May 11, 2021

Walk Your Business

By Paul Daniels

Last week during a Zoom meeting I commented how refreshing it was to have one of the principals attending the meeting.  You could tell that the group was very comfortable having ownership involved. I mentioned in my past life that my boss called it OOP—owner on premises. He had attended a seminar by Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, who took it one step further by observing that leaders in successful companies make it a habit to walk the business. Peters explains “that the best managers are accessible, interested and accountable.” By talking to people in all areas of your business they will feel that they are also stake holders. This habit will relax people and make them feel a part of the team. When they only see management when there is a problem it is hard to make them feel relaxed when they see you coming.

In a recent tweet Tom Peters explains: “Leaders do not earn their pay by having the right answers. They earn their pay by (1) pulling together a great group of people … and then by (2) asking the most probing questions.”

Another of his great quotes says, “You cannot expect customers to love your company before your employees do.” Today companies spend a lot of time and money surveying customers and soliciting their opinions. They often fail to spend time talking and listening to their own team members who can offer a lot of suggestions and solutions based on their experience. This also gives you an opportunity to add some positive reinforcement to the jobs they are doing. In an article by Vala Afshar from June 8, 2020 he lists 11 takeaways from an interview he did with Tom Peters. Number 3 is: “Positive reinforcement is 30X more powerful than negative reinforcement.”

“Caring about your employees, as well as customers, is good for business.”