How to Turn People into Dollars

geoff sander

When I first saw this photo, I was amazed at the confidence these guys have in their own workmanship and with such basic tools. To see these workers amongst a construction context they would be mediocre but these guys are anything but mediocre.

A lot of us have lived mediocre lives but what makes us different is we were bored with it. This leads me to the points that I want to embark on. This article is for all the wonderful people in my life who chose to believe in me and invested time and money (out of lots of patience I am sure) to allow me to be where I am today.

People: The number one resource in any business or enterprise is the people. While the product makes us different from the rest and the logo and Vision and Mission helps us stand out, it really is the people that truly makes each business. The people make up the culture, the attitude, the atmosphere and the level of service. However to Develop people they need to be teachable. This requires the right attitude in the learner, and the right curriculum and trainer in the teacher. Without these 2 attributes, Development is impossible. However some people should not be in your organisation. All the training and from the best colleges and trainers will not make any difference and any time invested in this would be a waste of money. So regarding people we only have 2 options, Train or Trade.

Skill: When hiring and recruiting new workers, we hire the best. Of course; it goes without saying. Just the selection process, the time setting out the criteria, the screening the interviews and then sorting them out in priorities; they are definitely the best afforded at the time. However over time you see trends that you think wouldn’t be there if the record was correct. You thought you got the best. Well the good news is, they still are the best. We just need to fine tune the BEST; to be our B.E.S.T.,

Let me clarify:
B Believe in them
E Encourage them
S Share with them
T Trust them

Talent: Unlike the predecessor, they are still with you and are still teachable. The best you can do for them and your organisation is to get out of their way. This is where the 3 Keys to Effective Work come into play; Responsibility, Authority and Accountability. We are happy to give them the big ‘R’ but Authority is quite another story. This along with you getting out of their way, tells them that you trust them and that you believe in them. No pay increase can compensate for the feeling of being rewarded or recognised for the effort or performance achieved for the organisation. Yet we hear all the time that folk leave work because lack of pay increases. That is because they have never seen this or experienced the feeling of applause / appreciation. Sales use this everywhere all the time and that is without a salary. Passion is not a hand-me-down, it’s ignited; ignited by incentive, a feeling of belonging, a feeling of making a difference. Let us turn skill into talent.

Placement: When placing people in job positions, it is imperative it is done according to personality preference. Introverts get their energy from within and so are suited to accounting, administration etc. Extroverts get their energy from being with other people so customer service, sales, marketing and customer complaints are areas where they will shine. This leads to a key component for stress relief and conflict management. When it is achieved with motivational coaching, enthusiasm is ignited which is explosive when coupled with Talent recognition that has been discussed in the previous paragraph. I see these as essential ingredients to a vibrant workplace.

Communication: For people to feel part of an organisation they need to be kept up to date; informed of how the company is going. Regular notices; transparent communication that promotes By-in. If a company is on the rocks, the last thing you want is people to jump ship; the good people; that only increases the problem. If people are aware and feel passion and feel part of the organisation they can contribute the improvement and there are many stories of this actually happening. If you want by-in, you definitely need to be transparent. Just as it is important for the company to communicate, staff and workers need to communicate as well. This is done in the form of feedback. To feedback effectively, the management needs to be approachable. There is nothing worse than staff feeling the need to speak out about a looming need but have to do so in ‘the keep out’ office. Body language and office set up must reflect good will; empathy as well. A chair set up, sitting alongside his desk gives the visitor a sense of equality or empathy and feels less threatened without even a word been spoken.

Measure and Manage People Performance: Applying SixSigma to a workforce or any enterprise costs a lot of time, personnel and money. However applying SixSigma mentality as staff, worker or manager does not cost a cent; in fact it will save the company a fortune, with evidence. Basic mentalities like Kaizen, The 5 S’s, Lean Manufacturing and in WHS, housekeeping, not only changes the way the company runs; (quality in auto pilot if you like) but it changes how it feels. These are basic principles in the Japanese culture and are taught at a very young age. We see it still happening today at the Fuji Plant where Engineers have all but got the plant up and running again using these same principles. Thankfully they or their families have not suffered from radiation, a true testament to dedication and determination against all odds.

Test your Vision/Mission: Richard Branson is always telling us, ‘If your dream doesn’t scare you, then it’s not big enough’. Sometimes we have to adjust the Vision and Mission to match the projection and scope that the company has undertaken. Sometimes we have to adjust the staff/workers to match the expectations of the Vision and Mission by means of induction, awareness instructions and training days etc.

In conclusion, we sometimes have the answers to the most complex questions in our contexts, right under our noses; our people. They find solutions to overcome their problems and when people have a feeling of being part of the enterprise, their feelings take on a larger context then their own and innovation is birthed; passion is ignited. The story of Walmart in America about 10 years ago when the staff became aware of the company’s plight, the solution was birthed, implemented, monitored and achieved by them. They were everyday, normal individuals that were part of a ship that they were determined not to let it go down, so they came up with the solution that has put Walmart where it is today.

Turn Skill into Talent, punctuality into passion, hopelessness into faith and belief, and your PEOPLE into DOLLARS.


About Geoff Sander

Geoff Sander

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