"Statues and pictures and verse may be grand, But they are not the Life for which they stand."
--- James Thompson
There is a lot of controversy in the US today over historic statues, some that have stood in the same spot for over hundreds of years. Regardless of what side you may be on, I think we can all agree that once this can of worms was opened, it seems suddenly more and more statues have become offensive. Some of the hoopla is simply a misunderstanding or ignorance of American history, while others truly hurt some folks' feelings. Whether putting them up or tearing them down, statues either make a statement, mark a moment in history, or represent a personal meaning to the artist who made it.
In business there are statues too. Your customers put up statues. So do your employees, vendors, competitors and even your community. These statues may not be made of bronze or concrete, but they can last a long time and they will stir controversy and may even hurt your business.
"I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums."
--- Steven Wright
There are three statues that we in business should be looking out for. The first is the one from your customers. These are the long-lasting statues of reviews. You can find them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites. These are the worst kind of statues. They cannot easily be destroyed, if ever. No one can knock them down or ram them with a truck or hit them with a sledgehammer. They are there to stay.
The only way to prevent these statues from ever being erected in the first place is to make your customer service efforts a number one priority. Send out your own surveys and try to cut off any statue building at the pass. Continually ask your customers how you are doing and fix any issues that they tell you need fixing.
"Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness."
--- Nathaniel Hawthorne
That second kind of statues that can harm your business are the ones that your team members can create. One of the worse is these is the statue of spreading rumors, hate and discontent. The foundation for these statues are usually developed by a disgruntled employee who probably shouldn't be a part of your team anyway.
Chop this statue down by keeping the communication lines open to all employees. If you claim to have an open door policy, don't shut the door. Allow employees to speak freely - they usually come up with the best ideas for your business anyway.
"Presenting statues of honor to reporters for covering an earthquake is like presenting a first prize to a doctor for performing surgery."
--- Phil Donahue
Finally, the last statue that can do damage to your business is the one that we all want to put up for ourselves. Sometimes it is our office or our new car or vacation home that we show off to the troops that becomes a statue. Maybe it is a change of title to CEO or Chairman that is our statue. Whatever it is that creates a chasm between us and them is a statue that must be torn down.
This kind of statue is probably the worst of the three because it creates division where there should be unity, an individual when there should be a team, and it stifles creativity when there should be empowerment to create freely. Fight the urge to show off your success and do all you can to remain, "one of the boys" at all times. You'll get more done in less time and be more productive.