“Action is the foundational key to all success.” ~ Picasso
It all comes down to one thing – Productive Personnel.
If you are running a business or thinking about starting one, I want to tell you about one of the most important things I have learned in 30 years of business: It all comes down to one thing – Productive Personnel.
You can say this isn’t the case at all or there are other important factors in business. But it always comes down to Productive Personnel. A business simply does not exist without people. Yes, computers and machines have replaced thousands of man-hours and no doubt that trend will continue. For now, however, someone must turn those devices on and direct them to accomplish something that is needed and wanted by us humans.
It all starts with the idea that you want to produce something that will be useful in some way to someone else. Whatever that thing or service is, it has to go through various stages before it can be considered complete and then handed over to someone else for money. Every step in that process it goes through is handled by people either directly or through the aid of a machine such as a computer. In order for you to succeed, everyone in that chain must qualify as Productive Personnel. The more productive everyone is in the chain, then the better the outcome for the entire business.
By “productive” I mean one very basic concept. That person, whether in HR, marketing, bookkeeping, sales, PR, the CEO, or any other aspect of your business actually shows up for work and knows exactly what to do and does it.
Look at an assembly line at Ford or GM. All the bits and pieces of a car are added from one starting point and march along until a finished car rolls out the other end and is ready for delivery. What if the dude who upholsters the seats hasn’t got a clue? The final product and the whole company suffers. What if the salesman at the Ford dealership can’t sell? What if marketing can’t get the right ads out? What if treasury loses track of who owes money? Every weak link contributes to the demise of the company and every member of the group.
This is such an easy concept to grasp – right? As long as everyone knows how to do their job and shows up for work, you will be successful. Just remember this other thing, though: it applies from the top down!
So where do Productive Personnel come from? We have to make them. We have to educate them on the basics, train them onto a job, help them along, train some more and then some more, until they are part of a fast-moving, highly productive team, with high quality, viable products being created. Each year this gets more and more difficult. High schools and colleges turn out functionally illiterate kids. Society harbors and endorses a whole class of people who simply do not understand the concept of work and organization beyond the most rudimentary of tasks. They may be good at low-level tasks, but building a vibrant company that has some levels of complexity and requires greater levels of communication, honesty, foresight, management, intelligence, and many other factors will never be built on an army of dropouts or the undereducated and underskilled.
As work ethics change and Joe Schmo gets bogged down with false information about what a job really is and what is expected, it is now incumbent upon the management guys who are still reaching for success (despite taxes, despite insurance issues, despite labor rules and government intervention, despite the ocean of under-educated applicants) to figure out for ourselves how to make Productive Employees.
My oldest son went to work for a major corporation a few years ago. He was tested, background checked and interviewed several times before the job was offered. After he was finally hired, he spent a full week learning their phone system, computer systems, basic company policies and rules, where things were located, how to report his weekly activities and completed work, etc. Then he met the team he was working with. He already had a master’s degree, so he knew technically what his job was and how to do it. They wanted to be sure the money they were investing to put him on the job was not wasted. That he could produce as promised. (He did.)
Whether you are running a small landscaping business or a computer programming company, this rule still applies. If you are planning on building a truly large company, then it is even more vital you move forward with Productive Personnel in every position.
Thankfully there is a simple way to do this.
If you want advice, feel free to call me.
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