Letting go

Jim Caplinger realized he
couldn’t continue to do
everything himself and expect to grow LifeCare
Medical Services Inc., the
emergency medical service
provider of which he is the
owner, president and CEO. So
Caplinger took the difficult step
of beginning to delegate more
responsibility to his employees.

“When I first started, it was
very hard,” Caplinger says.
“There were times that I could
hear things going on in our
communications center, and I
just had to stay seated and shut
my door sometimes.”

It may have been difficult,
but by delegating, Caplinger
empowered his 230 employees
to handle the day-to-day decisions, giving him time to
address the big picture.

Smart Business spoke with
Caplinger about how to get your
employees thinking like owners
and how to create an environment in which everyone doesn’t
just bow down to the boss.

Q. What are the keys to
growing a business?

No. 1 is hiring excellent people. I look for, are they goal-setters or goal-achievers? Have
they peaked, or are they ready
to grow themselves?

Then I try to teach them to
think like an owner. Then, once
you teach them to think like an
owner, you’ve got a bunch of
little owners around you.

I’ve been lucky enough to
find people who wanted to
grow with us, wanted to see
their growth. They are just as
passionate as I am about
growing the company. That’s
great because I know if there
are problems, they’ll take care of it because they’re thinking
like owners.

Q. How do you find
employees who will think
like owners?

Ask them, if they owned this
business, where would they
grow it? If it’s a marketing person, what kind of business do
they want to go out and get?

Then also, teach them to
watch the numbers. Every
company has numbers to
watch; do you watch these
numbers as close as I do and
keep your fingers on the pulse?
That’s the challenge of hiring
excellent people.

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