I’ve mentioned in this series that most CEO’s don’t do well with “subtleties”. We’re also not good with innuendos, double entendres or reading between the lines. As a result we very likely won’t respond to (or even recognize) suggestions on our leadership performance when they’re disguised as polite little “burps discreetly hidden in napkins”. It usually takes a full blown “belch-the-entire-alphabet-in-one-breath” recital to get our attention! BUT by then it’s often too late!
By asking yourself yet another “uncomfortable question” you can avoid a lot of emotional agony and financial pain. NOTE: My first two questions were 1) How do my employees feel about working at my company? and 2) How is my company performing financially? So our third penetrating question is…
3) Are the people in my company growing? Are your people getting better at their jobs? Are they the kind of employees you’d gladly recruit away from another company? Are other companies trying to recruit your workers away from you? (They should be!)
One of a CEO’s main responsibilities is to “grow their people”. This doesn’t mean the CEO has to do all the training. But it IS their job to see that their people are growing. (Not just front line technicians but everyone throughout the organization.) As the company grows and the skill sets of those in supervisory positions become more sophisticated this continued development becomes more difficult. Often the technical skills required for positions like accounting, sales, administration, and HR are well beyond those of the CEO. So outside training resources are needed. And guess what- this costs money!
The challenge? Too many business owners worry that if they invest in their people they will then quit. And all that expensive training will go out the door with them! But as my SFS colleague, Bill Yeadon, likes to say “What is even worse is if you don’t train them and they stay!”
Can you imagine explaining that philosophy to your customer? “Mrs. Jones, you’ll be pleased to know that our employee retention program is based on investing absolutely nothing in employee training. This way they don’t know enough to leave us and even better- no other employer will want them”. Talk about instilling confidence in your clients!
Here’s the deal. “A Player” employees (The “cream of the crop”) want to work with other “A” employees because they challenge each other to be better at their jobs. When there are no other “A” employees in the company and/or they’re forced to work with “B” and “C” employees, A Players will eventually leave.
In contrast, “B” employees prefer working with “C” employees. This way the “B’s” don’t feel threatened by the “C’s”. However, they’re also not motivated to get better at their jobs which inevitably leads to a downward spiral of employee competence. Then rather than the CEO planning the company’s future his or her time and energy are consumed trying to make sure these loser “B” and “C” employees are doing their jobs.
Listen carefully here: Every company is only as good as the people who work for it! (And this is especially true in the cleaning and restoration industry where all we have to “sell” is our people!) If you are struggling with growing your company you probably don’t have the right workers on board! (Or you’re not “growing your employees” by developing their skills.)
Taking this premise one step further reveals that the employees in a small company are usually a reflection of the CEO. So if you’re not happy with the performance of your staff then take a look at the person who’s ultimately responsible for hiring AND growing great employees! Now who could that be? Hmmm…