Once upon a time in a busy metropolitan area, there existed a vinyl siding installation company. Six crews worked for this company, so the owner was always on the hunt for new employees – mostly young people.
One day, the owner hired a teenager. The young man was very excited to have a job. On the first day, the new employee trained side-by-side with the disgruntled crew supervisor, who did not feel it was his responsibility to teach trainees. On day two, the young trainee was left to himself to figure things out. On the third day, the owner inspected the trainee’s work and deemed it substandard. The owner promptly fired the young man and without pay for his two days of labor. The owner justified the action based on the amount of money it would cost him to fix the trainee’s mistakes.
The young man was astonished at the termination as he thought he was doing the job correctly, but his surprise soon turned to anger and bitterness.
The owner grumbled for days to his fellow contractors about the vinyl siding installation business in general and how hard it was to find quality employees. Eventually, once he was through complaining, the owner unabashedly asked his colleagues if they knew of any "kids" he could call who knew how to work.
This is a true story. In big businesses and small, similar tales of woe unfold more often than you might think. It’s tempting to believe that proper employee training will put an end to stories like this, but that’s ultimately false. Your own company’s real problem may be an antagonist you would least suspect – you.
Business owners and managers have hectic lives. They consistently try to wedge 50 hours of work into 24-hour days, and it seems there’s always some kind of volcanic activity in need of an extinguisher. It’s easy to lose perspective with all the day-to-day operations vying for attention, to say nothing of the eruptions everyone faces now and then in their personal life.
However, if you prefer happy endings, your answers to the following two questions may be useful in the development of your company’s success story:
What is your purpose? It’s nearly impossible to inspire in others an enthusiasm and passion for work if you can’t keep your own fires burning. If the business that once had you leaping out of bed in the morning is now nothing more than routine – or worse, you face the day with dread – it may be time to ask yourself if you’re in the right business for who you are now.
To be an effective business owner or manager, you must know without a doubt the source that drives you. What is it inside that powers your being? That power source is called purpose. Purpose is not the company mission statement. Purpose is the thing inside begging you to use every ounce of it. Purpose provides a zest for life and gives your life meaning. True purpose will carry you through every setback, disappointment, and failure.
Know your purpose and how it relates to your business. You can be good at what you do for a living, but if your job does not match your purpose you will always curse your workweek.
What gifts do you give? No one is above the laws and principles of the universe. The perfect and impartial principle of cause and effect doesn’t let anyone off the hook – what you give, you get. This is a fact.
In your work, what gifts do you give? Are you moody, critical, stingy, foul-tempered, aloof, or impatient? Do you view the employees, vendors and customers with sights set strictly on what’s in it for you? If so, get ready to receive these same gifts.
The business world is highly competitive. People have many options. No one has to do business with, or work for, someone they don’t like. In this regard, in an executive or managerial position your biggest assets are an even temperament, pleasant mood, compassion, and a willingness to serve others to the very best of your ability.
These gifts are greatly valued and will return to you by way of high customer retention, increased business through word of mouth, better vendor pricing and cooperation, and staff loyalty.
The bottom line is that it’s your company and you are the author of your own story. Have you cast yourself as the hero or as an unwitting villain?