By Michael Cruz
Most businesspeople believe that success is bred by doing more. And more and more. And many times, that makes things worse.
Success comes from being the best at what we do. Doing tasks we are good at brings energy to all of the people in your company. Success breeds success. Repeating success is easier than struggling to do things we may not be as good at. So, what am I talking about here? I am suggesting that you may become even more successful by figuring out what not to do.
Look at your products and services. List them out on a sheet of paper. Which ones are profitable? What percentage of the revenue for that sale do you keep? Which ones are always a struggle to break even with? And, it’s a sure thing that some have no profit at all—or are performed at a loss. We begin to add services or products for lots of reasons. Many of them are to add to the top line. It will increase our revenue.
However, remember that you did not get into business to sell things. You got into your business to make money. So, using critical thinking, you want to figure out where you make the most money.
This focus on profitability will help you get rid of activities that do not make you money. That frees up time to focus on the things that make you money.
There are good reasons to add to your product or service offerings. Helping to offer a more complete solution to your customers is a good one. That aids in client retention. And it should make you more money because you have expertise and a relationship that make your offering less price sensitive.
Moving into areas without that expertise has the opposite effect. When people push you into areas that you should not go, learn to say “no.”
Similarly, you should examine your workforce. Who makes you money? Who costs you money? Some of your employees do exactly as you expect. In fact, most do. A few regularly cost you money. Those few disrespect customers, management and even their co-workers. Even if you do not know who they are, their coworkers do.
Rarely do toxic employees add that trait to their resume or job application. We all know they exist. Yet, too often managers fail to address the issue. Toxic employees chase good employees out the door. Who wants to work with someone they cannot stand to be around?
They are not hard to spot. They complain about their job. They complain about coworkers. They hate their boss. Too often we look the other way. No one that I know likes firing people. So, we ignore them—but, at what cost?
Research has shown that 54 percent of your good people are likely to quit when they are working with toxic ones. That means each toxic person is likely affecting half of your workforce! What should you do?
First, your management team should be diligent at identifying the toxic ones. Identification methods involve listening to employees. If several are complaining about the same person, that is a good sign he or she is toxic. Don’t ignore the complaints. Check them out and validate them.
Most important is to pay attention to customer and employee requests not to work with them anymore. If customers ask for a different person to work with, imagine what they are costing you in lost sales.
Once identified, help them see what must change in their behavior. Make sure you time-bound the fix. If that does not work —fire them. The amazing reality is that, when you do finally fire them—more stories will come out to prove you did the right thing.