Does your company regard its staff as a commodity, information as a currency, and operate on a need-to know basis? If so, you may be missing one of the primary advantages of Human Resources – good ideas.  Some of the best ideas can come from your own people. These include problem solving, creative approaches, and anticipatory teamwork. But how can they help you if they are kept in the dark? Here are some tips to unlock the potential of your human resources.

1 Treat your people like your most valuable asset. Recognize that they all have creative minds and already know a great deal about your business. Human Resources are just that, human beings with ideas who are valuable for much more than just labor.

2 Realize that without sales, there would be no staff. Make sure they know their salaries come from sales. Show them the money path from the customer all the way to their paycheck, bonus, and benefits. They have to know exactly where the money is coming from to be most effective in your company.

3 Reinforce this concept by tying their compensation at least in part to sales, and ultimately profits. All companies really have only two divisions whether they realize it or not: Sales and Sales Support. Let them support sales with their ideas.

4 Give your staff permission to make suggestions outside of their strict division of labor. Do this by publicly acknowledging those with good ideas and special cooperation in and outside their normal responsibilities. This will encourage a more productive culture.

5 Once you and your staff are open to the ideas of sharing information and suggestions, you may discover that responsibilities can be transferred to other positions with better results. Determine what each individual excels at. Then rearrange your job descriptions accordingly. You may even find a need that your company has not addressed.

6 Share your challenges with your staff on a regular basis and give them updates. Once they see what you are up against, they will want to help with their own take on the situation. Often their insights are outside the box, creative, and surprising.

7 Don’t just assume that certain kinds of information will distract or confuse them, especially when you are facing big challenges. Helping you solve problems gives them a deeper stake in your business, improves cross departmental communication, and builds a stronger team.

So, are you sure they don’t need to know? Or, can they help you if they know the need?


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Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact