Dive into problems. My first reaction to a problem is to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the individual who’s having trouble. You can’t be a good manager unless you understand the trials and tribulations of your team. Offering your experience to them helps them see the possibilities of a different method or different path.
I learned at an early age that you have to jump in and work hard to succeed. There’s really no easy path or easy answer. I learned by watching my parents and how they worked hard to be successful. Hard work, determination and dedication are going to win out 99 percent of the time.
Maintain a lean team. We’re not upper-management heavy, and we run a pretty lean ship. It comes down to the hands-on approach. We don’t have a lot of layers of management in between the person who makes the decision at the top and the work that’s being done in the field.
It allows us to have a more nimble company. When an issue arises, direction can be given quickly rather than having to filter its way through a couple of different layers.
Lead from the front. It’s a lot easier to pull a wet rope than it is to push a wet rope. That’s what I believe. You want to pull people along to follow you versus push them.
People are more willing to follow if you’re leading from the front. That means you’re the one who’s out at the sites. Your employees see you working with them and working through the problems rather than leading from behind a closed door.
People who just dictate don’t have a feel for what’s going on with their staff. They aren’t in tune with what the employees are trying to accomplish and what their problems are on a daily basis.
Make good hiring decisions. You’re only as strong as your weakest person. It’s the truth in business. You can be the strongest leader, but if you’re not smart enough to hire good, talented people underneath you, you can dictate policies and procedures till the cows come home, but you have no one capable of fulfilling those orders down the line.
Interview and be interviewed. I personally meet with the key people who are coming to join our organization. That allows me to get a sense of who they are and, more importantly, allows them to get a sense of who I am. Then, we can determine whether we want to work together.
During the hard times, you have to band together as a tight unit to work through those issues. That’s more difficult if you’re not seeing eye to eye with that person when you bring them in, or the person’s philosophies are completely different, or the direction they want to take the company is different from the direction you want to take the company.
Establish a good reputation. If you give your word to someone that you’re going to do something, you fulfill that responsibility. Sometimes, it’s not the easiest thing to do but it’s important.
Otherwise, your reputation will be sullied because people won’t trust you. If people don’t trust you, then it’s very difficult to get them to respect you in the industry.
Whether it’s a real issue or a perceived issue, you still have to take care of it and treat the person with the respect that they deserve. That’s how you develop respect in the industry and trust among people you work with.
Part of our mission statement is to offer an outstanding customer experience, resulting in the recommendation of us to the customer’s friends, family and colleagues. If you achieve that goal, then you’ve developed that level of trust.
Create satisfied customers. Set the proper expectations upfront, and then, throughout the process, fulfill those expectations with your acts and deeds. That’s going to make a satisfied customer.
If customers are dissatisfied, you didn’t set the proper expectations when you began the process, and all along the way, they believed they were getting something different than what you were providing for them.
The worst thing is to ignore dissatisfied customers and think they’re going to go away. Deal with the issue upfront when there’s a problem. Meet with the customer, try to understand his or her problem, and then do what you can within the structure of your business to take care of that problem.
Hopefully, you’ll come out with a mutually agreeable outcome for both parties.
Find time to read. Reading is a great way to get a different point of view on how to operate identical businesses or different businesses from yours. Take the knowledge that someone is willing to give you in a book and adapt some of that information into what you’re trying to accomplish to make you better in business and life.
Most people are so busy working, they don’t take a moment to step back and say, ‘How do other people do it?’ You can learn from other people’s successes and failures. I read a great book the other day, ‘Your Management Sucks’ by Mark Stevens. Based on the title, you would think that it’s a negative book, but it’s not the case. It helps you make sure you’re managing your business the way you want it to be run.
Reading is a good thing to work into your daily regimen, whether it’s late at night or early in the morning. Put in an hour a day if that’s all you can get and find that time to grow yourself.
HOW TO REACH: Village Communities LLC, (614) 540-2410 or www.villagecommunities.com