Are any of these true for you and your company?  

  • Your company does not have a mission or core-values statement.

  • Your company does have a mission or core values statement, but you wrote them yourself a long time ago and they are rarely referenced.

  • Your people just don’t seem to get it regarding what you expect of them.

  • You wish there was more of a sense of team regarding you and the people you employ.

If one or more of the above is true at your company, consider this tactic to literally and figuratively "get on the same page": Read a book as a company.

Pick a book. A great one to read as a group is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Why? It is all about how to be more effective as a person, and it has good exercises in it that will get you and your folks thinking.

Buy copies for everyone. Some people like to read and some people like to listen. Ask which each person prefers and get them what they need.

Schedule the meetings. Meet every week or every two weeks with your people. Tell your folks the pages that should be read before the first meeting. Keep it manageable. Consider keeping it to 20 to 40 pages at the most.

It is OK if it takes a long time to read the book. More positive change will happen the longer it takes; as your people will continue to reflect on what they read, they will start to change their behaviors and their choices without realizing it.

Set the meeting up to be a win-win for everyone. Have the meeting start 30 minutes before the end of the workday. Your people get paid for that time. The meeting is 1 hour long, so your people will be investing in their own self-improvement for the final 30 minutes of the meeting.

Encourage them to note what is relevant to them individually as they read. That way the activity of reading will be more beneficial to them and to you and your company. If you said to them, “Read the book and try to get insights on how we can improve the company,” the exercise would be less compelling to them.

As the leader of the group, try to only ask questions during the meeting, and make those questions about how the book is affecting the choices your people make. Ask follow-up questions, such as “Tell me more” or “How is that affecting how you are spending your time with your family?”

Make it fun. Have food delivered about halfway through the meeting. Pizza is easy to order, easy to eat during a meeting, and inexpensive.

When the book is finished, continue to meet. Now begin getting input from your people about your mission statement. Ask them, “Based on what we read and based on your experiences working here, what do you think our mission statement should be?” Let them know that you are taking input from them for you to consider, with the final mission statement being up to you.

Revise the mission statement accordingly. Before the next meeting, distribute your draft. Then meet and hear what people have to say about the draft. Decide on the final changes and then publish it.

You can then go through the same work with your core values.

For a relatively minor investment of time and money you will have remodeled your company. You and your people will be much more likely to be on the same page. Your company will be more effective, creating raving fans while making more money and having more fun.

Pick a book and set the dates! Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now  works as a facilitator forRemodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. Contact him