New heights

There are plenty of great
ones to choose from, but the last time Keith St. Clair took
his employees to an Eric
Clapton concert, he says he
most enjoyed the song
“Running on Faith.”

What, you’ve never taken your
staff to see Clapton in concert?
For St. Clair, president and
CEO of StrategicAir LLC, going
to the concert was just another step in getting his team
involved at his private air
charter company.

St. Clair, who previously made
his mark in aviation as founder,
chairman and CEO of
TraveLeaders Group Inc.,
already knows the industry of
private jets and tourism is
appealing, but he believes the
key to getting the most from his
22 employees is building a culture around involving them in
everything. From company concerts to setting the business
plan out in front of every
employee, St. Clair is constantly
implementing ideas to get people engaged in the culture of
StrategicAir.

Smart Business spoke with
St. Clair about how to involve
your employees in your business and the four ways you can
reward them for their efforts.

Give employees principles to work
from.
You’ve got to first understand what you’re trying to
achieve in terms of your corporate strategic plan and document it. If you haven’t set your
parameters and you haven’t
documented it, then you haven’t
got a benchmark from which to
go from.

I built a company called
TraveLeaders, and we had the
company creed on a threefold
business card, and everybody
carried that and was able to
recite it. Now, it sounds sort of
arcane, but it actually reinforced what you did when you
answer the telephone, what you
did when you met somebody
and how you represented the
company.

Now, there are always some
things that are confidential in
the fiscal side of the business,
but you can always share your
vision to grow 15 percent or 20
percent or 100 percent, or your
vision to drive X percent of new
customers and all of the strategic processes of the business.

Promote the great ideas you hear. Encourage people and reward
people for their ideas. I’ve always
had the philosophy of rewarding
individuals for ideas that benefit
the company, and it doesn’t take
long if somebody from the
finance company comes along
and says, ‘Hey, do you realize if
we did this, this and this, we
could save X a year?’

And you put out a weekly
newsletter or report and say,
‘Mavis in finance got a bonus
this week because she had this
great idea;’ that sort of thing
rubs off.

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