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It’s Time Small Business Takes Success Back

April 18, 2010

Quality Circles, Total Quality Management (TQM), Management by Objective (MBO), Management by Wandering Around (MBWA), Six Sigma, Empowerment Training ~  Sound familiar? Then you’ve been around as long as I have.

Notice one thing about the trends? The pendulum swings from right brain to left brain to right brain to left brain. Or, if you are a Myers Briggs person, it goes from Feeler to Thinker to Feeler ~ you get the point.

I was training the Managers at Pearl Harbor Shipyard in the early 90’s when the push for TQM had started to die down. The first question I was asked as I stood ready to start my program was, “So what fad are YOU going to shove down our throats?”

I answered, “Common sense. Does that work for you?”

Most managers have just about had it. Most employees are pretty much confused. If you’ve tried to institute all or some of those management fads over the past three decades, the most predictable result you have created is a cynical work force.

Don’t get me wrong. Every program I mentioned is a good program. The problem is, most CEO’s don’t go the distance. They stay with one idea for a year, then change, then change again. That form of Chaos Management makes employees nuts, and creates a lot of cynicism about further training efforts.

How about this instead: Common Sense Training.

Unfortunately, most people didn’t learn common sense at home.
It needs to be taught every day in your workplace.
Start to inject it into your weekly meetings with your team.
What is IT?
It’s….. Telling The Truth. The Business Truth.

How about being TOTALLY UP FRONT with your team. If you believe they should stay with you in this crazy economy. And you believe they are worthy enough to represent you. Do you not also believe you can be straight with them? If not – why are they still with you?

Here’s a conversation I’ve had with my employees in the past:

Look, you need to know I will go to the wall for you if you go to the wall for me.
I am paying you a forty-hour paycheck for forty hours of work. I do that so we can stay in business. When we take good care of our customers; when we do our jobs; and when we keep our word with everyone, this business succeeds. When this business succeeds, I get to keep you, and you get to keep working here.

“Please understand, I WANT you to succeed here. And I WANT this business to make it. It’s pretty simple. Can you live with that?”

The President of one of my client companies gives every employee on their first day of work this talk: “I want all of us here to succeed. I don’t keep people on my staff who don’t want this business to succeed. You succeed by showing up and giving your best shot every day. You succeed by telling me what kind of training you need. You succeed by noticing that we are a team here and our successes and our failures affect everyone. You succeed by getting better at what you are good at.

“You also need to know here’s how you get fired: lie to me, steal from me, take unscheduled time off for no reason, show up late, treat my customers badly, treat your co-workers badly. In other words, do things that make me not trust you. I would rather work with a short staff than one I can’t trust.

“Do you understand that I want to trust you? I want to empower you. I want us to have fun here. And I won’t stand for anything less.”

Pretty clear marching orders. And good common sense. If you have these conversations consistently, you are creating standards. Once everyone knows the game, they begin to police each other, and managing the team becomes easier.

Unfortunately, political correctness, fears of litigation, strong employee unions, and fearful HR departments have squelched most common sense conversations in the workplace.

Isn’t it time we took our success back?


© 2007-2010 Beth Terry Seminars, Inc.

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