Business Observations, 2013

Business owners and leaders often stray too close to a situation to see the entire picture.  One of the responsibilities as a Trusted Advisor is to observe what is happening from a vantage point to provide a fresh perspective to clients that may not be otherwise noticed.

As the year comes to a close, here are 21 thoughts that may help you run a better organization in the New Year, gleaned from my weekly columns.

Setting an example is the first role, responsibility and obligation of everyone in management.

Organizations succeed or fail based on the people who are in management. Success is almost guaranteed with the best managers; failure almost certain if managers are weak.

Underperforming employees are often kept on the payroll because top performers are often seen as a threat to mediocre managers.

Want to retain good people? Show mediocre people how to improve or show them the door.

If a business isn’t making a profit, those in management need to only look in the mirror.

Keeping a good client is a lot easier than trying to land a new one.

Whining and complaining is not a professional way of communicating. Some may say that this is a generational issue. I believe that if the employees are doing it, chances are they learned it from those in charge.

If hiring is so important, why don’t managers spend more time improving how they do it?

Every employee needs regular and authentic performance appraisals. Too many in management are afraid to give them.

Many managers don’t manage. Instead, they perform a higher technical level than their subordinates. That is not managing and it leads directly to employee disengagement.

If managers knew how they could positively financially impact a company, they would do so. Unfortunately, sharing appropriate financial information doesn’t happen as often as it could.

Continuing education is essential for every employee; it is an investment. What is learned is not a waste when it is encouraged to be applied on the job.

There are far more disengaged employees in every organization than management is willing to admit. Some of the most disengaged are managers.

Every organization has “A” clients yet they are often taken for granted. Many resources are invested in clients where a positive return won’t ever occur.

Many companies don’t have a written annual plan. Even with a plan, most organizations suffer from poor execution and little, if any, accountability.

People who go directly from large organizations to much smaller ones usually have a tough time adapting to the change of culture.

Job descriptions should start with a clear, concise and appropriate definition of the specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound results that the position exists to fulfill.

No one can be expected to perform at 100% effort level all the time. But, people should be expected to put forth at a minimum 85% effort every day.

Very few organizations with mediocre people do a consistently good job of taking care of clients without having problems in service, quality and client retention.

Cash flow is critical to business success yet most employees don’t understand what it is, how it works and what they can do to positively impact it. Is it any wonder that many employees think that their employer has unlimited funds to spend?

Every employee should be able to correctly answer the question, “Why are you on the payroll?” If the employee cannot do this, take their manager to task, but not before you teach them why they are on the payroll. You should only have to do this one time. Tough news will travel fast.