You need to be the same leader that you are in the good times as you are in the bad times. People look at the person they are reporting to and they value consistency in their actions more than anything else.
That’s just respect for the individual and showing integrity no matter how good or bad things get.
Treat employees with love and respect.
The advice my dad gave me was that all human beings, when you boil it all down, they really crave and desire a few things and that is love and respect.
If that can become the foundation of the value system of your business and the way you approach it, then unless you violate those two values, it’s pretty hard to make any mistakes.
Forget about employee buy-in.
You don’t want them to buy in. If you think about that, that means I have to sell them on the idea. And to me, that’s just short-term work.
What we really work hard at is getting people enrolled in what we’re trying to accomplish. It has to be crystal clear in their minds on how they can contribute to the overall vision and mission and the strategy of the business and the significance of their role and what difference it’s going to make.
If they become clear on that, then it becomes an enrollment, which really is more of a voluntary act. They’re doing it because they made the decision, not because I persuaded them or sold them on the idea.
It’s not really semantic. It’s a cultural thing. It comes back to your value system. It’s how you work with people and it’s how you treat your people in good times and bad that gets people enrolled.
Empowerment is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit.
The approach that we take when we look at a position is we look at all the decisions that an individual position is going to be making over the course of their workday. Then you look at who they need to keep in contact with to make those decisions.
Look at all the tasks, all the events and all the issues that an individual faces over the course of a day, a week, a month. If you find out that the majority of the decisions have to come back to another person, say the person up, then you pretty much are in a command and control mode where there is no empowerment.
Empowerment is when you can look at the decisions a person is making and over 50 percent of them they make without even letting anyone know. And probably the next 25 to 30 percent they make and all they do is let the other person know. And generally just a 10 percent or so where they have to go to someone and get their authority.
If you design your work and your position with that kind of freedom, then I think you are going down the right track.
Motivate employees with your vision.
Motivation is communicating. It’s coming up with a business model or a vision for a business that people feel is going to make some type of difference, whatever you are doing. That’s where the inspiration comes from.
Motivating someone there isn’t all that daunting. If they can look at it and say, ‘This is the contribution I am going to make, and this is going to be the outcome,’ and if they like the outcome, then I think that that is self-motivating.
Acquire companies with in-sync cultures.
The first thing we want to look at, particularly because when we buy a company we blend it into our existing business, is will these two cultures fit? Is the service team in this business consistent in the way that we approach our customer base?
If they are adverse, then it’s too disruptive both to the new people coming in and to your existing business.
Remember that assimilation takes time. You learn by all the mistakes you make. One of the things I learned is at first, we were a bit too rigid in trying to convert (acquired companies) to our way of doing things.
We believe, obviously, in the way that we operate. But in the past few years, we have really learned to trust the cultural piece more and do more upfront work on making sure the cultures match. If that’s the case, then give them time to assimilate, because people work and change at different paces.
We’re much less rigid in saying, ‘This is how we do things here.’ We’re much more aware of the emotional effect that an acquisition has. Being aware of that and being in less of a rush to put our stamp on things has made a difference for us in the past few years.
Market new products inside the company.
You have to first market it inside your business before you go outside. And what I mean by that is every one of your co-workers fully understands why you’re doing this, what it is that it does if it’s a service or a product and how it provides value to the customer or the end user.
If everybody in the organization is clear not just your sales and marketing people, but everybody in the organization understands what it is you are trying to accomplish, what the goals are, what the strategies are, then once you go to launch, I think it improves your chances of success by a large percent.
You need to do it face-to-face. This isn’t something that you can send a handbook out on. It has to be physically presented or demonstrated with every one of your people.
HOW TO REACH: Initial Tropical Plants, www.initialplants.com