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It’s Never the Employee.

In other words, it is NEVER the employee’s fault.

Are you thinking to yourself, What on earth are you talking about that “it’s NEVER THE EMPLOYEE?”

How can it NEVER be the employee when a mistake occurs within a business? 

Doesn’t make sense, right? 

Business isn’t a tournament where everyone wins a trophy. 

There needs to be accountability. 

If it is never the employee, then who’s fault is it when a mistake occurs?

Well, one of the greatest challenges with business ownership is of course managing employees.

As an entrepreneur, creating a team or staff that shares your drive, vision and dedication is a monumental task.

Especially since the staff typically does not have skin in the game as does the business owner, YOU.

A New York Times article from 2011 titled “It’s Never the Employee” completely changed my perspective on this subject.

The author of the article, Jay Goltz, explains that one of three deficiencies causes mistakes to occur at a business: 

  1. You have a flawed system 
  2. Poor training 
  3. You hired the wrong person (or placed them in the wrong position) 

Let’s explore………..

Edwards Deming on “It’s Never the Employee”

First, before we go into further detail explaining this theory from Jay Goltz, let’s turn to legendary management guru,  Dr. Edwards Deming for his opinion:

“Eighty-five percent of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”

~ W. Edwards Deming  – 20th Century Global Expert on Continual Improvement

Over the years, I have found that it is extremely challenging for both sides, the business owner and employee, to see each others perspective.

If an entrepreneur has owned their business for many years, it is difficult for them to relate to the challenges that an employee faces. 

On the other side, most employees have never owned a business and are truly unaware of the gargantuan effort it takes to build a profitable and successful business.

Yet, how do you create a vibrant atmosphere and dynamic team so that company goals are met?

Well, let’s dig deeper.

Entrepreneurship & Building the Team 

 

Never the Employee

Encouraging employees to follow directions and execute strategies takes stamina.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs have amazing talents, skills and strengths, yet, if leadership or managing people is not one of them, what do you do?

Especially if you find yourself failing to motivate.

What do you do when employees just don’t seem to “get it”?

You keep thinking, “what is wrong with everyone and why doesn’t anyone want to work?”

This path is a downward spiral.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

It is difficult to admit when something isn’t working. However, the blame belongs on us, the business owner.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, looking in the mirror to identify flaws is tough. 

So what do you have to lose to consider viewing your staff in a different light?

What if you reduce stress and sleepless nights over the actions or inaction of your employees? 

You potentially have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

Let’s take some advice from a hugely successful entrepreneur who sheds some light on this important subject. 

Jay Goltz: “It’s Never the Employee”

Never the Employee

The New York Times used to have a small business blog series call “You’re the Boss: The Art of Running a Small Business” which I used to read religiously.

Numerous small business owners and entrepreneurs would contribute to the blog sharing the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship.

One particular blogger who I thoroughly enjoyed reading was a gentleman named Jay Goltz: https://www.jaygoltz.com/about/

Mr. Goltz had started a framing business in Chicago shortly out of college and built it into an incredibly successful business.

He also authored “The Street-Smart Entrepreneur: 133 Tough Lessons I Learned the Hard Way”.

In his blog, Jay shared sharp insights from his decades-long experience in a humble manner describing successes as well as missteps throughout his career.

One particular blog post that completely changed my view towards employees was called, “It’s Never the Employee”: Click here to read.

Ironically, I had the privilege of meeting Jay Goltz at an internet marketing conference shortly after he wrote this article in 2011. He is a passionate and brilliant entrepreneur.

In the article, Goltz asks a fascinating question, “Do you see yourself wired as more of an entrepreneur or more of a manager?”

He goes on to explain that many frustrations of an entrepreneur is purely based on how the company was built and structured.

Taking Responsibility (Because “It’s Never the Employee”)

As you grow your business, responsibilities increase and you HAVE to delegate certain tasks to potential new hires.

The saying “if you want to do a job right, do it yourself” will never allow you to grow your business. 

Unfortunately, growing pains tend to expose flaws. 

For example, let’s say an employee makes a mistake at your business. A new employee.

They have been on the job for a few weeks and should be “getting it” by now.

When the mistake occurs, either small or significant, what is the first thing that you do?

Do you blame the employee? 

Do you sit them down and have “the talk”?

Scold and reprimand them? 

Jay Goltz explains that when a mistake occurs, it is typically one of three reasons that caused it, and all three fall on the owner. 

Below explains his theory on why a mistake occurs…..

1) A Flawed System

Mr. Goltz explains, first look at your system.

As a business owner, it should be a daily obligation to put your employees in position to not only succeed but to also  flourish and thrive.

Especially since their success is your success.

Did your system create or cause the mistake?

Was information flow inaccurate or untimely? 

Take a close look at the mistake to ensure that systems and processes exist to prevent or eliminate these errors from happening in the future. 

Lastly, does a check and balance system exist? 

2) Poor Training

Ok. So you are absolutely positive that the system is rock solid. 

You determine that the mistake was not caused by a flaw in your system. 

Then let’s take a look at the training. Was the employee properly trained?

Do you have thorough training in place so that the employee possesses complete knowledge to understand the process and procedure?

Was there a training period with supervision allowing the employee enough time and experience to execute the task successfully? 

If the answer is a resounding YES!

The system is rock solid. Full proof! Purely mistake-free. 

IN ADDITION, the training is more than sufficient.

As a matter of fact, you will even go on the record that it borderlines on perfection.

Any person with a pulse could do this task….then the mistake is STILL 100% your fault based on Jay Goltz’s theory.

Here is why…..

3) You Hired the Wrong Person

Never the Employee

The worst possible scenario then falls on you with the fact that you hired wrong person for the job.

The employee certainly seemed competent but unfortunately lacks the skill set to complete the task mistake-free.

Meaning you placed an employee in a job where they are simply incapable of succeeding.

Otherwise, they are a good employee but you placed the person in the wrong position. 

I like to refer to this as “putting your first baseman/woman at shortstop”.

To begin with, they play first base for a reason.

Typically they play first base due to a poor throwing arm.

Someone with an amazing throwing arm would most likely not play first base. 

Yet, you put the first baseman/woman at shortstop anyway. Hoping that they succeed. 

Unfortunately, the player receives the blame when they are unable to throw the ball accurately to first base.

When in fact, they should have never been positioned at short stop to begin with.

Thus the team suffers and the shortstop (who typically thrives at first)  feels frustrated when they are simply out of position. 

It Costs Nothing To……

In conclusion, when a mistake occurs, analyze these three helpful steps to help prevent or eliminate this from happening in the future. 

No one wins playing the blame game. 

Encourage open lines of communication to analyze and dissect systematic flaws. 

Focus on training and placing the best people for the right position. 

Meanwhile, below includes a few tips to help foster a healthy work environment. 

Keep in mind that it costs nothing to……

  1. Say “thank you” to an employee for a good day’s work (Thank you Dad for teaching me that one) 
  2. Congratulate and celebrate the wins 
  3. Be consumed in gratitude
  4. Listen
  5. Be relentlessly positive & supportive with your team
  6. Create a culture dedicated to healthy communication
  7. Keep hungry
  8. Be eager to learn
  9. Study new techniques on leadership and team building 
  10. Put people in positions that exploit their strengths instead of exposing their weaknesses 
  11. Stay curious 

Implementing these tactics cost nothing. Yet, offers the wonderful opportunity to create a dynamic team driven towards success. 

Finally, check out these additional posts with helpful tips from two amazing experts on leadership:

Wrapping It Up 

For more information on Falconer Electronics, please click these helpful links: 

Finally, to learn about Wire Harness Assemblies, please click below: 

 

 

Sherpa

Do you have a Sherpa in your life?

In other words, a trusted guide to help you conquer the extreme challenges of life. 

Especially for business owners and entrepreneurs. 

In a recent blog post, we discussed the outstanding book authored by Alison Levine, “On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments“. 

Alison survived climbing Mount Everest. Twice! 

To survive climbing Mount Everest, climbers commonly find success by teaming up with a Sherpa. 

This fascinating article from the NY Times, Deliverance From 27,000 Feet, piqued (or should I say peaked) my interest on the courage and fearlessness of a Sherpa. 

Also, the shear danger that they face assisting those on a quest to conquer Mt. Everest. 

Check out this video below:

Need a Sherpa to Climb the Entrepreneurial Mountain?  

What was the tallest mountain before Mount Everest was discovered? The answer: Mount Everest. It just wasn’t discovered yet. My daughter loves to tell that joke.

Is climbing Mount Everest comparable to running a business? Or vice versa? Both are thrilling adventures. Each offers a strong sense of accomplishment. Once you reach the summit, you can celebrate. A life’s dream accomplished. Jubilation!

Yet, once you reach the top, how the heck do you get back to the bottom? Oh, boy.

It takes skill, determination, a lot of money, guts, courage, as well as a bit of insanity. Actually, lots of insanity. 

So yes, running a business must be just like climbing Mount Everest. Of coarse, this is coming from a guy who has never climbed an actual mountain. Ever. 

Anyway, for some, climbing Mount Everest is a major “bucket list” accomplishment. A chance of a lifetime. Huge bragging rights. Thrill seekers reaching for the ultimate high.

It doesn’t get any higher than Mount Everest. Can a westerner accomplish this massive feat on their own?

A crucial component for the western adventurer to successfully reach the Mount Everest Summit is partnering with a highly experienced Sherpa. 

Sherpa’s are commonly referenced as mountain guides who help westerners navigate the brutal terrain while reaching their goal. 

However, you might find this interesting, the definition of a Sherpa according to LiveScience.com

It’s worth noting that the term “Sherpa” does not actually mean “mountain guide,” as many people believe, but instead refers to an ancient ethnic community of some 154,000 members.

Who Is Your Sherpa?

So, who helps you navigate the treacherous terrain with running your business?  

Do you have a Sherpa in your life? Someone who has climbed the path prior to you? A person who knows and understands the dangers ahead?

Westerners may want or try to rush to the top. A good Sherpa just wants them to reach the top while returning safely. An expedition up Mount Everest can turn deadly in a moments notice. Even for the most experienced and trained Sherpa.

The Sherpa culture is synonymous with mountain guides due to living in the mountains of Nepal and the Everest region.

A  Sherpa helps carry necessary equipment, fix ropes. Despite hazards and risks, a Sherpa provides guidance to ensure a safe climb and descent.

Check out this cool article: The World’s Most Renowned Sherpa Talks Mt. Everest

A successful climb involves years of preparation and planning. Plotting out a route. Studying weather patterns. 

Who has played a critical role in your success? In other words, who provides the necessary guidance for you to reach your summit? 

A coach. Teacher. Mentor. Business partner. A boss. An ex-colleague. A vendor

Do you rely on a key employee? Your accountant? Attorney? Business consultant? 

Sources to Connect with Your Next Business Guide 

Below includes a list of helpful suggestions if you find yourself seeking additional business guidance: 

Wrapping It Up

Thank you for reading our post.

To learn more about Falconer Electronics, check out these helpful links below:

In a recent post, we discussed creating a team and culture based around reliability. Reliability leads to consistency, stability, quality and most of all, happy customers. To follow up on this important topic, today we explore an incredible business book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni.

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is truly an amazing book! A quick read with an extremely powerful message:

“It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. A friend of mine, the founder of a company that grew to a billion dollars in annual revenue, best expressed the power of teamwork when he once told me, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

Check out this video from Patrick Lencioni explaining “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”:

Dysfunction at DecisionTech

Patrick Lencioni does an outstanding job by combining theory and fiction. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” tells the story of a Silicon Valley company, DecisionTech, which is past the start up stage and entering year 2.

Unfortunately, the company finds itself severely struggling.

It lags behind the competition in spite of possessing better funding.

The company also boasts superior technology along with a more talented team of 150 employees.

Yet, morale runs extremely low. In addition, company goals and potential are not being met. 

Thus the story describes the “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.

The founder and CEO decides to take a demotion allowing new leadership to right the ship. 

In response, the board of directors hires a new CEO, Kathryn, who hails from manufacturing.

As a tech industry outsider, Kathryn faces a massive challenge to turn the company around. 

First, Kathryn immediately diagnoses the ailments of DecisionTech and puts an action plan in place to build the team. 

However, Kathryn was not fully aware of how deep the dysfunction ran at DecisionTech. 

“And that is where the rarity of teamwork comes into play. For all the attention that it has received over the years from scholars, coaches, teachers, and the media, teamwork is as elusive as it has ever been within most organizations. The fact remains that teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.”

She then dives in to explain to her executive team “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

Identifying The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

According to Patrick Lencioni, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” consist of:

Absence of Trust

“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Fear of Conflict

“If we don’t trust one another, then we aren’t going to engage in open, constructive, ideological conflict. And we’ll just continue to preserve a sense of artificial harmony.”

Lack of Commitment

“…committing to a plan or a decision and getting everyone to clearly buy in to it. That is why conflict is so important.”

Avoidance of Accountability

“The enemy of accountability is ambiguity, and even when a team has initially committed to a plan or a set of behavioral standards, it is important to keep those agreements”

Inattention to Results

“As obvious as this dysfunction might seem at first glance, and as clear as it is that it must be avoided, it is important to note that many teams are simply not results focused. They do not live and breathe in order to achieve meaningful objectives, but rather merely to exist or survive. Unfortunately for these groups, no amount of trust, conflict, commitment, or accountability can compensate for a lack of desire to win.”

Lastly, Lencioni does an amazing job creating a page turning story explaining how to correct “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. For that reason, we strongly recommend downloading or picking up a copy today. 

The Table Group

Author Patrick Lencioni founded of The Table Group, a consulting firm dedicated to creating Organizational Health.  Lencioni also authored 11 books which have sold over 5 million copies. In addition, his books have been translated into more than 30 languages. 

The Wall Street Journal called Lencioni “one of the most in demand speakers in America.” Consequently, Lencioni writes articles for numerous publications including Harvard Business Review, Inc., Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek.

Wrapping It Up 

Thank you for reading our post. To learn more about Falconer Electronics, check out these helpful links below: