In the last article, I stressed the need for decisive leadership in any organization, establishing the vision of the company and rallying the troops to own the company goals. That all sounds fairly lofty, doesn’t it? Perhaps company vision and rallying the troops to rise up and charge the marketplace is not your style. Perhaps you are thinking, “I just run a paint company and are out to provide a few jobs and make a good living and have an above average lifestyle”. Actually, that is a worthy goal! The key is, “How do you reach that worthy goal”?
Just as in real estate everyone knows the three important rules; Location, Location, Location. In business the three important words are: Employees, Employees, and Employees. Employees are the key. And, It is no fun doing it all yourself anyway.
So, what do you do with all these employees? Just as in the example of Capt. Camp’s troops planning and owning the mission in the last article, the captain knew he could not do everything and he was not qualified to do so. His role was to lead and coordinate. He was the leader. His job was to coordinate all the resources toward the goal. It is your
job to coordinate all the resource at your disposal.
The next big question is Focus. On what do you focus to reach your goals? Ken Blanchard, author of the infamous book, The One Minute Manager, and Don Shula, head coach of the Miami Dolphins, the winningest coach in NFL history say, “Leadership is like getting up on a chair and telling third graders what needs to be done. You’ve got to keep it basic, direct and simple. The team and individual players must know what you expect. The basics are all you need to stress. Drilling the basics continually will build a sound foundation. If you are solid on the fundamentals, you are
way ahead…” How long do you stress the basics? Bob Camp, past CEO of Pier One Imports, told me, “it is not working until the part-time employees know how they fit into the company”!
The next big question: How do you choose your team? Who are the people at your company who will complete the mission? How you hire, makes a world of difference in your day to day life. In my first business venture, I hired my friend’s wife. I soon realized the person working the books was a full fledged Robin Hood follower. She abhorred profits, making money and capitalism as a whole. But, she didn’t dislike the mighty dollar enough to not want to redistribute all wealth to others like herself. At the time, I didn’t know what I needed or wanted so I hired who was available and projected the qualities I needed for the position onto the person who I hired. A delusional and a painful experience. I was the poster child in a classic case of being unconsciously very incompetent?
A mentor of mine, Grant M., taught me how to hire the exact type of person I needed for each job. It was very easy. It was so simple; you get what you ask for. I posted an advertisement for the perfect employee. When I hired my current part assistant, Jennifer, this was the ad I ran on Craigslist:
Position Available: Small and rapidly growing manufacturing companyseeks part time office assistant. Applicant must desire to take overand manage office duties, coordinate shipping needs, edit documents,solve problem, and punt when necessary with little guidance. Must beresourceful and work as an assistant for owner and independently onprojects. Must love Dogs! Duties include data entry, bookkeeping, andkeeping owner on track and out of trouble. Please reply with resume andopening letter describing you. Research and review company websitebefore replying….. Send replies to Position@maddogprimer.comApplicant must desire to take over
Every one of my partners and even their wives, called to actually laugh at me. “You can’t possibly get someone this qualified for a part time position. “Your sights are way too high”, they exclaimed. Well, I received 6 calls about the position. Jennifer walked in the door and after talking for about twenty minutes, I knew she would do. As my mentor, Grant, said, “People reply to the ads that describe or interest them. Persons, who are not looking for a job, will answer the ad just because it describes what they want or the challenges they seek.”
Retaining employees who are customer focused is really the key. It doesn’t help to have an in store expert who is a grump. Sun Country, the small regional airline, figured a front line employee needed to be customer driven and have a pleasing temperament. My assistant Jennifer is absolutely wonderful! She gets the job done. She is extremely resourceful and just plain keeps me out of trouble. However, Jennifer is not a great frontline person and she has a shorter fuse than most in the patience area. If she were working at Sun Country, Jennifer would be the hands down winner of the Annual, “That’s a really stupid question, you don’t deserve to fly today” Award.
Reaching your goals will most likely come from how good you are at coordinating the employees around you. Are you choosing the right people and giving the right people what they want, so you can get what you want. And, your employees are the key to the temperament and personality of the company. Are customers attracted by your employee’s
personality and temperament? Are they comfortable with them in their home?
The next article in the series will discuss the personality of your company and the number one concern all customers have…