A lot of companies seem to complicate the process of improvement. The big question of … where do you start … seems to be the big problem. With so many issues to address, they flounder in the process. Rather than talk about how to get better, how to improve, how to streamline, how to reduce costs, or how to deliver better service to your customer, I find it better to first identify the most important core competencies your company must possess to succeed.
Our educational system is geared toward teaching us to find the “Right Answer.” By the time a student finishes college, they have taken over 2,500 tests, quizzes, and exams all fixated upon finding out if they know the right answer: the one and only possible answer. But, when we get out into the business world, we find there could be several different answers to solving a problem.
Andrew Carnegie hired Charles M. Schwab to run US Steel in 1921 and paid him $1 million per year. That was $3,000 per day, when people who made $50 per week, were considered well off. He was not hired because he knew more about steel than anyone else. Carnegie hired him because he was a genius at dealing with people. There was a book written about Mr. Schwab back in 1912 entitled Succeeding with What You Have. I would like to pull a short excerpt from the book that gives a great example of how Mr. Schwab was able to motivate his people to accomplish more without threats, condemnation, fear, criticism, intimidation, or pressure.
It seems crazy to spend so much money properly training employees only to run them off with a BAD BOSS. A boss has an incredible influence over the employee experience. We’ve all heard the phrase “employees leave bosses, not companies.” Well, it’s true. In fact, 57% of employees leave their jobs because of their boss and 82% leave because of lack of recognition. Those are horrific statistics.
To throw down the gauntlet means … to challenge. The term comes from the time of medieval knights when a knight would offer a challenge by throwing down his gauntlet (a metal glove which formed part of his suit of armor). The other knight accepted the challenge by picking up the gauntlet; to take up the gauntlet means to accept a challenge.