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Ken Keller: Too many wear crowns

Posted: July 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

 

One of the key research findings outlined in Keith McFarland’s book “The Breakthrough Company” is that there should only be one crown worn in every organization.

The book suggests that crown should not adorn the head of the owner.

That’s a tough message for an owner to receive. What owner hasn’t sacrificed blood sweat, toil and tears in an effort to start, grow, and beat the long odds of success to have a business?

Hasn’t the owner earned the right to wear the crown and have all the trappings of business ownership royalty?

And, truth be told, many vice presidents, directors, managers and supervisors wear a crown too.

For some reason, they believe they deserve it. Just ask them.

For breakthrough companies, the crown belongs to someone else. It should be placed on the head of the customer.

McFarland’s findings suggest that by providing the customer with the crown, two critical things happen.

The first is that the customer will know they are truly considered royalty by the company, which is not something that takes place all that often. Truth be told, many companies pay lip service to their customers.

The second is that with the customer as the focus, employees align. No department is considered more important than the other; none is less than any other. Each department plays an important role in serving the customer, and those roles are delineated.

Because the owner has given up the crown, he or she can make the change from being the all powerful, all knowing King or Queen of the company to a position with greater responsibility and impact: Chief Talent Scout and Head Coach.

When this change takes place, the business no longer needs a leader to make sure every customer is taken care of, because when the customer becomes royalty and every employee understands that, the role of the former chief of everything shifts.

The mission of the Chief Talent Scout and Head Coach is simple: develop the talent in the company. This is done by recruiting the right people to the organization, successfully on-boarding them into the culture and placing them in the role where they can have the strongest positive impact.

The coaching responsibility is to take someone who is already successful and assist them to become even more valuable to the company. Done correctly and consistently, the company will become more valuable.

Part of the new job description is to prevent loyalty from becoming a liability. This is done by ensuring that each member of the organization is evaluated objectively using clear and established goals.

Businesses can have employees who have been outgrown by the company. This is a sad and true fact, and it is sometimes overlooked.

Allowances are often made due to longevity with the firm, but in the end, the question arises whether the employee is contributing to the level needed by the company at that time or in the future.

A key responsibility of the Chief Talent Scout and Head Coach is to insure that the performance evaluation process is actually carried out.

Managers and supervisors say the reason for delaying evaluations is because the time required to conduct them properly is not available. Often the underlying reason is they do not want to have a difficult conversation with an under-performing employee.

The goal of this orientation change is a happier and more satisfied client base, an aligned organization that knows what the priorities are, and an organization filled with talented people who work for a growing and profitable organization, thus insuring employment with a future.

Ken Keller facilitates The Wise Owners Advisory Boards, bringing business owners together for education, sharing and on-going success. Contact him at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

 

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