Imagine that Bob, your sharp, clean-cut and friendly service technician arrives at Mrs. Jones’s house. Following company protocol he parks his van, greets Mrs. Jones and begins to troubleshoot the system. Bob presents Mrs. Jones an upgrade along with the repair estimate. Although Mrs. Jones wants to pursue the smart thermostat installation, she opts for ONLY the repair.
Do you remember when businesses began to install curb-free and step-free access to buildings? This began at the end of the last century because of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). According to this Act, physical barriers impeding access to buildings must be removed wherever they exist.
Last week we spoke about being able to live in the your home for as long as possible as you age. Added to this, of course, is availability of the assistance and services required to maintain safety and quality of life. This is known as Aging in Place.
They’d been married for over 50 years when he died. At 80 she was in decent health but she wasn’t able to take care of the one acre, 2,900 square foot homestead by herself. So with the help of her children, she sold the house and downsized into a condo. Surrounded by 4 children, 8 grandchildren and one great grandchild, she had an incredible will to live. She chose a two-story condo because, in her mind, she needed the exercise of going up and down stairs.
I’m sitting here this morning looking out from my hotel balcony at the Gulf of Mexico. We just concluded the Service Nation Alliance Spring meeting and the Spring 2017 International Roundtable events in St. Pete Beach, Florida. I live due east, a little over an hour away. One thing that I’m always amazed at is the difference in culture between the Fla beaches and my neighborhood. Take away the palm trees and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between my community and a general U.S. suburb. The Beach culture however, is distinct and consistent. Gentle sea breeze, sand, rum-laced drinks, laid back lifestyle and never more than ten minutes away from a Jimmy Buffet song. Matter of fact, one of our luncheon’s theme was Cheeseburger in Paradise.
My most powerful take away from the week’s events is the importance of a vibrant and healthy company culture. It surfaced directly and indirectly in almost every single talk, seminar and panel discussion.
In fact, in one panel discussion where the panelists spoke about the pros and cons to adding additional services to your business, the concept of culture found its way into the conversation even though the separate panelists offered diverse company backgrounds. For example, if you’re an HVAC contractor considering purchasing an electrical company, make sure your cultures are compatible.
Your Company Has a Culture
Did you ever get into a rut? Like struggling in a pit of quicksand, the harder you try to get out, the deeper you sink. The harder you work at trying to implement performance pay, the further away you get. And, if your own effort isn’t enough of an obstacle, you seemingly have an army of imaginary and some not so imaginary rapscallions greasing the walls of your ever-deepening rut.
Just exactly what is a thought leader? I’d always had this image of wisely whitebeards doling out visions of the near future while effortlessly articulating brilliance that kept folks like myself scrambling for dictionaries and Google in a mad dash to understand.
”It’s my dream company! I wish I could work there but it’s impossible to get in.”
Is this what they say about your company?
How do you generate talk like this?
Fortune, the magazine, has been publishing a list called “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” for the last twenty years. This year’s issue came out in March. Paging through it I looked for common traits and characteristics; why did employees want to work for these companies? The following are similar reasons that appear across many different companies on the list.
Do me a favor, okay? Please click and read “Could Your Company Become an Award Winning Company?” a Matt Michel article.
Matt talks about your company entering contests, why you won’t enter contests and finally what to do if you do win a contest. I find it interesting that Matt spends the most time writing about why you will not or why you hesitate to enter contests. The fact that your head was nodding in acknowledgement while you read that section is exactly why our salsa-making-CEO devoted so much time to it.
Your eyebrows just burrowed down upon your eyes. “Salsa?” they ask.
Shoulders slump forward as they pull along an imaginary ball and chain in the dreadful hallway on way to an inevitable fate. They walk a version of the Green Mile every Monday, Thursday and Friday morning. That would be the day of your sales, service and install meetings. An outsider’s look at this motley crew? Prisoners on their way to the torture chamber. An insider’s look? Pretty much the same.
Did you ever get into an exciting conversations with your friends? Perhaps you were sitting around a fireplace on the first day of vacation. The relaxing notion of five more days of freedom, a few cold ones and no one looking over your shoulder sets the stage for a spirited exploration on launching a make-believe company. Ideas build upon ideas and soon everyone starts raising their what-if? / could we? eyebrows.
Perhaps it wasn’t make-believe. Maybe you, the warehouse manager and one of your installers started talking about ways to improve your warehouse operation. Ideas started building upon ideas. Like a rock climber who gains a toehold over another building upon his ascent; incremental progress leads to new vistas.
As an HVAC, Plumbing and or Electrical contractor, do you employ human beings? Are your customers human beings? In your world of work, isn’t it really humans being with humans?
Why then do we continue to make it so mechanical, so corporate, so impersonal?
IDEO is a global design company: “We create positive impact through design.”
Design companies like IDEO create, make useful stuff and make stuff better.
While every company in one way or the other solves problems, design companies are paid to solve specific problems. So we shouldn’t be surprised to learn of the science, sophistication and thought that goes into problem solving.
The intellectual firepower of a design firm like IDEO is equivalent to the business and player talent it requires for an NFL team to win seven or eight Super Bowls in a row. In order to design and problem solve effectively IDEO, in spite of its world class arsenal, breaks down a problem to its bare essence. On its way to a clear understanding of the problem, they seek a clear understanding of WHO is involved, they seek to understand those humans being humans.
Let’s explore a company trying to make stuff better. Its goal? To make their workspace more creative.