Greg Taylor, co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing, says that without the company's employees, the brewery would be a lifeless brick building filled with stainless tanks. It's the people in any business that make it come alive.
Three things on Mr. Taylor's mind about managing human relationships:
1. Choose business partners carefully: It is always helpful to partner up with someone with different but complementary business skills. One of you might be more technically oriented - perhaps better at accounting, engineering or manufacturing - while the other is more adept at marketing or managing customer relationships. But more important is what you have in common and that should be a shared set of values about how and on what to spend money and your basic philosophy about the treatment of employees, suppliers and customers. These emotional issues are often what unravels partnerships.
2. Employees are the cornerstone of any operation: In order to compete in today's global economy, your business must have product differentiation. That could be innovation or cost competitiveness, but in either case you will rely on your employees to create a unique advantage for your success. Recruit, hire, train and retain thoughtfully so you will have the right resources/skills/knowledge on your team.
3. Honour your customers: A wise marketing consultant once told me “your brand is not what you say about your product/company, but what your customers say about you based on an accumulation of experiences with your brand at every touch point.” Be sure that your customers' expectations of your brand are being met or exceeded, whether it's the physical product itself, the purchasing process, contact with any employee or things as simple as how clean your company vehicles and facilities are. All of these things are a reflection of your brand and influence your customers' experience.
Special to the Globe and Mail