There are companies in our profession and other professions that seem to defy gravity and convert average results into long-term superiority. What are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great, from average to providing a premium service? Outlined below are five steps on how to develop Company Culture that delivers premium service.
STEP ONE: FIRST ADDRESS “WHO” …not "WHAT"
When you decide to provide Premium Service, you might think setting a new Vision and Strategy would be the primary focus.
Companies providing a premium service have learned the following:
“They got the right people on their bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats… and THEN figured out where to drive.”
The old adage, “people are your most important asset” turns out to be wrong. People are NOT your most important asset. The RIGHT people are!
Three “WHO” principles:
- When in doubt; don’t hire – keep looking
- When you know you need to make a change, ACT (make sure you don’t have someone in the wrong seat)
- Put your BEST people on your BIGGEST OPPORTUNITIES, not your BIGGEST PROBLEMS
Whether someone is the RIGHT PERSON to help you Attain Premium Service has more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than with specific knowledge or skills.
IN OUR PROFESSION…
- You need to replace negative attitudes
- The most damaging employee can be the one that QUIT and STAYED!
- You can’t make someone a TOP PRODUCER – YOU HIRE THEM!
- It is impossible to motivate someone who refuses to be motivated
- You are only as strong as your weakest employee
STEP TWO: CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS
Begin the process of confronting the brutal facts of your current reality. You must create a company culture where people have a tremendous opportunity to be heard and ultimately, for the truth to be heard.
Creating a company culture where the truth is heard involves four basic practices.
- Lead with questions, not answers
- Engage in dialogue and debate
- Conduct autopsies, without blame
- Build a red flag mechanism that turns information into information that cannot be ignored.
You need to react to adversity differently by hitting them head on.
Often management is very concerned about, “How do we motivate our people?” Spending time and energy trying to motivate people is a waste of effort. If you hire the right people they will be self-motivated. They key is to NOT de-motivate them. One of the primary ways to de-motivate people is to ignore brutal facts of reality.
Develop an OUTSIDE/IN approach to the individuals we serve:
If you want to know how to elevate the level of service you provide, survey these three customers and their feedback will give you direction. You want to take your direction from the people you serve. Annual surveys will provide the information you need to continually improve the strong working relationships you establish with your three customers.
STEP THREE: SIMPLISTIC FOCUS
The key is to understand what your company CAN be the best in the world at, and equally important what it CANNOT be the best at - not what you WANT to be the best at. This focus is not a goal, strategy or intention. It is an understanding.
Consider the three following questions:
- What is your company PASSIONATE ABOUT?
- What CAN you be the BEST at?
- What drives your ECONOMIC ENGINE?
Conduct revenue modeling:
- Where have you made Placements?
- What is your BEST business?
- Where are your highest margins?
- Where do you make the greatest PROFITS?
Consider industry, salaries, geographic, title…
You are in business to make a PROFIT. You need to focus 85% of your company’s marketing efforts at your best business. It is easier to provide premium service when you are multi-using your candidates and clients. You are focusing your efforts where you know you can provide RESULTS.
STEP FOUR: A CULTURE OF COMMITMENT AND DISCIPLINE
Sustained premium service and growth depends upon building a company culture filled with self-disciplined people who take disciplined action on a consistent basis. On one hand, it requires your employees to adhere to a repeatable consistent system. Yet on the other hand, it gives your people freedom and responsibility within the framework of your system.
Your entire company must understand the 80/20 RULE. It is very important that your team realizes two concepts:
- Best Use of Time
- Quarterly review of Results
- Continue Doing
- Stop Doing
- New Techniques
If you want to continually improve, change is necessary.
- Rewards for attendance
- Company events
- Referral Fees
- Performance Reviews
- Career Counseling
- Honest Communication
- Weekly updates
- On-site management
- Value Added Services
- Critique Process
- Conflict Resolution
- Referral Bonus
- Rewards for Creativity
- Individual Management
- Knowledge of Personal, Education and Business Goals
STEP FIVE: TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATION
How your company reacts to technological changes is a good indicator of your inner drive for greatness versus mediocrity. You need to think differently about technology and become a pioneer in the application of technology to improve efficiencies.
If you want to deliver premium service you must stay competitive with the technology being utilized by your clients.
Delivering a premium service must become a term that describes your organization from the newest employee to the top executive of your company.
It can also include simple actions including:
- Cards for personal events
- Gift certificates for outstanding performance
- Thank you notes for invoices paid
- Gifts sent to accounts payable
It becomes part of your culture and the message is clear and defined to your candidates, clients and employees. It becomes the way your company conducts business.