While every business is unique, successful businesses are built with the support of the following roles.
- The optimist – On a daily basis this individual envisions and speaks of success and exhorts others to do the same. This individual’s optimism is so strong that it is contagious. Staff, prospects and vendors all have an opportunity to “catch” this individual’s optimism for the business.
- The relationship builder – This individual gives the business its face or personality. Communications between this individual and prospects, customers, vendors and/or affiliates are genuine and substantive – more than casual schmoozing.
- The inventor – This individual plans, builds or creates services and/or products that distinguish the business from its competition.
- The pragmatist – This individual assures that the practical aspects of the business are carried out on time – bills (including taxes) are paid, governmental requirements are fulfilled, marketing attracts prospects, prospects are secured as customers, customers are served, receivables are received, etc.
- The sage – Typically, this individual is short on words and long on insight. This individual is often the one who realizes that no one person can be all of the above and so this individual advises the organization to find strategic relationships with vendors, affiliates and mentors who can fulfill the roles not filled by the principals of the organization.
Each of these roles must work in balance and harmony with the other roles. In the case of a very small business, one person may fulfill several roles (but typically can not fulfill all roles). In the case of a large business, each role may require the coordinated effort of hundreds of people. In both small and large businesses, mutual respect and encouragement across the roles help create an environment in which all staff and associates can excel.
Every business will experience episodes when the roles are not being fulfilled in a balanced way. The optimist may become temporarily melancholy, the sage may have a lapse in judgment, etc.
These episodes can be weathered with the help of planning, mutual respect and good humor. Planning must involve training individuals to step into new roles so that other individuals can take vacations or leaves of absence to rest and restore. Mutual respect and good humor alleviate tension through the unstable period, provide a platform for creative problem solving and buy the time needed to implement practical solutions.
It is easy to recognize businesses that keep these roles in balance. They are the businesses we enjoy having as employers, vendors, associates and customers. They are positive, forward thinking and successful over the long haul. They are the role models we want to emulate and the businesses we need to keep in our community. Seeking them out and learning from them is a refreshing and healthy experience.
If you know a local business that keeps these roles in balance, please let us know. We would be happy to interview them for an upcoming article!