Paul Winans

Much of the activity in many companies is reactive. Responding to emergencies, resolving orders that were misplaced, and simply trying to stay ahead of a wave of things that need to be done all get in the way of making sound decisions.

How to break that cycle? Everyone in the company should do only what will get done if they do it.

What does that mean? Take a look at the company’s organization chart and job descriptions. If well thought out, these documents tell anyone who reviews them which position is supposed to do what.

What actually happens in many companies is those documents are not regarded as the direction-setters they are supposed to be. People cross the boundaries from one position to another, often without realizing it. In doing so, the accountability level in the company gets lower and lower. How can someone be responsible for doing only what should be done by them if it happens that other people are getting involved (often in a caring way)?

For example, suppose someone is a salesperson. Here are some of the things that should get done only if the salesperson does them:

  • Building relationships with potential sources of referrals.
  • Qualifying potential clients.
  • Visiting potential clients who meet the company’s standards.
  • Getting design agreements signed.
  • Reviewing and approving the work of the designer and estimator.
  • Making the sales presentation.
  • Getting a signature on the contract.
  • Checking in with the client every three weeks or so while the project is under way.
  • Thanking the client at the end of the project.
  • Staying in touch with past clients to generate referrals and additional work.

Anything else the salesperson does—like get involved with a project during production—gets in the way of sales happening. In such cases, the rest of the company needs to help that salesperson focus on getting done only what will get done if the salesperson does it.

It is so easy to say the above and oh so hard to do. It takes a group of people who are on the same page and have given each other the permission to help everyone stay focused on their respective responsibilities.

By proactively working to establish clear roles and boundaries, AND helping one another adhere to them, the company ends up reacting to fewer crises. The clarity established on the front end makes it more likely that the results are the intended ones.

You can do this. How do I know? We did it. What made it happen? High levels of frustration from incomplete work and missed deadlines, coupled with the inability to hold anyone accountable for anything.

Sound familiar? Take a break from the pressure of the immediate and get clear about the way you want your company to operate. If you are an owner, a change like this will never happen unless you decide it makes sense.

Come to think of it, that is something that only can get done by the owner!


See more from the June edition of Dealer Digest

Articles in | June 01, 2018