Many people are so busy every day that they end up overlooking two key aspects of continued success:
- They work too much IN their business and don’t spend enough time working ON their business.
- They don’t take the time to show enough gratitude.
Today we will focus on the latter.
When the topic comes up in conversation, many people I talk to tell me they don’t show enough gratitude. They frequently say, “I really should thank people more often.” I always agree.
No one has achieved any level of success without the help and support of others. Everyone owes thanks to someone. Maybe it’s one of your key supporting employees – someone who’s not normally in the spotlight but is loyal, dedicated, and does a great job. Maybe it’s your spouse or significant other. Perhaps it’s the person who serves you a coffee each day and always seems to be happy and helpful. It could be a former teacher who inspired you or someone who helped you when you were down.
Every Friday for the past two years I’ve had a recurring entry in my calendar labelled, “Gratitude”. The entry is to remind me to send someone a note to thank them for something they’ve done. The recurring calendar entry helps me keep “Expressing gratitude” top of mind so that I don’t forget when life gets busy.
It’s important that we take the time to thank those who have helped us or who demonstrate a great attitude. There are so many unsung heroes out there. I encourage you to make it a regular habit. Leave yourself a reminder if need be. I guarantee you will make their day.
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Business Growth Experts
Graham Acreman, President | Stellacon Business Solutions
Successful businesses are always evolving. Sometimes the evolutions are in their core offering. Sometimes it’s in the technology they use, or in the way they sell or even deliver their service. Just like companies, roles within companies evolve too. It’s essential for a business leader to be regularly assessing the skill sets and core competencies required in each role for employees to be successful. This is essential if you want to build a strong team.
One firm I worked with saw a dramatic shift in the skill sets required of their customer service team. The shift occurred when they implemented a new computer system. Whereas the primary requirement for the customer service role used to be someone who had great customer service skills, the primary requirement evolved to them needing to have great technical skills first and customer service skills second. They still needed to be good at customer service but first and foremost they needed to have a technical mindset. Some employees were able to make a seamless transition while others required extensive training. Though most were able to learn the new skills ultimately, some just did not have the technical aptitude. Keep in mind, these were employees who were great in the “Old” role but could not adapt to the “New” role. It didn’t make them a bad employee but it did make them unsuitable for the existing role.
The guidance I would give clients that I work with is that they need to assess the skill sets and competencies that are required in each role for the employees to be successful. They should review these annually and then evaluate their employees against this criteria. Where there are short-falls there should be a formal training plan established in order to help bridge the gaps. If an employee is successfully able to bridge the gap then you have a wonderful success. If not, then you need to consider whether they might be better suited in another role within your company or explore separation.
The reality is, if an employee is not well matched for their job, you’re likely not happy with their performance and they’re not likely happy either because they know they are struggling. As a business leader it’s your responsibility to help each member of your team to be successful and to make changes when necessary.
Peter, the owner and President of a local moving company, had an issue. New sales were steady and customer retention was good but the company’s bottom line was slowly declining. Month after month. Everyone in the company appeared to be working hard. The team was focused on looking after their customers. So why were profits in decline?
Discussions with Peter revealed that he had been running his business for twenty years. He had many interests outside the company and had been attempting to step away from day-to-day involvement with the business. Ultimately, we wanted his management team to run the business. To this end, six months ago he had promoted Fred into the role of Operations Manager. Fred was Peter’s best driver and a model employee. Peter figured that if everyone could be like Fred then the company would do well.
In meeting Fred, it was apparent that he cared about the company. His stated focus was on looking after his customers and making sure everyone was happy. While these were noble goals, they were only part of his overall responsibility. The reality was that operations were loose. Specifically, labour force costs were not being well managed. The real issue? Fred was unaware of the impact that he could have on the company’s financial performance.
This wasn’t Fred’s fault though – he was focusing on what he knew and what was important to him. He had never been trained on why it was necessary to keep tight controls on his labour costs and more importantly, how to do so.
This scenario is not unique and happens every day. Regretfully, it can kill a company quickly if it’s not identified and fixed. Fortunately, the missing skills in this case are all teachable skills. Proper coaching together with regular, structured follow up was ultimately the successful solution for Fred and Peter.
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