We were in a bar enjoying drinks and as I listened to my good friend’s story about recently losing his job. It happens, and it has happened to him before, just as it’s happened to me and maybe you too. I learned about some odd and questionable business practices, I’d call it bad management, preceding the job loss which had me scratching my head. I paid special attention to hearing about his last day because you learn a lot about an organization by how they say goodbye. Sadly, it’s a familiar formula that was dictated by their corporate office and executed by emotionally impacted local leaders. They didn’t want to do what they were doing and clearly didn’t understand it. First there was the unexpected meeting he was asked to attend where he received the news, followed by a directive to collect his belongings, and then being ushered out of the building, never to return, all in a relatively short time.

Then he paused, gathered his thoughts, and said with a smile,

“I’ve learned you can’t outrun bad management.”

Oh, how true. Every time I have a cup of coffee with someone who had their job eliminated, I’ll hear a new story of business practices that could help me to fill a book which I plan to title, Things you should never do – if you want to run a successful business.” Do you have anything to contribute to my book?

At the end of each story, I usually discover the leaders aren’t impacted. The price for bad management is paid by those who had no input, or at best very little input into the decisions that ultimately created their unemployment. It’s almost comical when everyone in the organization is scratching their heads at those decisions.

In my experience, successful organizations do three things exceptionally well.

  1. Provide quality products or services.
  2. Are profitable.
  3. Respect your employees.

Remember these aren’t mutually exclusive, don’t sacrifice or cut corners in one area to be successful in the other.

Since my passion is about employees, here are practices that are good for your business and respectful of employees.

  • Avoid layoffs and job eliminations. These kill trust within your organization. If your organization needs to lay off people or eliminate jobs, leadership messed up somewhere. Run your business better. Fix the problems by catching them earlier and not making the employees pay the ultimate price.
  • Scrutinize when adding more staff. Demand a strong business plan showing the extra staff are necessary and can be financially supported indefinitely. It’s not right to recruit someone away from another organization, have them faithfully work for you and then tell them they don’t have a job because there aren’t enough funds to pay their salary.
  • Set high performance expectations. People want to perform at a high level, expect it from them and they’ll deliver. If they struggle, coach them up. Yes, some employees will forfeit their job through their own poor performance. Also remember high expectations are different from unrealistic expectations. When expectations are unrealistic staff will lose hope and burn out but remain in your organization which isn’t good for anyone.
  • Accountability If you peel back the layers of any business problem, somewhere you’ll find a lack of accountability. Someone didn’t care enough. It isn’t easy, but if you care, you’ll hold other leaders and staff accountable.

Manage your organization well, the livelihood of others are depending on you.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Luke 14:28-39

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