Filtering to preserve your assets

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I had the opportunity to tour a company that manufactures filtration systems for the wine industry. Their system removes impurities which can cause the destruction of the wine and make it worthless. I was fascinated by the complexity of the machinery and surprised at its portability. Their systems are a huge benefit to the wine industry and especially to small producers because it frees them from having to invest a significant amount of cash into limited-use equipment. Instead, a vintner can hire their company to process the wine onsite.

It is interesting to think that specifically designed filters along with sophisticated machinery and computer technology can work together to save wine. The concept is simple: remove the bad stuff and you will be left with something great.

Too often in business we invest time and money in equipment and technology while losing sight of the people required to make it all work. I often wonder how far we could go if we invested as much time and energy in people skills and strategic planning.

But let’s go back to that filtration system. Its sole purpose is to save our inventory from becoming worthless. What if we took that same approach with our employees? Rather than saying our employees just don’t get it, what if we turned on the filter and removed this “black hat” thinking? What if we helped them to see the big picture so they would have more of an interest in our mutual success? If we got rid of the negative views and the fear that prevents us from trying new ideas, how far could we go? It would be goodbye to business as usual.

It is time to teach all employees how a business really works. It is time to empower them to act. To make decisions that make everyone look better. They need to understand that there is more to running a successful winery than just their particular duties. Your team (and in fact every successful team) needs to see how what they do impacts other parts of the winery.

For your winery to move forward, especially in tougher economic times, you’re going to need your team to be focused on your vision and constantly thinking about how they can work to fulfill it. Filtering out your own negative attitudes that say “they can’t do it” and replacing it with “how can I teach them to help the winery succeed?” will be the first step in preserving your most important asset…your people.

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