June 04, 2014

Commerce Nightmares: Chemistry

Notice that I do not have an "8 Steps To Social Media Success" square in The Direct Marketing Success Pyramid.

Too few people want to talk about the role that chemistry plays in a successful business. If you watch Kitchen Nightmares, you seldom see good team chemistry.

In fact, you'll frequently see chemistry fall apart when the owner chooses to not listen to line staff. Maybe the chef wants to add specials to the menu, but the owner has a rigid perspective "this is the menu, just cook it". Maybe the staff have a process for taking care of orders, but the owner has to be in the kitchen dictating work flow. Regardless, somebody messes up what could be a smooth, well-run process, and in the process, destroys any possibility of team chemistry.

This same dynamic happens in retail brands, e-commerce businesses, and catalogers. These days, the dynamic seems to happen less along VP / Director / Manager / Analyst lines ... happening instead across generations. In other words, you have a Manager who has many ideas for improving business performance, but the ideas generally speak to "Jasmine" ... and therefore, are not embraced by others. I can't tell you how often I hear the phrase "why won't Executives listen to me?" on Twitter.

When good team chemistry exists, folks are allowed to test their ideas ... not roll their ideas out untested, but they do get to test ideas. In this way, we make progress.

When you see an environment where employees are not allowed to test their ideas, and as a result, employees lose trust in each other, you are seeing a potential Commerce Nightmare.