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C-Suite Advisory

How Should The Director Act Not To Control Every Employee?

New York, United States

One rude security guard can destroy the marketing effect, the creation of which involved great investments. Why does it happen? And how should you deal with it?

During the meetings with the company management, I always hear complaints about the employees not being responsible enough, they do not pay enough attention to the clients, and you have to control almost everyone. This takes a lot of your energy, and that is why you can’t find time for the issues of strategic development.

So what’s to be done? After all, the company management should be engaged in general management, while the personnel should work with customers providing daily operating work.

And if the management stooped to micromanagement, the company will at best stall in solving immediate problems, and accordingly, large important projects will get no solution.

Just imagine the situation. The company has a leader. He or she is a graduate of the prestigious foreign university. Top management is also represented by forward-minded managers. The personnel consist of 500 employees, and 350 of them regularly have different types of contacts with a large number of clients and potential consumers. No matter how well the CEO speaks, no matter how top managers are well dressed and negotiate or communicate with customers, the average potential consumer will see only those 350 people – a security guard, a receptionist, a sales assistant. And communicating with them the client will get an impression and opinion on the company, and this client will tell everyone about the emotions experienced in communication with them.

Clients see neither a well-groomed manager, nor his or her well dressed deputies, speaking confidently, or the office staff smiling and being satisfied with their working conditions. They see frontline personnel, a frowning warden, a hushing cleaner, not smiling, unhappy seller with a long working day, whom the manager shouted at in the morning.

I will give an example from my personal experience. It has happened in Baku. Seven years ago, my youngest daughter had a crisis, and at night we went to a top private clinic. The warden was rude talking to my wife, I intervened, and in response I heard that he was “ready to go out and “talk” about the issue anywhere and in any way”. Of course, we left this clinic. The next morning, the clinic management and the security head were informed of the incident. But they waived this incident, making an indefinite promise to “sort things out”. For the seven years since that moment, I tell everyone about that incident. And hundreds of my friends and their friends refused to go to this clinic, although they were potential clients.

Hong Kong

Pay attention to this strange formula. Only one guard. Night. No top manager. There is nobody to watch him. And this person, in the truest sense of this word, destroyed all the company’s work in advertising. At the same time, the loss of the clinic due to the fact that me, my family, my friends, have ceased to apply to it, can be counted in thousands upon thousands. And you can imagine how many other real clients have been scared away by this guard? And add here the fact that other clinic personnel get a clear message: the client can be treated this way.

Seven years later, I went to this clinic in the evening to pay a visit to my friend. Well, guess what? That warden was there: behaved imposingly as usually, making some general statements loudly. But is the guard guilty? No. It’s not his fault. He is given the opportunity to behave as he wants. The management is guilty for selecting him and creating such an atmosphere of unpunished rudeness towards clients, as well as for the absence of the control mechanisms to be used as some kind of “brake” for employees at any time of the day during working hours.

Ordinary question: what is the final target of a business? It is ensuring maximum efficiency using full potential of financial, material and human capital. Let’s imagine that the general feasible potential of the company in the income form is $ 2 million per month. In the context of using human capital, the process allowing to get this result looks like this:

The perfect result = The right person + The right alignment + The right motivation + The right training + The right control + The right improvement.

Consider this: the way to the most efficient result starts with the right person. And who is this right person? How can we describe him/her in one sentence? The right person for a company is the one who shares common values with the organization, who has no need to be reminded about smiling. The person believing that the client is the most important capital of the company. And if a company hires a person who is not motivated for the service and is not customer-oriented, all other steps will look like building a house on the sand: it may collapse at any moment. That’s why, companies with excellent products or services fail, when they do not pay due attention to the process of selecting frontline employees. And they do not realize the problem.

You can train a person in the product specifications, technical qualities, treatment rules, but you can’t make a person smile talking to every customer: he/she must understand its importance and must do it. You can’t force a person to be patient if he or she is impatient by nature.

Imagine such a situation. The trading company has 200 sales consultants contacting with 5,000 potential clients visiting the company stores daily. Let’s say 5% of these 5,000, that is 250 people, buy something on the day of the first visit, while for the others the decision-making process takes time. They need to see competitors’ products or talk to the family. And if this first contact in the store leaves positive emotions, the client will tell to his or her friends and relatives about it in a positive way. But, with no enough attention, facing disrespect and indifferent answers, the client will pass negative emotions to others, even if the store has high-quality products.

U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, United States

This is the reason why I always advise sales consultants insistently: do not try to sell, but work with every potential client. After all, even if a client buys nothing from you, his/her positive emotions will come back to you through kind feedback and recommendations.

The main problems of the companies start when the management can’t identify its main functions. That’s why the top management starts to engage in micromanagement, introduce system of penalties and control subjecting employees to stress.

So what is to be done in this situation? What should management do? Instead of complaining about bad subordinates, top management must first of all settle its main functions.

This process starts with values, the “deepest” part. The first step is to identify the value of the company. The second one is to start recruiting only people complying with these values, even if it is one person in a hundred. It is difficult, but it is possible. The next steps:

  • Understanding that recruitment of the team is the most important function of the company’s management, and it should be given the maximum amount of time and energy, carried out regularly; management must be always in search of forward-thinking employees.
  • Approaching carefully not only the recruitment of frontline personnel, but also the middle management, which is always on the “front line” and is the first contact point with clients after sales assistants.
  • Creating efficient internal management and control mechanisms.
  • Creating a positive atmosphere and regular contact with the personnel. Studying the employees’ problems, the obstacles in their work, not interfering with the working process.

And the most important thing that managers should always remember: everything in business, literally everything starts with a person.


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