The Boss has the “Jig Saw Puzzle Box Top”, others do not!

In this organization, the challenge was a lack of efficiency, as The Boss tried to get all managers to work together.  The departments were all siloed working as independent units not worrying about the other departments or how they fit into the overall strategy.  In past newsletters, we identified “IOP’s” (individual operating procedures) versus “SOP’s” (standard operating procedures) done by individual employees.  In this case, the IOP was done by the various departments.  Each department would take care of their own business and not worry about how their output would affect the other departments.  The efficiencies were lagging due to poor input from one department to another.  The department managers could not see how they fit into the big picture; they were not shown the picture on the “Jig Saw Puzzle Box Top”. The initial problem was various department managers had no clue how the pieces they were creating would fit together to create a cohesive business model.  This created several challenges for the organization.  I asked the managers to recite the organization’s Mission Statement.  I heard crickets chirping in the distance!  Not one of the department heads could tell me what their company mission was, and The Boss could […]

Hey Boss, Adapt And Be Profitable…

I met with The Boss today and discussed the challenges businesses are facing with their workforce and what to do about it.  We talked about how the economic conditions of the early 2000’s forced business to reinvent and adapt their business models back then.  We remembered when The Boss had to change the business model again when customers forced businesses to create an on-line presence and sell using the web.  Today, our workforce has challenged businesses to change and adapt the business model. The Boss is realizing the younger workforce of today has different values and expectations verses the older workforce of yesteryear. Back in the day, when us older folk first got into business, the workforce we managed came to work Monday through Friday and put in the normal 40-hour work week, had a cubical or desk, and if they were senior associates, had the weekends off.  Today The Boss must manage a workforce, which is made up of several generations, each of which has quite different opinions and attitudes about work life balance and what accountability should look like. The main discussion revolved around, not having enough people to field a workforce team!  Today, The Boss must employ […]

The best run businesses have leaders who understand the languages used within the organization.

I was working in a business that was having efficiency challenges, I requested the managers of the various departments meet to discuss potential solutions. We had people from finance, production, sales, customer service, human resources, and the service department in a room and The Boss began the meeting by defining our goals and asking for their full participation. I come into a business without emotional connections and without a silver bullet or magic wand. The solutions are most often found within the business, offered up by the organization’s employees. It did not take long before The Boss and I noticed many of the managers did not understand their peers. I studied the situation briefly and realized that each department was speaking a different language. The finance manager using “accounting speak”, production was using words that the human resource manager did not understand. The customer service manager and the sales manager thought they knew what each other were trying to explain, but after the exchange of several questions, they soon realized they were not on the same page. The service manager was not talking at all, when asked why not, he said he didn’t understand what was being said so he […]

Guident Newsletter – March 2017 – Issue 10

How do you build loyalty in your organization?  One morning Jake came into my office.  He sat down and with a serious look on his face said, “Gary you’re going to have to fire me.”  Of course, “I asked why?”  We had just purchased the company and when you do that you get, “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of the old company.  Jake was definitely part of the good.  He was a certified welder, trained in the military, and a genuinely nice guy. He said that he would not be able to pass the drug test.  We did pre-employment drug testing but did not do it for employees who came into our company through acquisition.  We did do random drug testing and Jake was certain when his number came up he would not pass.  I asked him, “Do you want to leave the company?”  He emphatically said no, but what were his choices.   He knew that everyone was subject to the random drug testing, even the owners, so he was certain we would not make exceptions.  He was right. But in my mind, we did have some options if Jake was willing to comply with certain rules.  […]

Guident Newsletter – Issue 3

People and Aluminum are different, Go Figure! A few years ago I was coaching an owner of a fabrication business.  He is one of the smartest people I know, and a very talented fabricator of aluminum products.  I watched as he created precision bends and welds on the materials he used in his trade.  He had a very good business but he did have a challenge with keeping good people.  I was hired to help him understand why he had such high turnover rates, which as you know costs organizations time and money. One day I witnessed him speaking harshly to an employee.  After the fact we talked about what spurred his emotions with that individual.  In fact, I was told by other employees of the firm that this type of behavior from “The Boss” was common place and was one of the main reasons people left the company.  The owner explained how frustrated he was that he had to tell his people again and again before they understood what he wanted on the fabrication floor. I asked him to bring me a piece of scrap aluminum, which he did.  It was approximately a foot by a foot square.  I […]

Guident Newsletter – Issue 1

Employment-At-Will Status “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” -Samuel Goldwyn An “Employment-At-Will” statement helps your employees and anyone outside of your organization understand that employment with your company is voluntarily entered into by both the employee and the company. Employees are free to resign at any time and the company may terminate any employee at any time, with or without cause. That does not pertain if your company has a union contract and you are operating under that contract. It is important to establish this understanding within your organization’s employee handbook. Some organizations will use the term “employee handbook” and others will will use the term “employee manual.” I prefer the term “employee handbook” because in some instances the courts have tried to argue the term “manual” relates to having a contract. It will be important for your employees to understand that policies found within your company’s employee handbook are not intended to create a contract. Ensure they understand by beginning your employee handbook with your Employment-At-Will statement and by putting in writing that policies found within the employee handbook are not to be construed as a contractual obligation of any kind or to create a […]