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Brave enough to “belch at the table”? – Part 4

personal-growth-means-business-growthSo here we are with Part 4 of my “Belching at the Table” series! Truth is I’m just a bad-mannered lout at heart but it is for your own good! Your challenge as the owner manager of you cleaning/restoration company is too often you don’t focus on… YOU! (And your leadership failings!) And since too often our employee’s lack the courage to loudly “belch at our table” and frankly counsel us on our managerial shortcoming so the problems continue.

Here is your challenge: As CEO’s we are quick to recognize stalled sales growth or shrinking profit margins in our business. (Remember I’m all for taking quick action on financial problems!) But too often we fail to recognize that the real reason for financial issues is our OWN stalled professional growth.

Warning to business owners/managers: Further reading of this article may lead to serious embarrassment and/or the shattering of your carefully constructed illusions about your managerial skills! You’ve been warned!

Up till now we’ve considered (in excruciating detail) three of my four “Penetrating Personal Questions”:

1) How do my employees feel about working at my company? Honestly?

2) How is my company performing financially?

3) Are the people in my company growing? 

So are you feeling a bit flushed? Maybe a bit uncomfortable or even threatened? If so, great? (Remember I warned you!) So this brings us to the fourth “Penetrating Question” you as a CEO need to ask in your quest for Personal Accountability.

4) How much am I as the CEO growing? Are you continuing to develop your own skills to help you keep up with an ever changing workplace? OR have you started to coast? Maybe subconsciously thinking since you’re the BOSS who is going to challenge you? (Much less “loudly belch at YOUR table”!) If so, you are not alone. Many CEO’s “retire” from their professional growth long before they finally grudgingly decide to step down.

Since cleaning and restoration businesses generally grow at the pace their owners grow when the company’s growth begins to wane it frequently can be blamed on the lack of the owner’s professional growth. When a business has problems the owner’s having emotionally and mentally checked out is almost always the culprit. (No matter how much the owner blames external influences such as competitors, the bad economy or tough markets!) For example…

If you aren’t attracting good employees it may be due in part to low unemployment in your local market. (Just please don’t hit me with the old, “Nobody wants to work anymore!” Seriously?) However, poor employees are usually due to A) the CEO’s not knowing how to attract and recruit qualified workers. OR B) not knowing how to how to select great employees when they do attract them. OR it simply could be C) the owner’s company isn’t the kind of workplace that attracts (and keeps) high quality people.

Remember that having an unattractive place to work has nothing to do with the products or services you deliver. (And yes, I well know that our cleaning and restoration industry is not a “high prestige” workplace!) But there are many companies that produce what many people would consider unsavory products and services and yet they attract fanatically loyal, quality employees! So what’s your problem? (Remember I warned you that this would be “uncomfortable reading”!)

Could it be the culture you have allowed to permeate your company? Or could this lack of growth be due to the lack of “growth opportunities” your company provides to its people?

Selecting the right people for your business and creating a great “inspired workplace” aren’t skills people are born with. Rather, these are skills you can learn. The same can be said for financial analysis, communication skills, conflict resolution, thinking strategically, or working with managers. At Violand Management Associates we use a neat CEO skill development form called an Executive Development Planner. Write me at cvioland@violand.com and I’ll email you a free copy.

Entrepreneurs don’t usually start their companies with the dream of being the CEO of a large business. More often than not they just end up there- sort of like a dog chasing a car. Once the dog “catches the car” they’re not really sure what to do with it! In fact, the dog has to admit “the chase was a lot more fun than the catch”! This same problem often leaves a company founder feeling lonely, overwhelmed and out of control of the very company they started! In my final Part 5 of this series we’ll learn how to overcome these feelings and tricks to avoid a few CEO pitfalls along the way!

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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