Identify with your team. I never ask an employee to do something I wouldn’t do myself. They understand that I understand the difficulty of the processes they go through.
That’s important from the fact that most people look at their job as a lot more difficult than the next person’s job, that they’re working much harder than the other people are, so knowing that I’ve done their job in the past, I understand exactly what they’re going through.
I build that understanding by the fact that I’m still willing to go back and do the part of their job that they need help with while they’re doing it. Whether it’s going outside and picking up paper in the yard to make it look good for customers, emptying trash, cooking lunch, helping with any of their individual tasks, it doesn’t matter. We’re all part of the same team.
To give you an example, we once had an executive vice president who had a lot of education and a lot of titles behind him. I asked everyone to go outside and clean up what needs to be cleaned up so that it looks good for our customers. So, I’m out there picking up sticks with everybody else, and when I came back in the office, he was still sitting in his office. He wasn’t willing to get his hands dirty.
Within two weeks, he was gone. That shows me by example that if he wasn’t willing to do what I’m willing to do, that’s not really a team effort.
Get down to a personal level. You have to get out of your office. You have to mingle with people. You have to understand that they have a personal life, and what is important in their lives is different than what is important in your life. But it’s taking that extra effort to show that it is important to you.
You have to make time for that type of communication. You do that by giving other people responsibility to perform the tasks that you don’t have time to do. You have to basically get rid of the things on your plate that somebody else can do, give them the authority to make decisions and then let them do it. That will give you the time to do other things, like examining the direction of the company and paying attention to employees.
To make that happen, I push everything down as far as I can until I see mistakes being made. You give people the authority and responsibility, give them the opportunity to step up to the plate and take care of those details.
Treat your employees like customers. The No. 1 thing as an owner is to find the right people. People are your most important asset. Our saying here is that our employee is our No. 1 customer.
Customers come and go, but your employees are here, so you have to treat your employees as your No. 1 customer. Then they know how to treat your customers. So, it’s finding the right people and then treating them the right way. Wednesdays, we have someone come in and do manicures and pedicures on company time, and we pay half. Other Wednesdays, we have someone come in and cut hair on company time, and we pay half. We have a heated massage bed that they can go in, close the door and use any time they need to. We have an outdoor grill. We have teams from our six different disciplines that work together to make creative meals.
So, we do these things for our employees, and they understand that we value the company, and they push that down to our customers.
Listen, don’t just hear. What you want to do is 70 percent listening and 30 percent talking. My sales training has given me the skills to ask open-ended questions, listen to the answer, then speak.
Most salespeople have to be leaders. They have to listen well, they have to hear what the customer is saying, they have to read between the lines and hear what a customer is really saying. Just hearing a question doesn’t mean you’re really listening.
Just pay attention to any conversation and ask someone what they were just talking about 10 minutes ago, they have no idea what they said. You have to pay attention to really hear. That’s why listening 70 percent of the time and talking 30 percent is really what I try to do.
Talking with a customer or an employee, or even with my spouse, I really try to ask open-ended questions, to listen, to really try and understand where they are coming from.
Keep track of your statistics. Measuring your business plays into the sports team analogy. You have to keep score. Your score is going to end up being the bottom line.
The measurement is always important. It gives people goals and objectives. It gives them areas they can see to improve. Measurements are important. In our case, a sales-driven team is always looking for goals, for increases in sales. It’s very important to understand the score and what it means for the company.
HOW TO REACH: DEI Inc., (513) 825-5800 or www.dei-corp.com