Getting on the bus and making sure your in the right seat

Cameron Herold talks about some business strategies to improve the performance of your company in his book “Double Double.”  I first heard about him on Jordan Harbinger’s podcast called “The Art of Charm.”

The basis for his ideas about business came from his experiences with other jobs that he had as he was learning about how to succeed in business.  I want to take a few minutes to convey this to you as it is worth repeating.

Semi-Annual Employee PlotCameron explains that it is critical to have the right people in your organization and it is critical to have them in the right positions.  The chart above is a tool that you can use to figure out what to do with your employees.  By making the necessary changes, you can increase the profits in your company drastically.  I’ll break down the concept below.

Low Values/Low Productivity

These employees just cost your company more than they are worth.  They cause other employees to be less effective in lost productivity from either covering the poor employees tasks or frustration over the poor employees work and pay.  The low value low productivity employee is not helping the company in any way.  You would have better success divvying out their responsibilities to other employees and giving them a raise.  While letting this employee go, you don’t have to be a jerk.  Kindly let them know that it just isn’t working out.  You may be doing them a favor.

Low Values/High Productivity

I’ve heard this dozens of times from Owners, Supervisors and Managers.  I would like to get rid of “Joe,” but he is my most productive employee.  Joe frustrates me because he doesn’t follow protocol or Joe does what he wants.  What employers don’t realize is that Joe is costing the company 5 times his salary in lost productivity, lost business, lost potential new employees and lost opportunities.  While the high producing employee is doing a good job, other employees are not producing at their peak.  They will lose productivity spending time discussing Joe, his performance, and why the company lets Joe get away with anything and everything.  When you have an employee like Joe, there are potential customers that will not do business with you because they know Joe works there.  Just like potential customers won’t do business with you, potential employees won’t be attracted to your company to work there.  The law of attraction is very powerful when you have good and bad employees.  Lastly, your company will miss out on opportunities to grow the business because Joe will stagnate fresh new ideas for growth from your employees.  Instead of thinking about how to make the company better, they are focusing on how can they make it through the day working with Joe.

I worked with Joe once and here’s what my experiences were.  Joe was a supervisor in one of our shops and he had about 15 guys working for him.  So he was not only a guy with poor values, but he was also an influencer among his guys.  The company had lots of injuries on the job and our Workers’ Compensation Modification Rate was growing.  One of my jobs was to change that.  Joe wouldn’t wear his safety glasses in the shop.  If fact, it became a game to Joe as he would purposely remove them when I came around.  As a result of Joe’s actions, I was frustrated and spent a lot of company time and money trying to figure out how to make Joe comply.  We wrote policies, made penalties for failure to comply, etc., but nothing worked.  You see, I learned from Joe that the company valued him, more than they valued me.  He was a high producing employee and that was the most valuable trait in that company.  I was just the guy paid to take the fall if OSHA showed up or the insurance company wanted to do an inspection.

My battles with Joe raged on for 4 years.  I finally had enough and left the company to find a better, less stressful, more peaceful job to do.  Of course I maintained contact with the company and followed Joe’s actions from afar.  What the company owners learned after I left was that Joe was stealing from the company and performing work during his off time to pad his pockets.  I also learned that Joe was chasing off good quality employees who had a conscience and saw what he was up to.  The management only saw Joe’s productivity.  They didn’t see how his attitude affected the organization as a whole and how Joe brought down their people, their products, their profits and their potential.  Joe is gone now from that company and they are doing well, but so am I and others too.  Don’t let Joe rob your company.  Figure out how to duplicate Joe’s skills, abilities, tasks, and let Joe go.

High Values/Low Productivity

Cameron explained that the natural reaction is to provide more training to the employee.  In his experiences, this is the easy choice, but not always the best.  Employees with high values who are not performing well are probably in the wrong position.  You would spend less money and get faster results if you analyzed the employee to find a better position for them in your company.  Chances are that you hired them because you liked their values and thought they aren’t perfect for the job, but you can train them to do the job and they’ll succeed.  The overarching problem is that they will try to do a good job, but their heart just isn’t in it.  They have to motivate themselves to do the job and sometimes, they just can’t muster the energy to do it.

I had a direct sales job for 2 years.  The hardest task was prospecting new clients.  I hated that task, but that task was the single most important task that I could do to generate revenue for myself and my company.  I would psyche myself up every day when it was time to do that job.  Some days I won and some day’s the prospects won.  The salesmen that produced the best results were the ones that excelled at prospecting and when you had conversations with them, you could tell that they loved to do that.

I’ve had other employees that have worked for me that were good at tasks that no one else liked to do.  When they moved on to other opportunities and I had to hire a replacement, I found it difficult at times to find someone who loved to do the same tasks.  Once I did, the magic happened and I didn’t have to spend a lot of time pushing them to do their jobs.  John Maxwell has said that you hire for your weaknesses and perform for your strengths.  That idea speaks to getting the right people on the bus and into the right positions.

High Values / High productivity

When you find someone in your organization that is a high producer and they have high values, you need to handcuff them to your organization for the next 5 years so that other companies don’t hire them away from yours.  These employees will take your company far into the future and it’s in your best interest to figure out how to keep them bought into your vision and the vision of the company.  Incentivize their employment with the company so they have much to lose if they chose to leave.

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Culture

The last ideal that I want to leave you with is what is the culture of your organization or what is the pulse.  Your people create your culture and having negativism in your ranks dilutes the culture of your organization from what it was when you started it.  If you are the CEO hired to run the organization, then it’s up to you to mold the culture into what you want it to be.  Hire the right people, fire the wrong ones, and move the ones that aren’t in the right positions.

 

Getting rid of the parasites

 

There are so many parasitic problems in life today and those parasites drain people of their ability to perform everywhere.  In my opinion, distractions are the biggest drain to productivity.  When I was first entering the work force, I didn’t have computers, cell phones, access to everyone I know and people I don’t know at the touch of a finger.  In essence, I could only be distracted by my immediate environment and by whatever was going on in my head.  I had the ability and the expectation that I would go to work for 8 or more hours, work hard, and return home before I had to check in with someone who would expect me to share what my experiences were for that time I was gone.  While I was working, I produced what was expected of me so I could keep my job and I only had to interact with fellow employees who worked in my department.

Fast forward to today and we have the world at our fingertips and our schedules in the hands of anyone with a smart phone, computer or email address.  Be honest, you know this has happened to you.  You had a plan of the tasks you needed to accomplish for the day, showed up at work, opened your email and Bam you were off to the races responding to all the emails you got while you were at home.  Or worse than that, you have your smart phone connected to your work email so you can respond to work related crisis while you are supposed to be at home relaxing and enjoying your time with your family.  The reason we are not getting our work done or accomplished is that we are allowing distractions and people to insert themselves into our schedules and we aren’t blocking out time to respond to their requests at a time that we chose.  These distractions are like parasites that attach themselves to our life and suck everything that is good out of us until we are overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it.  It’s time to take control of the distractions and kill the parasites that are draining us of our ability to get the job done.

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Here are some steps you can take to take back control.

  1. Block out time in your day to read emails after you have accomplished #1 and #2 on your “To Do” list.
  2. Turn on your auto responders letting people know that you respond to emails at “x” time daily.
  3. Take 1 hour per week to unsubscribe to spam or unwanted emails or send them to your spam folder automatically
  4. Turn off notifications on your phone from sources like Facebook, email servers, text messages, etc.
  5. Tell your friends and loved ones that you don’t respond to text messages and emails while at work.  If it is really important, they need to call.

Communicating with family and friends is important; however, good communication is best in person or over the phone.  Texting and emailing loses the emphasis and body language that you get from voice inflections and face to face conversations.  Just think of the good conversations you can have with your family if you wait to talk to them when you see them.

You’ll excel at work because you’ll be more productive than your peers who let the distractions keep them from getting their best work done.  Also, you’ll be able to leave your work at work and enjoy your time with family.