Management = Mentorship
Management equals mentorship in a country where over 50% of the population has been raised in a home without parental supervision from two stable parents. By now we all know that the breakdown of the traditional American family is plaguing our country in endless ways and it is really start to hammer American businesses with an overall lack or productivity and negativity in the workplace.
Recently I had one employer ask me if he should allow his employees to curse in the workplace, because so many of them had come from homes where cursing where common place. I actually had one business owner ask me if he should change his companies timeliness policies because such a large percentage of his employees were chronically late. Countless employers ask me what is the best way to deal with employees who spend one third of their day on their smart phones texting and updating their social media platforms. Apparently these people claim they need their phones for personal use in case of an emergency and that not allowing them to bring a smartphone to the workplace would be a violation of their rights. I personally dealt with an employee who hit on another employee in our office and actually had sex with them within the first 48 hours of meeting them. Then unbeknownst to me, the female employee involved in this situation posted on Facebook that the male employee involved in this situation was beating her and her two year old child. As an employer, and entrepreneur what are we supposed to do in that situation? Where is the rule book for those types of situations?
Call centers I work with now tell me that many of their employees, “don’t feel comfortable making calls and that making calls would give them an anxiety attack.” Frankly, why should an employer care whether an employee feels comfortable about making calls? My friend, our society has given out so many eighth place trophies kids who have never actually won anything that nearly every kid coming out of college or high school feels like they are awesome. Many of these motivation-killing schools are allowing kids to opt-out of classes that they “struggle with.” I know of two situations that happened involving people I directly know that bragged about convincing the major university that they were going to allow them pass a college course without making them ever actually pass the exams. These two men actually convinced the college that they were victims. They convinced the school that they had “learning disabilities” that they were just now discovering that “made it impossible for them to pass these courses.” Furthermore manipulated the University into believing that they were “doing their best” and that “denying them their right to a college degree was a terrible thing to do.” How is this crap possible? In both of these situations I knew that neither one of these two men ever studied. I knew that they never studied in high school either. However, in high school they were bright enough to pass the courses by being good guessers and cheaters. However, because college was harder, they were now unable to pass classes using their tricks. Thus, they quickly “discovered their learning disabilities.” A degree is not a right. Going to college is not a right. If you can’t pass the test you should fail. And if you fail you shouldn’t get a degree. Instead many universities are out there giving degrees to anybody who qualifies for a Federal Student loan that they will eventually default on. It’s unbelievable!
Now the only reason that these examples are appropriate for a book on managing effectively is because they demonstrate the kind of entitlement mindset that half of the workforce now brings to their first day on the job. They have a degree that many of them didn’t work hard for paid for by money that they never saved and they will never pay back. Now they want you to give them a “good paying job because it’s their right.” Now just a few generations ago, most American kids were aware that the Constitution gives us the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Constitution doesn’t even guarantee us happiness, because happiness is any individual decision. When you and I wake up each morning we get to decide what kind of day we are going to have. However, today’s young people are being taught in school that if they are not happy it is someone else’s fault and a doctor can prescribe them something that can help. If they can’t pass a test, it’s not their fault and the government will help. If they can’t afford a phone, it’s not their fault and the government will help. If they are fat, it’s not their fault and the government will stop the mean and terrible fast food companies from taking advantage of them. Nothing is ever their fault, it’s always the fault of somebody else. These people are being taught that there is absolutely no consequences for their action. However the world of business is very different.
In the world of business we do directly experience the consequence for our actions. If we make great products customers come back and buy from us time and time again. In the world of business it’s black and white and it is our fault if the client is not happy. If our company delivers a crappy product or service it is our company’s fault and the customer will choose to buy from someone else. And no, they won’t give us a second chance nine times out of ten. In business if we are late, our customers will get irate and then buy from our competitor and they don’t care about what “personal problems” we are having at home. In business if we can’t get the product and service done right our customers do not care about our learning disabilities. They will simply take their money and their business somewhere else that can get it right. And that is “great debacle” that many American businesses are beginning to experience in epidemic proportions. How can you grow a business with a workforce filled with people who have never been asked to be accountable for their actions? How do you grow a business with an Army of employees who believe they can’t do a pushup because of the evil fast food companies, who can’t take criticism because they believe they are victims and who believe they can’t show up on time because of the personal issues they are having at home? That is what we’re now going to tackle with two simple rules.
Rule #1 – Diligently assess potential employees before you hire them if they are not already “A Players” or “B Players” don’t hire them. If you thought someone was an “A Player” or a “B Player” and you soon find out that they are in fact a “C Player” soon after hiring them, fire them. Refer “C Players” to a church, a counselor, the Job Corps, the military or somebody who is willing to kick their butt until they get their crap together, but don’t waste your time trying to life coach bottom feeders into becoming productive citizens. Your business exists to produce great products, service and profits. Your business simply cannot afford to invest time in slackers and people who have alibis for their excuses and justifications for their failures. I always tell my people, “don’t hire people who suck at life.”
Rule #2 – Mentor your “A Players” and “B Players.” Understand that most of the people you are hiring didn’t have a good family life or a school system that made them accountable for anything, but somehow these people made it through the system and have become a functional human that is not a slacker. This in and of itself deserves some praise. However, because these people didn’t have good mentorship growing up they are going to need to get mentorship from you. And they are going to need to get it in 4 ways:
1) Modeling – You are going to have to model the behaviour that you want your employees to do. If you want your employees to be polite, you are going to have to be polite. If you want them to not be late, YOU CAN NEVER BE LATE. If you want them to read books, you are going to have to read books. Most of today’s employees simply will not follow the rules just because you say to. They will follow the rules if you earn their respect. Respect for leadership is no longer a given in today’s society where kids are allowed to talk back to their parents.You must hold yourself accountable to a higher standard if you want your employees to follow your systems and instructions.
2) Public Praise – You must catch your employees doing something well. Because these people have all be coddled and shielded from consequences, they emotionally cannot process constructive criticism the way that they should. Thus, to get them to be receptive to the feedback you and clients are giving them you must look for reasons to praise them for the good things that they actually do. Whenever they do something well smile, shake their hands, high-five them, beat a drum or just do something to share with everyone how good of job they did.
3) Assign Required Reading – Today’s employees can update their social media on their smartphones and can probably control a space station from their personal computer, but most of them struggle with reading, comprehension and critical thinking skills. Essentially they are unable to study successful people or systems that work and apply these principles into their own lives. Thus, you can’t assume that they are even unable to understand what your company memos mean as it relates to them. Many employees have hidden behind their computer screens so long that they now struggle to verbally express themselves in an effective manner. Assign these books for your people to read and hold them accountable to reading them and your business culture will exponentially improve:
“How To Win Friends and Influence People” – by Dale Carnegie
“The World’s Greatest Salesman” – by Og Mandino
“Who Owns the Ice House” – by Clifton Taulbert
4) Candid Feedback Presented With Love – You must let your employees know that you are on their team and that you are 100% committed to seeing them develop into great people. John Maxwell, the leadership guru has said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is true. And your people will simply not listen if they think your focus is only on the business tasks. Most of these people have grown up in small families where their opinion was super important. Most of these people have been told by every guidance counselor in the world, “you are the best and you have great potential!”
You telling them they did something wrong will rock their minds. We actually had one woman who worked for us who took terrible photos during training and her trainer told her that “her photos needed a lot of work” and she cried. Then after she got it together and composed herself she started crying again. Then she wrote me a super long “Facebook Message” explaining to me that she simply “could not work in an environment where her trainer was so mean.” When you give your people feedback, you must let them know that first and foremost you are committed to helping them succeed as a person, and you must mean it. You must hug before you kick. Don’t candy-coat your feedback, just make sure you go out of your way to tell them that you care before giving them candid feedback.
To make mentorship work for you, here is what you need to do:
1) Commit yet again to not hiring “C Players.” Tell your kids, tell your wife, tell your team, and tell everybody that “C Players” will not work for you.
2) Set up a “Buddy System” at work where all new employees have to shadow someone who sets a good example for how to do things the right way.
3) Put a line item into your weekly staffing meetings to “Publicly Praise” people who did a great job during the past week.
4) Put the required reading materials into your “New Hire Employee Packet” and set up a strong reward for reading them (a cash bonus) and a strong penalty (a cash fine) for not reading them.