Leading your Cleaning/Restoration Business- Part II

Lately I’ve been focusing on developing your people using some thoughts from business expert Larry Bossidy.  (He has written two great books which I recommend highly: Execution and Confronting Reality.) In my last post we discussed encouraging your people to use their own initiative by how you respond to their suggestions.

NOTE: If you missed Part I on Leading your Cleaning/Restoration Business then please read it now.

But even with “engaged” employees you also want to constantly monitor whether they are growing in their career and your business.

Pushing and Pulling.

So do you feel like you’re “pulling” your people along as your company grows? OR are they “pushing” you forward? If you feel like you are constantly dragging a heavy object (your employee) along the ground maybe you’re not giving them growth opportunities. OR maybe you’ve simply got the wrong people on board. This happens and here’s why…

Too many times we subconsciously sabotage ourselves by hiring marginal employees who won’t threaten us by pushing us out of our comfort zones. We tell ourselves, “Anybody who’s any good is already working. All that’s left is the bottom of the barrel.”

But the reality is that too often we’re simply not willing to make the changes in our business (or ourselves!) to attract great employees who will drive our companies forward. It’s easier to complain about not being able to find good people. Or even worse to continue playing unproductive cat-and-mouse games with our non-performing employees.

Measuring the Bottom Line.

I agree with Larry’s comment, “You won’t remember when you retire what you did in the first quarter or the third.” Now, before you accuse me of getting soft in my old age, please hear me out on this one.

I interpret Larry’s point as meaning it’s easy to place an overemphasis on the short-term financial performance of your company. If you focus ONLY on your financial performance instead of developing your workers it won’t work out long term. After all, it’s your employees who produce your financial performance. You cannot sustain great financial performance long-term AND short-change your people at the same time.

As I’ve stated many times before “your company will grow at the rate your people grow”! And as Steve Toburen states in our SFS seminar, “Your people are a reflection of you”! So go ahead. You tell me how much your people have grown from year to year and I’ll let you know how effective you have been as a leader.

Recently one of my clients had one of their key managers announce he would be leaving their organization later this year. Why? Because he’s going to follow through on his life-long dream of opening his own restaurant. He thanked my client for helping him develop his business and leadership skills to where he feels confident to set out on his own. Hmmm…

It is hard to congratulate someone for a job well done when they’re losing a key executive and a close friend. At the same time I commended my client’s achievement in one of his key responsibilities as the leader of his organization… developing his people. Talk about a two-edged sword!

So once again- at the end of your career you won’t remember how much money you made from one year to the next. But you will remember the impact you had on people’s careers—good and bad—when you run into them at your local grocery store OR at their very own restaurant.  (Heck, your ex-employee restaurant entrepreneur will probably buy your dinner while they proudly serve you personally!)

You’ll know how you did as a leader when you read about your employee’s accomplishments in your local newspaper. Then when you watch them pass along your leadership lessons to the people they’re now leading you’ll feel pretty darn good about yourself ! And this is “PRICELESS”!

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

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