Take control by recruiting, hiring, training and rewarding the right people.

About a year ago, I was talking with a trainer who specializes in sales and sales coaching. He wanted to know why some owners and managers refuse to hold their people accountable to their own sales standards. He genuinely wanted them to be successful.

So, why would a contracting firm spend so much time and money training its techs on selling and setting sales goals and then not hold the techs accountable for the sales standards it created?

It's easy for me to understand. I have owned and operated a PHC business. That's not to say this trainer doesn't understand the business. He absolutely does. The fact is, he's freer than most to see how crazy this business is.

That's because he hasn't experienced the awful truth that only we know.

We don't hold people accountable for fear they just might quit. And then, where would we be? We'd have to add their work to our own overwhelming pile and climb into that truck ourselves. Or, accept that there's going to be a truck sitting in our yard while the calls pile up and the sales we so desire get away.

Admit it. That's why you're afraid to hold people accountable.

I told the sales trainer that I, too, see the same unwillingness to hold people accountable when talking about creating written policies and procedures. I tell them what I'm telling you: “The real test is not how many policies and procedures you have; it's how many you enforce each and every time with each and every employee.”

Recruit, Hire, Train & Reward

I know there are those of you who feel content because you invested a lot of time and money creating policies, procedures and standard operating procedures, but you're at great risk if you're falling down on the enforcement of them. Talk about being exposed to huge legal liabilities! Not to mention you're undermining the company's morale by creating and tolerating primadonnas. Your inconsistent enforcement is to blame for a variety of workplace missteps.

If you're going to create a comprehensive operations manual that documents in writing how you do everything in your business, and by whom, you need to back it up with some teeth and some guts.

Let's get to the root of your inability to take control. It's because you haven't learned the skills you need to recruit, hire, train and reward the right people.

Owners and managers must think about what's going on from an employee's perspective and not just their own. If an employee feels irreplaceable, why would he feel he had to do anything more than the bare minimum to keep from getting fired? You're lucky that this employee comes to work at all, let alone on time. You're completely at his or her mercy because you tolerate it.

Imagine for a minute that you own a baseball team instead of a PHC company. What would happen if you have a star centerfielder who feels there is no free agent out there or rookie in the minors who could take his place? You'd have to just hope he feels like hustling. Wouldn't you? And if he feels like hustling, what if he decides to test the free agent market? Who's in trouble now? You are!

You're going to stay in trouble until you commit to what it takes to reach the next level, which is always to be recruiting, hiring, training and rewarding. It's the only way to hold people accountable. It's the only way to grow your company as big and as successful as you want.

You're going to need to do some things first:

    1. Write ads that attract the right person by addressing the “What's in it for me?” question.

    2. Create an interview process that identifies the most willing person for the job.

    3. Create a hiring process that identifies the right person to work for you.

    4. Create a written orientation manual and training program that indoctrinates and provides basic training to the new employee.

    5. Create sales training.

    6. Create operational and technical training based on your written procedures and policies.

    7. Create the environment that makes role-plays and hands-on learning a reality.

Recruit and hire the right people the first time, invest in them systematically with training and then you can hold them accountable. Then, go tell your primadonna tech, “Don't want to play ball our way? No problem. I've got someone who's been dying for a chance to drive your truck. He starts tomorrow.”

Do this and feel the power of holding people accountable.

Levi At ISH North America

Al Levi is a scheduled speaker at this year's ISH North America trade show held Oct. 14-16 in Boston. He will present his “Operating Power!” seminar Thursday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m., and his “Leadership Power!” seminar Friday, Oct. 15 at 9:45 a.m. To register for the show, visit www.ish-na.com.