A business owner was going on an extended journey and would not be available to make the daily decisions that impacted the business. He entrusted three of his top advisers to invest the company’s earnings while he was gone.
Bob, who had been with the company for 23 years and was the division leader for new products, knew right off the bat what to do with his department. He immediately went to work on planning a new product line that would return a 38% profit for the company.
Susan, who was the chief financial officer and had been with the company for 13 years, knew what her next step was after receiving information from the business owner. She immediately put into action a plan to help control expenses of the business. Her goal was to cut 8% of the production cost for each item.
David, who was the department head for inventory and had been with the company for 15 years, knew his next step. He decided to keep everything as it was and not change a thing. He put no additional effort or leadership into his decision-making process to improve the company financially. He was satisfied with the way things were going and did not want to rock the boat.
When the owner returned, he met with Bob, Susan and David. Bob was promoted and given the corner office with the scenic view of the city skyline. Susan was also promoted and given a large bonus at Christmas for saving the company millions of dollars. David is still the department head for inventory and is happy at his current position.
I know what you may be asking yourself: Why didn’t the owner fire David? The other two advisers improved the bottom line of the company, and David kept processes as they were.
That’s the reason the owner could take off and let decision making fall to the next level of leadership. He knew that Bob looked for the bigger office, or more tangible items for his rewards. He also knew that Susan was driven by the paycheck. And the owner knew that Bob spent a lot of time with his family, since he was a single parent of three boys still in grade school. He let them be inspired by what motivated them, and it paid off.
As decision makers in business, we need to try and understand all the different hats the people around us wear every day — along with what drives them. We must come to know how to get the best out of people based on what’s important to them. If we’re consumed by what we think should happen and how it should be, we’ll miss out on the opportunity to impact others’ lives in positive ways. Life throws a lot at us, and how we respond will affect many different people that we may never see.
Stop! Take time to know the people you see every day. Their concerns, hopes and dreams are important, too!
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