A business, no matter whether a one-person company or a multi-national conglomerate, is a complex assemblage of people, tasks, products, services, inventory and equipment with many components or departments that together create a combined whole. 

The departments do not stand alone. Each is dependent upon the others for their form and their relationship to the whole. 

As an example, think of the Accounts Payable department. All alone, by itself, it has no reason for existence without a Purchasing Department creating the purchase orders and the Receiving Department checking the accuracy of incoming shipments so invoices can be paid. 

The same dependency relationship exists with all departments and tasks within the company.

I like to think of all the departments in a business in the same manner as I think of the parts of a jigsaw puzzle spread out over the top of a table. Each piece is complete by itself; however, each is very limited in size, shape and visual information. But when they are attached to each other in the proper sequence, the full picture becomes a thing of beauty and gives a large measure of satisfaction and pride to the person who put it all together — just like a smoothly operating, profitable, growing business.

That’s why I have difficulty understanding why, in some businesses, various departments compete, fail to work together, or blame each other for various shortcomings. The shipping department points fingers at the warehouse, which has issues with purchasing, yet without each other, nothing could be bought, stored or shipped. They need to work together and with each other part of the company to create a unified whole.

The individual parts of a jigsaw puzzle, when spread out over the table, are just a bunch of chaotic components. As they come together and unify a beautiful picture emerges out of the chaos until, after expending time and effort, the puzzle is finished. That is where the analogy falls apart because a business, even though it is beautiful when operating smoothly, is never finished — constantly evolving to meet new challenges.

Larry Galler specializes in coaching owners of small businesses to grow their business through effective marketing, customer retention programs and systemizing their business practices. Explore how he can help you during a free coaching session by calling (219) 464-9463 or e-mail Larry@LarryGaller.com. Visit his website at www.OneYearToGreatness.com.