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When We Put It In Writing….It Becomes Important….

May 24, 2018

By Sid Chadwick

 “It requires wisdom to understand wisdom…..the music is nothing if the audience is deaf…”……………………………..Walter Lippman

INTRODUCTION:

Over the last several months I’ve observed several “common threads of omission”… from sales, manufacturing and administrative leadership (….or….. lack of leadership):

  • writingA President…..not requiring…. his Sales Reps to “Report…Weekly”…what they had accomplished….. including what they were working to improve, and what needed to be improved…..
  • A Director of Business Development…..not requiring her Sales Reps….to develop a 90-Day Written Business Development Plan….for each….of his/her top 20 accounts….and prospects… that focused on the next 90 days.
  • A Plant Manager not developing a written “Cross-Training Plan”….that was calendar --- and employee --- driven….and posted --- publicly.
  • Sales Reps….not using their Request for Estimate form (a.k.a. RFE) their company had developed…. too many RFE’s were so incomplete, their Estimator had to make assumptions --- to insure the company was protected……..….understandably --- they were too often…..not competitive.
  • Repeated verbal “Performance Improvement Requests” --- from Supervisors, were seldom taken seriously….because….there was never any (written) follow through…..everyone…..including fellow employees….the company….and customers --- suffered.
  • Productivity Reports, by department…..are not shared… reviewed….and discussed --- with department Supervisors and lead personnel --- for, “What needs to be improved ’next time’ “….Performance appears to slowly… incrementally… be deteriorating…. However… no one is really sure, because records are not being kept…..reviewed…or posted.
  • Outlining…. in writing --- “What we expect of long-term major Suppliers”. Examples include: (a) a written recommendation…. on what we could improve, that you see, (b) what resources you have that we are not using, but should, and (c) what you learned in serving us, that we need to know in order for you and us to be more competitive in serving customer --- and so that we can also communicate those economic benefits --- to our customers, and win more work.
  • When an employee attends a Conference or Workshop, is that employee required to provide a Written Report re: (a) who else attended, (b) what was learned that was valuable, and (c) opportunities for improved company performance --- that were learned?
  • When an employee hears a “Customer Complaint”….even a “subtle, soft complaint”….is that employee expected to write-up that information --- for executive follow-up, and possible action?
  • How often does your CEO write a report --- to Employees --- about…. ”What’s been accomplished….what’s most important at the moment….and what’s coming….that everyone needs to know about?” I know one exceptional client, whose CEO writes a Personal Report --- every two weeks --- that’s put in every employee’s paycheck envelope. (Note: there’s very little turnover of personnel at that company, there’s repetitive year-on-year growth and profitability….!)
  • Are Company Goals, Vision, and/or Mission Statement --- in writing? Are those important understandings --- reviewed….. with any frequency…publicly….. by senior management? Does senior management put that information --- out front

I’ll not forget how a prized client…..has their vision and values --- in 12” letters --- on the inside walls of their plant --- about 10 -12 feet up from the floor…..You can read them…..from 50 feet away…from almost any position in their plant!

SUMMARY:

There are really very few secrets…………..Employees know……..who is “riding the backs of others”…. And…..who are the best, most respected supervisors…. in the organization.

Employees know …..where there is accountability………and where there is little to no accountability….and when the lowest common denominator…..seems to prevail……...

Employees know…. if this is a strong, trustworthy organization to be part of….long-term…that there’s a boss who demonstrates patience….and an interest in developing personnel…or..…. folks are looking over their shoulder…for something better.

Employees know…. if the boss has a sense of who each employee is……or….does not know much about more than just a few employees….who appear to be “favorites”……..

Employees know…..if they are being acknowledged for their efforts…. and accomplishments…or they are being critically and frequently told….what they should do better…. next time…..

A teacher affects eternity…he can never tell…. where his influence…. stops...”................Henry Adams

And…..

Ultimately……we are all teachers”………….Wanzie Collins, CEO, Panaprint

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