The father was perplexed. He had just found out all of his sons had been hired by the same business and at first, the same pay. How do your employees compare with the characters in this story?
Now, some three years later, the father had learned his son Jim was being paid $3,500 a month, Frank was receiving $4,000, but George was now making $5,000.
The father decided to visit the employer and find out what had happened. The owner listened to the confused father and said, "I will let the boys show you."
Jim was summoned to the owner’s office and told, "Jim, I understand we've just received a large truck shipment. Will you please go over to the terminal and get an inventory of the shipment?"
Three minutes later, Jim returned to the office. "The cargo was 1,000 digital cameras," Jim reported. "I got the information over the telephone from a driver."
When Jim left, Frank, the $4,000 a month brother, was called. "Frank," said the owner, “I wish you'd go out and take an inventory of the truck which just arrived." An hour later, Frank was back in the office with a list showing that the truck carried 1,000 digital cameras, 500 digital clocks, and 1,000 mouse pads.
George, the $5,000 a month brother, was given identical instructions. Business hours were over when he finally returned.
"The truck had 1,000 digital cameras," he began. "I lined up a buyer and we will make a fifty percent margin on the sale. I also found 500 digital clocks, which I was able to sell in various lot sizes to four different buyers over the telephone at a profit of $15.00 each. There were also 1,000 mouse pads that I'm trying to sell on e-Bay."
When George left the office, the employer smiled. "You probably noticed," he said, "that Jim doesn't do what he's told, Frank does only what he's told, but George does without being told."
How do your employees compare with the characters in this story?
How many don't follow instructions? How many execute your orders exactly and don't deviate from those instructions? And how many do whatever it takes and then some?
THE FUTURE IS FULL OF PROMISE FOR ANYONE WHO SHOWS INITIATIVE.
According to Steven S. Little, author of The 7 Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth, the number one issue facing small business today is "finding and retaining the very best and the very brightest…..they can’t find enough good people."
How many of us, as business owners, would give anything to have nothing but fantastic employees who show initiative? Ones that work hard all the time, never complain and do more than what is asked of them, like George in the story?
Author Jeff Haden, in a recent article for Inc Magazine, has identified several characteristics that typify outstanding employees. Each one of these traits can easily fall under the general heading of taking initiative.
-Good employees are always looking ahead to the next task, while they are working on their current task. As Haden puts it, they are always "reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow." These employees are not satisfied with the status quo, they are constantly trying to improve things, that is their nature.
-Employees who are flexible represent another trait of outstanding team members. They may be given one duty to perform, then have to adapt and change the sequence or priorities of what they are doing. Haden says it this way, "When a customer's project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told that there's a problem and jump in without being asked- even if it's not their job."
-Quality employees do not have to be told what to do, they take it upon themselves to do what needs to be done. They can motivate themselves without having to receive direction. Haden feels this quality is driven by something deeper and more personal. Irrespective of what drives the person, the fact that they do not have to be supervised to a great degree, should make them a welcomed addition to your company.
Now that you know some characteristics of great employees, start to identify potential or actual high performers in your organization. Consider recognizing them in some way, maybe at staff meetings, the company picnic, or in your newsletter. Consider setting them apart and showing them your appreciation by rewarding them with better pay or more responsibility. Doing so could help take your business to the next level of growth.
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