by RON STURGEON, AutoSalvageConsultant.com
Be a promise keeper
The initial article of this series listed dozens of tools needed for success from my experience. In subsequent articles, I will be exploring them in more depth.
Always do exactly what you say you will. People will learn that they can count on you, and you want that reputation. Don’t make excuses. Just do what needs to be done.
When my partners and I sold GreenLeaf the second time, they gave me a Lucite trophy inscribed with the word LOCKSMITH because I was so good at unlocking the potential of people and getting the job done.
I can be a hard boss. However, people who have worked for me will tell you that they never had to wonder where they stood with me. I was honest in setting expectations, honest with how I would measure success, and honest with people about how they were performing.
Those who could deliver, they excelled. Those who couldn’t, didn’t stay long.
The people who work for you want the truth, and they will respect you for telling it.
Of course, telling the truth may not mean telling all you know. When we bought GreenLeaf back from Ford, it was losing a million dollars per month. We had to decide which 300 people to let go. We knew who with some work, but we had good reasons not to tell until the time was right.
Remember that these situations are rare exceptions. You should strive to be direct and truthful with everyone in your business life. You never want to look back and wish you had just told the truth.
The truth can be painful, but, as Don Egilseer used to say, it’s an elixir. It can be healthy to get an issue out in the open where you and your employees can work on it. Did a customer write you a bad check, which caused your account to be overdrawn, and you then had a check returned? It’s ok – call the person you gave the check to and explain what happened, how it’s your responsibility, and tell them exactly how you will make it good. If you can’t deliver on ANY expectation, get in front of it, take ownership, don’t whine or make excuses, and explain how you will fix it.
Part of being reliable in your business life is about what you promise. Don’t take on projects you can’t do. Don’t overpromise. Always meet or exceed the deadlines you have agreed to.
If you find yourself always busting your hump to meet a promise that seems impossible the minute after you’ve said it, you need to rethink how you work. Yes, it’s true that the people you promised appreciate your meeting the deadline, but they may not even notice how much blood and tears it cost you.
Be smarter. Give yourself a realistic deadline and those same people will notice you delivered sooner than you promised. You will be happier and you will reach your career goals sooner.
You should use the same thinking when you delegate tasks. Never give people on your project the REAL deadline. Always give a deadline that’s BEFORE your true deadline so that you can still stay on track when someone else screws up.
One of my favorite sayings is “No one cares how bad the storm was; all they care about is whether you brought the ship in.”
When you are the captain, make sure the ship gets there before you promised.
Published in the November 2014 Edition of American Recycler News