Mark Tuchmann

Mark Tuchmann measures success by the happiness of his customers, his team and their spouses. As founder and CEO of
BeavEx Inc., a $110 million courier service operating in 30 states and Washington, D.C., Tuchmann knows that success depends
on his team getting everything perfect every time, and because customers rely on his team getting things to them quickly and
safely, Tuchmann ensures that happens by hiring the best people — and keeping them around. Smart Business spoke with
Tuchmann about how to be a shepherd.

Be a shepherd. It’s all about the people. If
you treat people with respect and let them
build themselves and everything out, you
get a lot more out of them instead of coming down with the hard stick and whacking them to get them to do things.

One person said to me, ‘You can be a
shepherd or a sheepherder.’ The shepherd holds out his stick and people follow. The sheepherder goes and whacks
them and pushes them along.

I’ve always tried to be the leader and
have people look at me and really want
to do it, not that they have to do it. They
see the energy that I try to portray or do,
and it’s really easy for them to get on
board to that.

Trust people. You can’t do it all yourself.
Most entrepreneurs start their own business, and they strangle it and never give
it a chance to grow because they feel like
they can’t trust anyone else. Let go. Trust.

You definitely have to surround yourself with some really good people that
have that same vision, but it’s hard. I
don’t think I have enough hands to count
how many times I’ve been burned, but
the opposite of that is our company has
grown from $100,000 in sales in 1989,
and we’ll probably do $135 [million] or
$140 million in sales this year, so obviously, there’s a lot more positives that
came out of that than negatives.

You have to trust your people and give
them the authority and the leeway, and
before that, you have to find the right
people. And you’ll never know that until
they’re either producing or they’re not.

Hire good people. It really comes down to
intuition. I’m looking for someone who
can multitask, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. They have a good
sense of humor, and you can tell that
they have a good common sense.

You look at the degrees and at all the
other things they may look at in HR, and
I kind of discount that. I would take a
guy who went to a community college
who has common sense, a good heart
and a fun-loving attitude over a
Dartmouth or Yale grad.

We give them a personality test, and it’s
uncanny how many times that it’s right
on. Tools like that really steer us in the
right direction.

It’s really just, how’s that person going
to operate in the real environment? My
gut can, maybe seven out of 10, get it
right. I don’t think anyone out there can
get 10 out of 10, but it’s like a batting
average — if you can hit .300, you’re
doing good, and that’s only hitting three
out of 10.

Retain employees with positive reinforcement. People need to feel good about
themselves and their place in the company. If they feel like they’re part of it and
the growth and success of the company,
that’s more important than money. That’s
probably the No. 1 thing.

They need to look at the senior management and align with that whole
process. If they don’t respect and think
that the senior people are doing things
right, then they’re more apt to get disgruntled, and then you have a bad situation on your hands. It all flows from the
top down. The top has got to mirror the
bottom, and that’s not always the case.

Give them the opportunity to succeed.
It’s really hard, as the company grows, to
keep everybody happy about where
they’re going in the company and what
they’re doing. They need the positive
reinforcement, and in that fast-paced environment, managers aren’t given that.
When they’re not given that, then people
don’t think they’re appreciated, and
when people don’t feel appreciated, then
all the rest of the things start happening.

Just keep bringing it to the front of
their mind — this is important that
you’re on time, you did this, you did that,
but don’t forget the people that made
that all happen.

Don’t be afraid to fire people. If someone
hasn’t worked out, you owe it to them
and to yourself to cut the cord. That’s the
hard part, so if I have to fire somebody
it’s really bad.

I usually give everybody the benefit of
the doubt, and if they’re not making it in
that position, I’m looking for something
else for them to do. The last resort is letting somebody go.

Sometimes I use the analogy of a
boyfriend and a girlfriend — you know
it’s not going to work, but you feel bad,
and you don’t want to hurt someone’s
feelings, and sometimes you drag it on
too long. Every situation has a different
time length. You really have to look at
it, and look at that person’s abilities,
what they can do, their personality and
all the rest.

It’s like the three-strike rule, where you
can coach and teach them, but if they’re
at two strikes and they haven’t got it,
they’re probably not going to get it. Give
people the two chances, and if they can’t
get it, then you want to cut the cord.

That’s a lot easier said than done. You
try to rationalize it, and you look at it
and go, ‘Well, we were going through this
and this, and this person wouldn’t have
done this if they knew enough,’ and you
go around and around about that. People
have to make decisions and act right
then. It’s hard because people like to
think about things and they want to analyze it. In our business, that analysis
equals paralysis. You’ve got to look at
the situation and make a decision. Good,
bad, indifferent — make the decision.

HOW TO REACH: BeavEx Inc., (800) 403-7738 or