Tag: solving staff motivation

Business Turnaround Example – Manufacturing

Turning a business around doesn’t have to take a long time, or a lot of hard effort. In fact it can be quite quick and easy.

I rarely need to work with a business more than three months to turn things around.

A common example I come across in the manufacturing sector is a business that has a good product and the owner has been doing it for 20+ years, but the profits just aren’t there anymore. Staff are the biggest headache. The next headache is sales. I’ve had many that are ready to close the doors they are so ‘over it’.

The top reasons I see for these headaches are:

  1. Poor hiring processes so less than ideal people are taken on.
  2. Poor induction and training processes so the less-than-ideal people (or even the good people) are not effective or are kept too long. The business runs for too long with the wrong people. Staff are like the wheels on the business vehicle. Wrong wheels and it is a bumpy, draining and even dangerous ride!
  3. Poor management with a lack of clarity on KPI’s and lack of proper enforcement of KPIs.
  4. Too many staff operating by unwritten ground rules rather than the desired rules. In other words they have figured out what they can get away with and keep doing it. This doesn’t mean they are ‘evil’ or have malicious intent. It is human nature to figure out what ‘works’ and staff just do what the others do and what appears to be ‘acceptable’.
  5. Vision, mission, values, benchmarks, and processes are hidden, assumed, imagined – they need to be visible and documented and regularly referenced.
  6. Sales headaches can be due to many things, and are often due to failing to change fast enough with changing customer demands, inadequate business development strategies, inadequate communication of benefits, poor product selection, and incorrect pricing.

The solution that I find works, is quite simple and consists of:

  • Confirming the vision and values of the business.
  • Communicating this with the team and making it visible.
  • Staff interviews to get their take on what needs improving and their career goals.
  • Regroup as a team and go through the improvement suggestions and immediately start implementing changes.
  • Implementation of a good hiring, interviewing and training program.
  • Coaching and training on leadership for the business owner and managers.
  • Making the ‘invisible visible’. Too many businesses hide processes, KPIs, vision statements, values. These need to be visible.

Time to see improvements is often within a week and even the same day I hold meetings with staff. To implement priority improvements is usually a one to three month process and in some cases the changes continue happening well beyond this period – which is what you want. You want your team to be continually improving things. Better to be green and growing rather than ripe and rotting!

If this sounds like something you’d like to explore or if you have questions on whether it would work in your business, I’m more than happy to come and meet with you and hear about your issues and how things are run. From this chat I can confirm if I can help and what the process would be.

Give me a call (0400 520 471) or contact via this contact form.


Do They Know Where the Bus is Going?

Business Turnaround Example – and one of the reasons why I love my job.

A client this week has just taken his first holiday away from the business in 6 years. And the staff were absolutely determined to prove they can man the fort, keep the jobs flowing and the customers happy…and prove to the boss they can do it. And they did. And they were really proud of themselves. And so they should be.

3 months ago this boss was seriously contemplating throwing in the towel.

He felt he had no more fight left in him.

It was a ‘fight’. Doing anything, when you don’t know how to, can feel like a ‘fight’.

He certainly knew how to do his trade real well…but he didn’t know how to manage his people. As a result he had staff that were milking the system, not on time, moody and threatening to leave.

The solution was not hard or complicated. And it’s a solution I’ve seen work wonders time and time  again. It’s so effective and quick, it’s like magic.

First step was the boss brought me on board – but that isn’t the magic part. I assessed the situation, interviewed the team and identified the issues.

The major ‘fix’ I want to share in this post is the need for your staff to know where they are going.

An analogy I like, is to think of your business as a bus and it’s taking you and your staff on a journey…preferably to a destination you want.

When the staff don’t know where the bus is going, they start to get fidgety and think about getting off the bus.

Add to this confusion poor driving by the boss and you have a situation like my client in this example.

The major turnaround by the staff was due mainly to the following:

1. We met with them and found out their career goals and what they liked doing and wanted to do more of, and what they wanted to do less of. We then rewrote their position descriptions with these changes and included a career plan which mapped out their growth in the business.

2. We implemented team meetings every week initially and then reduced this down to every two weeks. These meetings focused on hearing from the staff what needed fixing or changing, and sharing with them great actions taken by the team, number of jobs completed and updates to strategy and where the business is heading.

Both of these actions have given the staff the certainty they wanted in where the bus is going. They are no longer on a mystery tour. One way of looking at this is appreciating that your team are sacrificing time in their lives they can’t regain…how would they feel if they didn’t know where it was taking them?

The two actions have

Let your staff know where the bus is going
Your staff need to know where the bus is going.

given them a sense of belonging, significance, contribution and growth.

One particular staff member who was really playing up and looking for work is now busting his butt, cooperating, hitting targets, going the extra mile and even telling others they should come and work for the company.

If you are having staff issues, and you are not discussing their goals, their challenges, their opportunities and where the business is going, this could be why.

As always, I’m just a phone call away if you need some advice or want to run an idea or issue past me.