Thursday, April 04, 2013

What Does Success Look Like?

Is your company a success?
This is a question I've received from time to time since I became a business owner in 2007.  My response?  "What's your definition of success?"
It's a tough question to answer because success could mean a variety of things.  Is it 10% profits?  Low turnover? Extra time with your children? Not living paycheck to paycheck?  Survival? Large paycheck? 
The definition of success is different for everyone.  The problem is that we often let others define success for us.  We see other businesses that have more employees or more offerings or bigger offices and we all the sudden shift our definition of success.
Is that wise?  Not in my opinion.
Social media has exasperated this issue when each post becomes a competition to see who is more valuable, reliable, wonderful, etc.  It's like little league parents on steroids.
Bottom line: You can't judge yourself (or base your idea of success) on someone else.  Not in business or in life.  We all come from different backgrounds and experiences.  For example, I can't judge my small firm based on a much larger, nationwide company  I'll never measure up.  I can only judge my company on where it was 10 years ago or 5 years ago.  We can only judge ourselves based on where we came from.
In this pursuit of success (mainly defined by others), many businesses loose site of their focus and the vision they built their company on in the first place.
Define your own success and focus on your vision.  Don't try and measure up based on what others are accomplishing.
So, what is my definition of success:  profitable company at the end of each year,  eagerness to come to work each morning, and having fun each day.  Today, my company is a success.
-Ron Ameln, SBM

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Are You Meeting Employee Needs?

I  had a great conversation today with Dr. David "Doc" Vik, former culture coach at Zappos.  Vik, who is now an author (He has a new book out, "The Culture Secret:  How to Empower People and Companies No Matter What You Sell.")
We talked for an upcoming culture article that will highlight some of Vik's views on building a successful culture (see that article soon in SBM).  I did, however, want to share some of Vik's ideas on what employees need.  I have highlighted the three things he believes employees need.  See how your company stacks up:
1.  Purpose.  Employees today don't want to waste time.  They've seen their parents, family, friends, etc. work like dogs and then get let go in an instance.  So, today's employees don't want to waste their time.  They are looking for value.  They want to know that what they do matters.
2.  Autonomy.  They want some freedom to solve problems and help the company succeed.  They don't want to be micro-managed.
3.  Compensation.  They want to make a decent living. This certainly hasn't changed over the years.
Hit all three of these and your company won't have a problem attracting and retaining the best employees.  "If leaders don't think they have to focus on attracting and retaining the best employees in today's hyper competitive war for talent, they are living in the past," Vik said.  "The employees and customers of today have a choice and a voice.  Take care of your people, never stop innovating and leave customers wowed."
-Ron Ameln, SBM