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Pallet Racking Industry Takes New Move

Many leaders of pallet racking filed are faced with challenging times at their companies. So here let's talk about some of our thoughts on what leaders can do to come out ahead in the end. Following are our top tips for leadership in tough times.

Get past negativity. Unfortunately, we are bombarded daily by reports of what is wrong with the economy. And it wears on people. It is up to leaders to constantly find ways to make the atmosphere more positive at their companies. Focus on what is under our control. Promptly addressing negativity can help create more positive employee morale. Find anything, no matter how small it may seem that is positive about the business and promote it.

Celebrate success. It is just as important to positively recognize the sale of a $15,000 maintenance contract as a $1.5 million system. Celebrate both and everything in between. And do it publicly. Hold regular company meetings and make it a point every time for people to tell others about the success they enjoyed recently. This gives people a chance to talk about their achievements with their peers in a supportive environment. It also helps enormously with communication across the company. In the end, celebrating success keeps the focus on the positive.

Focus on the customer. Particularly during these times, everyone needs to be reminded that we all work for the customer. This means that everything the company has, we have, and our families have were paid for by the customer. We must also remember that the customer is experiencing the same stressful economic conditions; doing this helps create the right frame of mind to deal with customers. It is the companies in pallet racking industry that put the needs of their customers first that are most likely to survive. In the end, customers need to have as perfect an experience as possible every time they come in contact with the company. Do that, and customers are more likely to return.

Understand what is important to employees. Leaders must be empathetic to employees' feelings and be responsive to their needs. Walking in someone else's shoes gives leaders an opportunity to see themselves from a different perspective. It also makes the point that not everything is about the bottom line. Sometimes it is just as important to ensure there are enough microwaves in the break room, for instance. Paying attention to these details delivers huge dividends, generating trust and an understanding that leaders do care about what matters to employees. Generate that frame of mind, and employees will transfer it to customers, too.

Talk with each employee one on one. Open and accessible management is a necessity. Make it a point to walk the shop and the office and speak to everyone. Often it may not be much more than a "hi there" or a wave. Other times people will want to talk about issues. That might make their direct supervisors uncomfortable, but that's too bad. People need to feel they have accessibility to whoever is at the top. And that could well mean to talk about their own personal challenges outside of work, not just what's going on at the company.

Be in constant communication. This is just as critical for employees as customers. There are no details too small to communicate and no downside to over communicating. Be clear and understandable. Use whatever communication means – words, drawings, photos, or anything else – to ensure that the message is not only delivered but received. Then look for a reply that confirms the communication is complete. And keep doing it again and again and again.

Look to employees for ideas that will help all. Always a good idea. But in times of crisis, this generates great ideas as well as a sense of involvement and contribution for people. Involving employees in discussions and gaining their input can be difficult depending on the subject and severity of the crisis, but their insights offer incredible rewards. This also makes it clear that the answer rests with us, not anyone else. We control our own destiny. In the end, this helps to build trust that employees believe their leaders have done everything possible to protect them and the company in tough times. Looking for answers from within will build trust despite adversity.

Realize that people don't resist change as much as they resist the unknown. As change agents, leaders must understand the status quo and how change will affect the people involved. Those changes must then be communicated and explained so people understand these are the right moves. They need to hear and understand in advance what the benefits will be. If it is good for the entire company, people will even take on more work to do their part. If the explanation is unclear and change feels like nothing more than transference of work without benefit, they won't buy in.

Never give up the opportunity of a great crisis. Instead, use it to inspire behavior that never would have been tapped without the crisis.

It all starts at the top. How many times has this been said? Must it be said one more time? Yes. Yes. And yes. Because it's true, and there's no getting around it. Leaders in pallet racking industry actions always speak louder than their words. If leaders do not walk the talk, they lose trust and respect across the company. And no leader can survive that. After all, the basis for each of the first nine tips is some form of trust and respect.

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