tips for quality service
Commandments of Successful Businesses
by Carl Tompkins
I am in my 35th year in business and have had the opportunity to learn
and experience many dos and don’ts in business. I recently spent some
time considering what lies at the real heart of being a great organization—in
any industry. I’ve come to find ten specific rules that must be followed
to prosper. Companies must:
1. Be goal-oriented and incorporate the use of S.M.A.R.T. goals.
There should be no doubt about the critical nature of goals in business.
While most claim to set annual goals, few companies achieve them, because
they miss any one or all of the five components of a S.M.A.R.T. goal.
Goals must be specific enough to be understood by everyone who is involved.
Goals also must be measurable so that progress can be monitored on a regular
basis. Likewise, goals must be agreeable and realistic to all parties
involved or they will never be attained. Finally, goals must be time-bound,
with a start and a finish to each goal.
2. Follow the rule of R.E.M.E. in managing people. People are
the number-one asset within any organization; however, most employees
report feeling treated more as numbers than as people. Employees who are
not being managed properly lie at the root of every bad result in business.
There are four simple steps to take to ensure that your management of
employees is perfect and that they are represented by the above R.E.M.E.
acronym, which stands for: Requirements, Education, Measurement and Example.
All personnel must have a written job description defining what they are
paid to do. Secondly, they must be educated about how the goals within
their job descriptions are to be accomplished. Employees must have regular
and meaningful feedback (also known as measurement) about their progress.
Finally, people must have good leaders to follow and a good example is
always the best teacher.
3. Seek and embrace “change.” Businesses are no different than
individual people, as both of these parties favor the comfortable. Businesses
often do the same things over and over, never advancing. As a result,
they need to rely on some luck or positive outside influences to create
better results—what a shame! The culture within any organization must
challenge itself to improve constantly and this only can be accomplished
by changing how business is conducted. As the great saying goes, “Business
insanity is expecting different results from doing everything the same
4. Reward the messenger. Most people in corporate America today
lack the courage to share ideas, challenge the status quo, report problems
and operate well outside the box—all because they fear the penalties they
might face for rocking the boat. Yet, many hear the phrase, “We have an
open-door policy around here,” ringing through the hallowed halls of their
headquarters. Others are taught to “never shoot the messenger.” But what
does reality show? Locked doors and dead messengers lie everywhere! If
companies really are serious about improving, they must build a system
that encourages and rewards those who rock the boat.
5. Live a “zero-defect” policy. There is nothing wrong with doing
things right the first time, yet businesses lose enormous sums of money
each year due to rework. Why? We have created the environment and mindset
that making mistakes is part of doing business and that it’s okay. Wrong!
Enact policies, procedures and rewards built around a zero-defect tolerance.
6. Serve to save the customer. In conducting business, service
is everything! Not one step of the customer cycle should be set on doing
anything less than delivering a dazzling experience. The idea behind this
is based on choice and attitude, yet, still today, 67 percent of customers
don’t return to a company because of a perceived attitude of indifference.
7. Be just and true in all matters. It is important to avoid the
traps of politics, egos and pride. Even the Bible declares nothing good
in any of these three words and, in the world of business, I’ve witnessed
instances in which these subjects cost companies millions of dollars.
There are people who will sacrifice what is best for the organization
and focus only on what’s best for them, regardless of what unjust actions
occur to others. This is the toughest of all commandments to follow since
even the worst of violators would argue that they’ve never crossed this
line. It’s amazing what greed can cause people to do. The best reason
to follow this rule is to understand that there are great, long-term rewards
for doing the right thing, being honest and following the Golden Rule.
8. Be reliable in the provision of products and services. Simply
put, if your products and/or services don’t provide what was promised,
you’re out of business! Even a free product that doesn’t work is too expensive.
Studies indicate that there is no substitute for reliability; it is America’s
number-one buying factor.
9. Seek, establish and maintain partnerships with customers. The
mindset of building partnerships with customers is one that causes companies
to do more than furnish a product at the right price. As long as people
run companies, relationships are going to count for a lot in terms of
long-term business. While one organization is the supplier and the other
is the buyer, both must feel that they operate together, forever, and
that this partnership creates mutual success for both organizations. Such
relationships are a challenge to create, but are even harder to break.
10. Operate with a spirit of thanksgiving. Humans are made up
of three components: body, mind and spirit. Since businesses are merely
a collection of individual people working as a team toward common objectives,
it is safe and accurate to say that the same notion of body, mind and
spirit permeates the organization as well. When it comes to the spiritual
aspect within any organization, companies will best succeed when pausing
regularly to consider their good fortune and levels of accomplishment.
Carrying on with a spirit of thanks for the many things you have (rather
than agonizing over the remaining few you don’t) allows for a healthy
and sustaining business culture.
Carl Tompkins is the global marketing resources manager for Sika
Corp. in Madison Heights, Mich. He is based in Spokane, Wash. Mr. Tompkins’
opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.