them down?
Some of these issues may include, not having real team players, or possibly there are bad habits in your own life? Aside from these things, there may be things that we can do as business owners to make our companies run smooth and efficiently, and promote good attitudes, and behavior among the employees that work for us.
What I Learned
Years ago, I was working in a position with a Data Center where I was responsible for a lot of the networking that went on with the business. I climbed into my 2000-ish Ford Focus with almost no features that would cause any reasonable person to deem it roadworthy, and drove to Palo Alto with a friend and co-worker for the TechCrunch, "Crunchie" awards. Of course, on the way, being entrepreneurial-minded as we were, we had a conversation about many things that a business needs to cut. What was a real interesting scene for me was when we ended up on the Google Campus later that weekend we talked about the fact that anyone can learn from a company as successful as Google is, if they will. Even way back then, I was impressed with Google and wanted to make sure that I remembered what I was seeing. I'll bet you can't guess what our only topic was about on the way home. I moved to Palo Alto soon after this magical weekend because of this experience.
What Makes Google Different
One thing that we both noticed about jobs at Google, (and subsequently, after a feature film with a Google Internship at stake), was that there is always time for fun. For example, we walked past slides, billiards, and bike racks with the little green, yellow, and red pedal bikes that Google people use to get everywhere. This creates an environment of relaxation, where creativity seems to be commonplace and comfort encourages genuine effort. Now, it doesn't take bikes or the colors to make the workplace more fun, but make and have a fun atmosphere in your company.
No matter where you go on the Google campus, there is incredible art, artwork, and sculptures. There are so many visually stimulating pieces. The buildings, the layout of the buildings and grounds - the flora and fauna... literally, everything... Inspiring. There are places to sit and look at this art. Many people were deep in, ernest conversation. When was the last time you were inspired at work?
Motivate people to get in shape. Google obviously has a gym and swimming pool on campus, but maybe you can call up your landlord and try to get the use of the building-offered exercise space (at least that is a start.) Is there a way you can start offering incentives for health at your business? Promote a healthy lifestyle, start throwing in gym passes as perks at the office, and incorporate fun ways to help people stay healthy. However, for the love of Pete, do not have a weight loss contest. That is a good way to demotivate and kill everyone's drive as they starve for a month!
Another part of Google that is a fantastic model to emulate is that they promote and encourage every employee to take personal time to work on their own projects, while, (gasp), at work - YES, on the clock. We were told that many employees spend a lot of time on personal stuff at work and are allowed and encouraged to work on their own things for an hour or two every day. Maybe this could work for your office, as well.
Google is impressive. We can use some of their ideas and incorporate them into our business model, and improve our own processes. It might be fun to give Google corporate a call and ask them how many tools have been developed by their employees while working in their spare time on the job. And, how many of these tools have been submitted and are in use at Google at this time?
Google doesn't care if we use their ideas, they'll think up more. Let's use what we can and make our own businesses better.