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Keeping the Right People

You have put a lot of time and energy by this point into creating a fantastic team. At company functions, you look around and feel pride in the group that has decided to throw their lot in with yours. Sure, some are more dedicated than others, and you can see that some will move onto other things, you have a team of great people with a strong sense of purpose that will really take your company to new heights. What can you do to continue to strengthen, support and build the team?

Inspiring and Supporting Your Employees

The management tools you have used so far will build a powerful framework around which to construct your business. By themselves, however, they are nothing more than a wonderful collection of ideas. They are no more alive than concrete and steel. It’s people who give life to your business.

In an outstanding business, the entire staff feels a sense of ownership for the business. When they speak about the company they work for, they refer to it as “our company.” The company isn’t having its best year ever, “We’re having our best year ever.” The company isn’t coming out with a new product line, “We’re coming out with a new product line.”

Systems and contracts will help to ensure what needs to get done gets done, but an inspired and motivated staff can bring a company to a new level. Of course, talk is cheap and none of this is easy, but the rewards of a highly motivated staff are clearly worth the effort.

Most people want to do a good job, to take pride in their work. Clear and effective systems offer that to people. Having systems in place also lets people know that you’re not just flying by the seat of your pants. It lets them know “This business takes its responsibilities seriously” and reassures them they won’t be out of a job tomorrow because the owner hasn’t done his homework. That’s an important message to send if you’re looking for quality people who are looking for long-term work.

Put the Right People in the Right Positions

In his book 'Good to Great' Jim Collins makes the comparison between your company and a bus. You are the bus driver, and it's your job to get the bus moving. Before you go anywhere, you will need to decide where it is you want to go, how you will get there and who will be making the trip with you.

Having the best people in the appropriate positions on the bus is going to have an incredible impact on the course of your journey.

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is keeping the wrong people in the wrong positions, and sometimes the mistake is keeping them at all. Poor performers are always going to bring down your top performers. In fact, one poor performer will often drain an entire team or organization of motivation. Your top performers need to be in an environment that pushes and motivates them to achieve more. They will become demoralized if they feel as though there are team members not pulling their own weight. If one team member shows up for meetings habitually late, or consistently does not hit their sales targets, the rest of the team will get the message that it's not important for them to show up on time, or to hit targets. No amount of compensation will be enough to make up for this with your top performers. When you discover that one of your employees is not going to be able to meet performance objectives, it's time to look very seriously at moving him or her to another position. Or in some situations, when the problem has more to do with attitude than aptitude, they may need to be moved out of your business entirely.

school bus

Assign People to Positions

Take a good look at your employees.

  • What are their individual strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are their dreams and goals?
  • How well do they suit their current positions?
  • How happy are they in their current positions?
  • How well do they suit your company?
  • Could they be better utilized some place else?

For some owners, these are scary questions to ask. Especially if the answer is that some of their employees don’t really belong in the business at all. But no matter how scary these questions are, the alternative to asking them is even scarier.

The alternative is denial, and denial leads to diminished value.

If you’ve got the best people for the job, wonderful, but if you’ve got anyone who doesn’t fit the job, you need to consider that as well. Don’t get caught up trying to build your business around your employees. Your business has to come first because in the end, if your business dies, everyone loses, including you.

On the form below, fill in any of your employees that are, or might be, appropriate for each position (including yourself). Don’t just fill someone’s name in because they already occupy that position. Their name should only go down if they are truly the best person for the job. Also, keep in mind that even though an employee was hired to do a job, they may have the ability/personality for a different job and where they'd thrive in comparison to their current position.

It's possible things will stay as they are, but it's equally possible that you’ll need to shuffle or even replace some of the people on your staff. If you're not sure about a position, leave it blank for now.

PositionGeneral AccountabilitiesName
Sales ClerkCustomer engagement, sales transactions, followupBob Smith

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