Only five questions but many more answers

Dear Ken Keller,

If you wanted to change how an organization performs, where would you start? —Joel B.

Dear Joel,

Change in any company starts at the top; your culture is a direct reflection of you in every possible way. If you want to start the process of having a bigger, better or (you fill in the blank), company, make a list of what you need to start doing differently and then do each item as often as you need to. Keep in mind, change is hard, even when you want it to happen.



Dear Ken Keller
,

If I can’t afford to give my employees raises, what can I give them? —Nancy H.

Dear Nancy,

You can give them two things that will make a meaningful impact on their well-being and their lives. The first is more recognition. Make sure it is specific, timely and public. You can’t just do this once, it needs to be part of your organizational culture, recognizing people who make solid contributions to the company. The second thing is time off, but before you go start going down that path check with your employment attorney.



Dear Ken Keller
,

Sometimes when I read your column you are spot on with your advice and other times you make me mad as hell because I violently disagree with you. What would you do about someone who comes in late all the time and then asks for a raise? —Tony A.

Dear Tony,

It would appear you have tolerated tardiness and now this employee deems it acceptable behavior. So may other employees. My advice would be to start recruiting for a replacement for your constantly tardy employee. Start tracking the tardiness if you have not already done so. Hold off saying anything else on the subject in question until you have a replacement. Then, sit down and explain that your company does not reward bad behavior; you won’t be granting a raise to this person until they have proven they can act like a responsible and considerate employee and if they leave, so be it. I doubt the behavior will change. If they stay, track the behavior and be prepared to terminate when you finally get tired of the immature and irresponsible behavior. Thanks for agreeing with me at times, and it’s too bad you don’t see it my way all the time; that’s life.



Dear Ken Keller
,

I don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning. I know I have to because I am the boss, but I don’t want to. I drag myself to the office, but even there I am listless. —Jim C.

Dear Jim,

I think you should visit your doctor to see if there is something physically wrong with you. You could have a deficiency or another malady. But you could also be burned out or maybe you have lost the passion you once had. Many owners and entrepreneurs need a steady stream of ideas and challenges otherwise they get into a rut that is hard to get out of. Only you can decide if you still love what you do, who you do it for and why you do it.



Dear Ken Keller
,

I am sick of having employees. It seems as if I am a babysitter. If you were me, what would you do? —Mark E.

Dear Mark,

The way I see it you have several options. You can hire better employees. You can get rid of your problem employees (I am sure that some are excellent but you have lumped them all into the “they’re horrible” bucket). You can change your business model to do away with employees. You can sell your business and do something else. Or, you can accept that this is the price you pay for having people on the payroll who make your company money.

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