The secret to navigating uncertainty in the distribution industry is creating a company culture that enables employees at all levels to recognize and respond to new opportunities and threats quickly.
If distribution executives are able to keep employees engaged and committed, employees at all levels of the company feel more comfortable speaking truth to power, said Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group on an episode of MDM’s QuickTake podcast hosted by CEO Tom Gale.
“If all of the employees know what the top three strategic objectives of the company are … and people can see what’s going on and understand it, they’re going to recognize and see these changes,” Marks said of recognizing opportunities and threats in the face of changes in the industry. “The people closest to the work will always know more than the hierarchy.”
If a company culture enables an employee to raise a concern or suggestion to the point that leadership takes action, that is what will set a company apart in periods of uncertainty, Marks added.
Transitioning to a Collaborative Employee Culture
Creating a company culture where employees are encouraged and empowered to share ideas starts with transparency, Marks explains. “It’s not ‘Do what I say,’ it’s ‘Here what we’re trying to accomplish.’”
For distribution companies that have historically been in a command-and-control management structure — but are looking to cultivate a more collaborative environment — leadership can explore ways to give more autonomy to the employees.
“It’s not the motivation posters. It’s not the foosball table or any of that other stuff. It’s how people are treated,” Marks said.
Check out the full QuickTake conversation — which dives into how a collaborative employee culture is important to the next generation of the workforce — via the audio player above. Find all of our past MDM Podcast episodes here.