SBM #57 Recognition

Recognition

Recognition is the easiest and most effective way to motivate employees, yet remarkably, one of the least used.¬ Entrepreneurs spend endless hours trying to figure out how to motivate their teams, yet ignore this basic human need.

A little research will show that there are an untold number of studies that rank recognition, or appreciation for their work, in the top 10 qualities that lead to job satisfaction, often placing it as the number one item.

The funny thing is, this is not revolutionary. I remember being a young manager in the pre-digital age and regularly coming across articles stating the exact same thing. A different time, a different generation, yet the very same piece of advice for managers. Tom Peters, in his seminal book, In Search of Excellence, stated that “we need to catch people doing something right”!

What about all the good?

All too often we’re quick to notice when something goes awry, we lose no time in bringing the misstep to the guilty party’s attention. Yet, how often have we ignored the many good things that same individual does? Is it because we take the position that it’s their job to do it right and that’s what I’m paying them for?

Catching people doing something right requires very little effort and only entails you to be on the lookout for those moments. Recognition of a job well done can have a significant impact on morale, on profitability as well as innovation.

Build confidence

Think about it for second. You catch someone doing something really well or took the initiative to try something new. At this point you thank them and let them know you’re pleased. So, what do think happens next? Well, it’s been my experience that a smile usually breaks across the individual face. Even the most grizzled employee will probably soften for a moment. That small action on your part signals that what they do, matters. It builds their confidence, all because someone noticed.

Let’s face it, we all like to be recognized. We all enjoy the occasional pat on the back. Don’t you beam just a little when a customer says, you did a great job? Well your employees are no different. Seriously, how much effort does it take to acknowledge a job well done? Very little!

Just a little effort

If you train yourself to be on the outlook, you’ll find plenty of moments to praise. Just be sure to be sincere. The following are just a couple of examples to prime your thinking

  • You overhear an employee on the phone with a customer and you’re impressed at how they handled the situation. So as soon as the call is completed, let them know that you were impressed and thank them for caring. You can’t wait until later. It must be done immediately after the call is completed to maximize it’s impact.

 

  • You task someone to query your customer database for a list of customers that either bought a specific product or service. Not only does the individual provide you what you asked for, but took it a step farther and provided a list of potential targets of that service or product.

 

  • Another employee, shares with you something a co-worker did to go the extra mile or how they helped another employee. You first thank the employee for bringing to your attention and then immediately let the other employee know that you appreciate what they did. That’s a double in my books.

It really does matter

These types of situations happen everyday in thousand of business, without the owners ever acknowledging the individuals for going the extra distance. Too be fair, many entrepreneurs do recognize the effort, but fail to let the employee know because they get busy and forget or they don’t think it matters. Let me be very clear on this point, it does matter!

By regularly acknowledging peoples good work, you set the stage for people to give a little more or try a little harder. By letting them know their efforts are appreciated, they will go the extra mile and the impact will have a trickle down effect throughout the organization that will be noticeable.

The beauty of catching people doing good is that it doesn’t cost anything. The reward is the recognition and knowing they are appreciated. So, I challenge you to spend the next week catching people doing good, and see if there is even the slightest change in morale. What have you got to lose?

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SBM #56 Delegate not Abdicate

Delegate not Abdicate

 

Every business has lots of moving parts. By default, an owner must have a wide ranging skill set if they hope to achieve any success with their enterprise. Those skills include, but not limited to, sales, marketing, human resources, bookkeeping, production and administration.

Of course, at the onset, we as owners tend to do all these activities. But as your company evolves, and demands on your time increase, you need to seriously consider getting out from under all of those responsibilities. Doing so, would free you up to focus on what you do best as an individual and allow the company to grow.

Fortunately, for many of these areas mentioned, you have choices on how to free yourself from these tasks. You can either hire someone or, outsource those activities to a freelancer. Either way, the end result would be to unburden yourself.

What to give up

What to give up or delegate varies with each entrepreneur. But be aware, there is a fine line between delegate and abdicate. Let’s face it, your enthusiasm for the various roles in your company range from, enjoyment to sheer torture.

What I have found is that we tend to keep doing the things that we’re comfortable with, regardless if it’s a good use of our time, and eschew those things that we don’t like, or have little knowledge.

One of the very first areas that entrepreneurs can’t wait to get rid of is bookkeeping. Heck, some don’t ever do it. They just outsource it right from the beginning and are glad to be rid of the responsibility. Too be fair, it can be a little tedious and many of us just don’t have the patience for administration.

Ignoring powerful information

This is also a great example where delegation turns into abdication. When questioned, most owners simply answer that they don’t understand it, or it’s too complicated. Although it is primarily a record keeping function, what I find absolutely amazing is how little attention some owners pay to this area. For many, they are quite content to run their businesses blissfully ignorant of the powerful information contained within the available reports.

Far too often it takes a crisis to get the entrepreneur to take notice and by that time it may be too late to save the company. These crisis usually take the form of missed government remittances, seriously overdue account payables or worse, a nasty case of fraud. But more often than not, it’s simply a matter of inattention that’s built up over an extended period of time.

Maintain oversight

Delegating doesn’t mean never having to deal with it again. It simply means letting someone else take care of the day-to-day activities. For instance, if you used to spend eight hours a week on something, you can now reduce your time to an hour a week simply reviewing the other person’s activity. You still must maintain oversight and ultimately remain accountable for the results.

All areas of a business can be delegated but successful entrepreneurs stay sufficiently engaged to know exactly what’s going and avoid surprises

Delegating is mandatory if you want to grow your enterprise. It frees you to rise above and plan for the future. Just remember though, delegate not abdicate.

You may also enjoy Delegating is easier than you think

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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SBM #55 – Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The economy is humming along and your sales are doing just fine. As a matter of fact, things are actually pretty good. That’s why this is exactly the time you should heed that famous Boy Scout motto to “Always be Prepared”. Great advice, but be prepared for what?

Every seven years

On average, there is an economic downturn of some sorts every seven years. Sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little sooner, but seven years on average. Yet when they do happen, most owners seem to get caught totally off guard.

A slowdown, a recession, a depression, each one a little more serious than the other and each one can hurt your business. The trick to minimizing it’s impact, is to do a quick walkaround of your business. Much like every pilot does before takeoff. Why? Because when business is reasonably good, we tend to get a little too comfortable and take our eye off the some of the details.

We stop paying attention to the regular everyday expenses like the wireless phone bills, the internet or the various insurances policies. Or maybe we’ve let our receivables stretch out a little longer than we used to. What about overtime? Is anybody paying attention to it? Is it justified?

What would you cut?

What would happen if your revenue dropped by 20% -30% tomorrow? What expenses would you need to cut? How quickly could you do so? Most individuals can’t answer these questions because they just don’t know.

Making time now to review all your expenses is time well spent. It allows to rationally think things through, instead of being in crisis mode. Doing so now gives you time to explore all the alternatives available to you. For instance, can you use the postal service instead or a courier service? Does that package really need to get there the next day? Can you email invoices instead of mailing them?

If you have delivery or company vehicles, are you getting discounts on fuel by using a corporate fuel card? These cards give you a discount on every litre or gallon of fuel purchased. Over the course of the year this can really add up. If you haven’t been using them, now is the time to get them. Just remember, it’s easier to get credit when things are good?

No one noticed

One of the things I did when I first started out and continued with each startup, was to avoid lunch meetings. By scheduling client meetings before or after lunch, I avoided having to buy a prospective client lunch that I could ill afford. Later on, I would enforce this practice with my staff every time the economy took a downturn. It was easy to do and no one ever noticed. When things got better, we would selectively reinstate lunches.

Are you ready?

Using this kind of benchmark helps you focus on those extraneous expenses that have quietly crept into your business over the past few years. When, not if, a downturn comes, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to generate new business and cut expenses at the same. Doing it now, let’s you answer the question of – Are You Ready?, with a resounding yes!

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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