Odds are that sometime in your life you've encountered a sports coach or other person who made a positive difference in your life. Whether it was from your childhood memories or as a parent watching your child, you probably have a good idea of the type of coach that you would prefer to lead you or your child to success. Being a great coach in business is not much different than a coach in sports. The business coach has most likely had many years of experience in your industry and has probably visited a variety of businesses who have a varying degree of challenges.
As you probably know I'm a business coach. I enjoy helping people and organizations reach their highest potential. During my last 23 years of assisting a variety of professionals, managers and business owners, I've had the opportunity to experience a very diverse set of business processes, work habits and leadership methods. I guess I would have to say they every business has its own "Unique Business Personality".
On occasion, I encounter a situation where I make what I think is a recommendation for improvement and it gets denied. Usually it is because the business leaders believe they have a better solution than what I recommend, or they do not believe the obvious deficiency that I'm pointing out, is a problem that needs to be addressed or they do not want to confront it for reasons unknown to me.
A few years ago, after spending quite a bit of time analyzing processes and leadership methods, during a site visit with an organization, I made my opinion well known about several employees' undesirable behavior, and how it negatively impacted the overall business objectives. After sharing several possible solutions to resolving the issue. I'm told that there is nothing that we can do about it. Basically saying, that I should ignore it.
I also had a case where I went into a business to help them improve their customer service and professionalism in the field, yet after spending a few hours in the office I could clearly see there were several personality conflicts and lack of processes or guidelines in the areas of customer service focus, in phone skills and dispatching. Everyone just did whatever they felt like doing. It felt like total chaos to me. I brought it to the attention of the business owner and was told that he has an office manager who is fully capable of handling that. He said he wanted me to focus on the field service part of the business, not the office. To me field service is a process that starts when the phone rings. I told him that the office didn't seem to be running well and it looked like a circus to me, and if he expected his field employees to be acting and working in a professional manner than he needed to also get his administrative staff in shape also. Of course, he told me it was a matter that is being handled internally and he was not interested in discussing it any further. So, I let it go that day. The following morning, I'm holding a meeting with the field employees and all I keep hearing about is how screwed up the office is. Of course, I eventually did get the business owner to finally agree with me. Eventually, we worked together and resolved the challenges of the administrative staff.
In another situation, I was watching a service representative on the phone take a call, then print it out, take a picture of it with her phone then text it to the service technician. I asked the owner of the company why they just couldn't send it directly through the system, the owner tells me that she (the service rep) prefers to do it that way.
I could go on and on about the crazy things I've seen but instead of boring you with an incredible amount of detail, I'll just run through a list of things that I have heard over the years as "Sacred Territory", or things some of my clients have done that just makes no sense to me, or that I had to spend extra time and effort getting them to realize that there is a better way.
Here as some examples of a few things that I've experienced, followed by my sarcastic, yet truthful comments:
Company has a "Technology Guru" who will create their own service management software system that will be designed specifically for that business. Okay I will build my own car and it will be better than the car manufacturers' can make. Plus, since we drive our car in such a unique way, none of the other cars out there will work for us.
Although I have a supervisor who is rude, obnoxious and disrespectful to employees and customers, there is nothing we could do about it because he has been here for 27 years. Really? Let me spend a few days with him/her. Things will get better or we will be hiring a new supervisor!
One of my installer's handles the updating of our website and social media. Okay, this could be a real issue if the installer gets terminated or gets mad at the company and quits. Again, we tell our customers to only hire professionals, yet we don't!
We have our own print shop in house because we send out so many mailers. I didn't want to pay expensive printing fees so I decided to do it all in house. Why don't you deliver the mailers too. Why pay the post office when you can do it yourselves? Have you considered email?
We are proud to say that we complete more service calls, per tech, per day than any of our competitors! I didn't know that there was a contest for that! Really! Don't you measure revenue per call? I'm telling them to spend more time with the customer and make sure your focus is on doing a great job and checking everything. Then leadership tells them "Hurry up! You have 8 more customers to get to today.
Do you have a video, maybe an hour long, to teach my guys how to sell and talk to customers properly? If that was possible, I'm sure I would have sold several million copies. This just as bad as the people who ask if I can do a two or three-hour class that covers everything the need to service HVAC products.
As the business owner, I really see no reason why I need to go into the office. OMG! Not showing up means you don't care to be with your team, being there is so incredibly important to them.
One company I worked with allowed employees to do side work. The reason? The owner of the company says it saves him from having to pay them more than he does now. Guess what? You are paying more than you can possibly imagine in lost sales, parts, products, maintenance agreements etc. . . I can hear it now. . , "I can come back this weekend on my time and do this job much cheaper"
I don't see the need to have formal reviews with employees, I have an open-door policy, whenever they want something, they are free to come see me! People need feedback on a regular basis. Just like in sports, we all need to know what the score is and if we are winning. By the way, who sets themselves up to go listen to a twenty minute lecture on how tough business is today?
I have great relationships with my employees, my wife has become very close with their wives, and they are always invited to family gatherings. We have even taken a few family vacations together. Everything is great until you need to fire someone, now what?
I don't see a need to measure individual performance. Everyone knows how they are doing. How do you determine who your most valuable player is? How do you determine pay increases? How do you know if someone needs training or improvement?
There is no need to measure customer service, my customers will let me know when something is wrong. Most customers who are upset just leave and tell their friends, they do not tell you.
I don't care about my rating at the BBB, Google, Yelp, they really don't matter!. Oh, yes they do! They really do matter. Take the time to research yourself on a regular basis and resolve or reply to any negative comments.
I could probably go on and on. Unfortunately, the people who really must have a better insight on running a business, will probably never read this. For those of you who do. . . Congratulations! You are yet another step closer to becoming the best you can be! Thanks again for reading my posts! If you enjoy my articles, please email me at the email address below and let me know. Just like any person working to help others do better, I love feedback!