Comments Off on Lessons From My Dog On How to Run A Business

If you work very hard on improving your liabilities you wind up with slightly improved liabilities. That isn’t much help, is it? Yoko’s idea of a salad makes me sick. If she works hard to make me happy she might add a few pieces of choice garbage to her pile of chewed on weeds, twigs and whatever else she finds of interest. It may be improved in her mind but I still don’t want to go anywhere near it. As a salad chef she fails badly, even if she tries harder.

She is, however, really good as a guide dog. Without any special training she will get me pretty close to an entry door. This isn’t bad, but can be better, so I use what we know as clicker training and in a few minutes she takes me close enough to the door so her nose touches it. I no longer need to feel around for a door while praying I don’t inadvertently grab somebody in the process. Now that’s something that matters.

Needless to say (but I will anyway) the same applies to any business. Your business success is not due to your somewhat improved spelling now that you use a spell checker. It isn’t due to your improved computer skills now that you have taken a course in Excel. It is because you offer a few special qualities that are hard to find and valuable to your Clients. Working on these attributes can move you from good to Great. Let somebody else do your spreadsheets.

As you might expect the same is true for your employees. Like Yoko, if your Collection Person is the lowest person on the Staff Totem Pole there is a good chance they will not do very well at the job. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but you need to give a person that job who can handle getting yelled out without losing their cool, can show a debtor what makes the bill legitimate and can express some empathy when managing payment plans. If the Employee starts out with unpolished skills, training can make them truly superior. Otherwise, like Yoko and the salad, they are not going to get the job done.

Checking the history of a new hire or potential Tenant requires different skills but the concept is the same. If your potential evaluator understands how Credit Scores are derived, how a person listed as a business reference could actually be a friend of the applicant pretending to be the boss and how to check previous addresses for constant movement they are on track. They can then be trained to get job information from a disinterested person in Human Resources or how the available credit summary line can tell you more than the score. If, on the other hand, they just make calls to whoever is on the application and take the Credit scores without looking at other information they may not have the temperament to dig deeper and cannot do a good job in this area. Training will help, but you want somebody with the temperament to dig for the truth.

Quite simply choose somebody who is comfortable on a telephone to do telephone work. Choose a person who likes finding answers to check applications. Then work with them to create a superior Employee. Doing the job is not the answer; it is doing the job well.

Yoko knows the score. She has stopped offering me salad but learns very quickly which doors I need to enter frequently. She was always good at it, and the training made her great.

I rely on her competence as a Guide. I can do without her salad. So can you.