|September 19, 2011
from the desk of Chuck Violand...
Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—
From time to time I’ll draft a Monday Note that highlights a characteristic of great leadership. Today I start a two part series on the subject of “respect”.
The seed for this series was planted when the subject of respect was brought up during a recent VMA staff meeting. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you some of the discussion we had on the subject.
RESPECT, Part I
by Chuck Violand...
As business owners we sometimes overlook the influence our actions can have on the behavior of our people. Simply by virtue of our title, we serve as the model for how those in our organization should act. Many of us talk about the need to show respect to others, but how often do we fall short of this ourselves? Unfortunately when this happens our people sometimes feel they can model our bad behavior.
This point was vividly brought home to me at a recent event where I witnessed a very successful business executive demonstrate respect to those with whom he was interacting. In spite of his accomplishments and considerable wealth, many of the people around him didn’t know who he was, so there was nothing to be gained on his part by “acting” respectful. Yet it was clear that “being” respectful to others is just part of who he is. As I watched him display this uncommon respect I became aware of what a klutz I so often am when it comes to my own dealings with others.
Showing respect doesn’t only mean opening doors for people or assisting them with their coats, although these are always nice gestures. Showing respect includes our simple, everyday actions.
In my opinion respecting people’s time by being “on time” is a fundamental element of showing respect. Being punctual for work; being on time for appointments; being prompt for meetings; anything having to do with a fixed starting time. Being late sends a very clear message to everyone else involved that their schedules and priorities are far less important than your own.
Ending appointments and meetings on time is just as important as starting them on time. When we over-stay our welcome, or let meetings run late, we show the same lack of respect for other people’s time as it does to show up late to begin with.
Being “present” is another way to show respect. Here I’m referring to being mentally engaged in the conversation or meeting you’re involved in at the moment. Admittedly this can sometimes be tough. With all the different forms of instant communication available to us today, it’s easy to get distracted from the conversation at hand. But that still shows disrespect to the other person or persons you’re engaged with. Some time ago I witnessed a speaker at a program actually check his phone in the middle of the presentation he was giving. How could that phone call from one person possibly be more important than the combined investment the attendees in his audience made by being there for his presentation?! What message did they receive from his careless act?! Yet how often do we convey a similar message when we check emails or incoming calls or text messages on our mobile devices while we’re in a conversation with someone else? Although the scale may be different the message is the same.
A subset of “being present” is showing respect to others by understanding their point of view. Although we may not agree, working to understand it shows a measure of respect to the other person. Of course, in order to understand another person’s point of view we must first listen to them; and listening takes place best when our ears are open, our mouths are closed, and our fingers are still.
Like it or not the competition in the restoration and cleaning industry has gotten a lot more fierce.
Through buy-outs, consolidations, and well-funded outside investors your competitors have gotten much larger and a lot more sophisticated.
If you don’t have a well thought out game plan to compete with them, then you’ve unintentionally become part of their strategy to beat you.
Is it time to stop playing around and start playing to win?
A well-written business plan, one that’s written with the assistance of four of the leading business consultants in the cleaning and restoration industry, can help you beat even your toughest competitors.
It’s a weapon they’ve used for years. Take the offense by having your own.
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