Are you recovering or is it business as usual?

Are you trimming down expenses in your company? Reducing your head count? Cutting employee wages? Reducing marketing expenditures? Restricting corporate travel? Does the recession continue to keep your company in a squeezed down vise, even though you are making changes? Are your revenues down? Your company just doesn’t seem to be in a recovery mode? Is it possible that your logical vision and decision making process might be impaired? Maybe just maybe, the answer is in the office next to you!

[NOW] do I have your undivided attention?

I have heard the above scenario many times over in the last few months from clients all over the U.S., including 3 phone calls I received last weekend. This is serious times folks and this is an extremely serious message.

Many of my clientele have long term employees and I have always been a solid believer that you do what you can to save those you have a great deal of time and money invested in. But when I speak with owners about the questions above, it quickly becomes apparent that although they are making cosmetic changes and disrupting lives and believe it is under the cost cutting flag of survival, the reality is “IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL!”

When I do company evaluations, there are typically individual(s) who reek of negativity. They give the bosses great lip service, but hide under the guise that they are way too important to lose be absent from the organization and/or their job. And to further compound the problem the client/owners have become complacent and continue to take the path of least resistance. When suggestions are made via an outside consultant or a well meaning employee, it typically gets vetoed by the senior employee and then they “make” the boss give the bad news. But employees are stupid and they know the pecking order has caused some of these difficult times. Most times the owners, “just don’t get it!”

In most cases, this senior employee is really the owners pet…..right hand man/woman…..has their hands in everybody’s mess kit most of the time….nosey, and typically a non-conformist. But the owners miss the sign(s) and keep cutting wages, cutting personnel etc. without any concept of “what could be.” And why you might ask yourself? Because the senior employee has “mentally” convinced the owner(s) that if he/she leaves, the company will be in tremendous distress or even close. And sadly the owners buy into this because they are in fear of discord or a mutiny. But what would happen if that senior employee would die quietly in his/her sleep tonight? Would the company continue on tomorrow?

One of my clients is a small regional bank in Iowa, in a town whose population is less than 8,000. The President had a senior manager, who I identified as the core of his personnel problems, (especially the revolving door of people). His administrative and teller employees always looked mad. It was obvious within hours of the three days that I spent there, that the morale was low, business was down and the intangible costs were soaring. He was convinced that not only would employees walk if he terminated her, but because of the small community it would affect his business in a negative way as well.

I convinced him otherwise and on a Monday morning the deed was done. The negativity was gone, employees could be themselves, smiles everywhere and later the President remarked that from that day forward, employees even dressed different. And much to his surprise, his business started to come back and in fact he was again a strong competitor against the other four banks in town. His job applications hopper started to get filled again, because the “locals” now knew it was a good place to work AND BANK.

This story is the reality of management folks. If you are not 100% into your management game, and all the subjects in the Questions above seem to be looming large over you, maybe just maybe, the fix in the next office. Seek outside help and pay attention to suggestions. Ask other key employees away from Mr. or Miss Negativity and respect their input and their feelings.
I had a business owner tell me just this last week, “….everybody that comes in here, tells me that I need to terminate her, including my banker. AND all of the General Managers I have had, never got the termination job done and she remains here today.” Key phrase here is “all of the General Managers….” Meaning he has gone through several but the senior employee always makes the cut.

To whom do you think I pointed the proverbial finger? That’s right the owner, because I believe he would not allow this to happen. Even though six executives in and out of his business gave him the same advice, it wasn’t his idea and the comfort zone far outweighed what he perceived as the risk. “He just didn’t get it!”

As I stated at the beginning, this is a very serious message. I hate to hear about companies closing or beating up their employees to survive. And I certainly don’t want to suggest that all long time employees need to be walked to the door. I can’t solve all the problems of the business world via my weekly newsletter, but if I have motivated the thinking process into a few of your heads and you REALISTICALLY and HONESTLY evaluate their long term key people, I have achieved my goal of the week. As always your comments are welcome and respected.

If I can of any assistance, please call or write and I will respond immediately! Have a tremendous week.

George Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources