What You See is What You Hear
A powerful step is to ask your people how they are doing. We don’t mean a cursory “How’s it going?” as they walk through the door but an actual inquiry into their personal happiness and well-being. It is amazing how many dealers lose good people because they didn’t even know the person was unhappy. Be friendly and engage your people on a personal level. Share hobbies. The old bowling night is always an option. Heck, we skydive together!
One of the best questions you can ask an employee is “What keeps you here?” Wouldn’t any business owner want to know the motivation behind each employee’s decision to remain with the company? Don’t assume it’s just because they need a job. More often than not the reasons are much more complex. Find out what they are and you will have a valuable tool to aid in motivating and retaining your best people. Ask your team to describe their personal goals and aspirations. Ask them what they expect from you as the boss. The more you know, the more you can do to affect the success of your entire organization.
It is said that a definition of terms is critical to any form of communication. Although you may speak the same language as the person with whom you are talking, chances are the same words don’t always mean the same thing.
We each have a personal dictionary developed over years of experience with people, places and activities. Many of the words we use are open to interpretation. If we want to be absolutely clear it is essential to define these words for our audience.
For example, as an owner of the company you stand before your team and exclaim, “We are looking forward to a very successful year!” Successful is one of those words that can have many meanings. Your sales manager imagines you are looking for substantial sales growth. Your operations guy assumes you mean you are going to open another location. Your controller believes you want to improve your asset-to-debt ratio, and the installers figure you are simply trying to survive through the current economic downturn. Keep in mind that the interpretation of an 18-year-old will often be radically different from that of a 40-year-old. When in doubt, redefine in simple terms and then ask your audience what you have told them. Their response will be the ultimate test.