Guident Newsletter – November 2018 – Issue 30

How do I begin to change from an “enablement” culture to an “accountability” culture? In past newsletters, I have written about the challenges facing business owners when they have an “enablement” culture versus an “accountability” culture.  Recently I began working with The Boss to change a company’s enablement culture to an accountability culture. I asked the six supervisors in this organization to list the eight most critical job duties of each of their direct reports.  Then I asked the employees of these supervisors to list what they thought their eight most critical job duties were. In the next step, we compared what the supervisors identified as critical and what their employees reported as their most critical.  In most cases, the supervisors and direct reports were in-line on about five or six of the most critical job duties. This left us with an opportunity to improve efficiencies and workflow. Efficiencies can be gained when employees understand what The Boss sees as most critical to the company’s success and in turn their success.  The other duties listed by employees, but not seen as most critical by The Boss, were taking valuable time away from the truly critical duties necessary for the organization […]

Guident Newsletter – July 2018 – Issue 26

Think of your business as a spider web Are you considering writing a strategic plan for your business?  When you do, think of your strategic plan using a spider web model, begin with these key areas in mind; management, production, marketing, human resources, finance, sales, and purchasing.  Each of these seven areas acts as anchor points of the spider web. When one of these areas is doing poorly, the others are affected, like pinging one side of a spider web and watching the opposite side vibrate.  To demonstrate I explain when sales are low, financials in the form of cash flow are affected. When HR has to lower the staff count due to cash flow issues, then production is affected. When purchasing is out of sync with the rest of the company, then production and financials can be affected.  You get the picture. If this seems familiar and is happening to your organization, then changes are in order.  Begin your process by evaluating each of these seven areas to determine which area is strong and which area is a weak link within your business.  Most often the financials are a weak link and your first target for change. I cannot […]

Guident Newsletter – June 2018 – Issue 25

Release that stranglehold you have on your company. Most often when I am contracted to come into a business it is because The Boss has asked me to help solve a problem that has The Boss stumped. During one of my first conversations with The Boss, I usually state that the solutions are often found within the organization. I am most often told, “Not in my business, I have looked everywhere for the cause of the problem and I can’t find it.” It has been my experience that it doesn’t take long for someone from outside the organization with a fresh set of eyes to identify the issue(s). In a recent client call, I had to confront The Boss and say, “That stranglehold you have around the throat of your business is the issue!” The Boss looks at me with a bewildered look and then says, “What the heck are you talking about?” I am talking about the stranglehold The Boss has on the talent in the business, the smart knowledgeable people who know the issues and know some of the solutions but are not able to act because The Boss wants to control everything. The Boss has a stranglehold, […]

Guident Newsletter – October 2017 – Issue 17

Culture: Enablement or Accountability? The business owner, “The Boss”, establishes the culture in an organization.  It can be a culture of enablement or a culture of accountability. Often when I am asked to help with a company I discover the culture is one of enablement.  Even worse The Boss is the worst enabler of them all.   Enablement hurts productivity, causes safety issues, and undermines company morale.  Here is an example that drives the lesson home. I was working in my office one day and I got a call from Dave, he was our area OSHA representative whom I knew well.  It is important to get to know these people before they show up at your door for an official visit. I knew Dave from some volunteer work we did together for the area YMCA. He was a good guy and we were on a first name basis.  Well, he called me to tell me he was sitting in his office looking out the window and he saw one of my service technicians working in the bucket truck fixing a lighting fixture.  He said the technician had his lanyard hooked to his belt, not the bucket.  Of course, this was an […]

Guident Newsletter – June 2017 – Issue 13

Does your company have a seat at the table? For many years I have seen owners of small to mid-size businesses manage their companies like they were one of their children or dependents.  Then when things go awry they call people like me for help.  My advice to them is to “corporatize” their companies. I often see business owners who think of themselves and their businesses as one entity.  These owners act as if the business could not function without them; they feel as if they are the lifeline to the organization.  This is almost always not the case.  Any company which is to be sustainable must not be dependent on any one individual, no matter how important that position is within the organization. To demonstrate this I often pull a chair up to the table where we are working and ask the owner to imagine that the business is occupying that chair.  As you can imagine they look at me as if I’ve lost it!  I ask them if they can personally fund the next payroll.  They usually say, “well no”.  I tell them that the company can and does.  I ask them if they can make rent, make the […]

Guident Newsletter – December 2016 – Issue 7

Are you leading your organization to its full potential? Often I am asked to facilitate “Leadership Seminars” for managers of organizations.  One of the best books I have found for training managers in leadership is; The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell, ISBN 0-07-141861-X.  In his book Colin Powell introduces the reader to his twelve leadership secrets.  One of his leadership secrets is; “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off”. In my career, I have bought businesses and in doing so, I have had to change cultures and assess the full potential of new employees who joined our team through the acquisitions.  One such employee was Mary (of course, Mary is not her real name).  The company culture prior to the acquisition put a high value on the quantity of work an employee put out, not necessarily the quality of work.  Mary had been with the previous owner for many years and was a valued employee because she did a lot of different tasks in the office.  So many tasks that Mary was unable to do a majority of them accurately, but Mary’s “Old Boss” rewarded her and other employees based on their volume of work. The new culture I wanted […]

Mission Statement

One of the first things a company should do is to develop a mission statement.  People often confuse a mission statement with a vision statement.  A vision statement sets the future goals of a company, while the mission statement guides how these goals will be achieved – the strategic decision making.  The mission statement tells the company’s reason for existing. Your company’s mission statement should reflect your company’s values, attitudes and beliefs, which should reflect your personal values, attitudes and beliefs.  To help you develop your mission statement, you should answer the following questions What is our business? Why do we exist? What are we trying to accomplish? Having a mission statement will give your employees (and people that you deal with outside the organization) common goals.  It will help guide employees in how to perform their jobs, how to treat customer and how to represent the company.  Without a mission statement, you may find that your employees will begin to operate by their own personal attitudes and beliefs, which may not be the same as yours.  Whether we realize it or not, we all have our own personal mission statements. The length of the mission statement will vary from […]