Tag Archives: Maintain

How Do You Get Comfortable Delegating to Staff? Eight Points

Situation: A CEO senses that employees don’t have his sense of urgency regarding the business. A case in point is responding quickly to new customer inquiries in a competitive market. Too often, he takes over to assure that bids are submitted quickly. How do you get comfortable delegating to staff?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Prepare for a meeting with staff by defining the key desired standards in advance.
  • Initiate the meeting with this message: “We have a company image. This is how we define it.” Work with staff to create standards that define this image.
  • Agree on standards with the team.
    • Discuss standards with the team but have them make the decision. Guide the conversation – through questions – to focus on the desired standards. Be open to using the language developed by staff to enhance ownership.
  • Examples of standards that may apply:
    • Response time to incoming calls, maximum number of rings before response.
    • Time to return telephone messages.
    • Time to return emails.
    • Invoices completed the day or the order, or whatever is appropriate.
  • Establish a response regimen – assure that response is professional.
    • Train all people who pick up the phone.
    • Assign rotating office days for salespeople with responsibility to answer the phones.
  • Emphasize the importance of speedy response with an explanation that everyone will understand.
    • When a customer calls, assume that they are also calling 2-3 other suppliers. The first responder can shape the conversation in favor of their company and offering – for example the company can offer both a solution plus design and logistics assistance.
    • As first responded, assure that the focus is on the company’s strengths – this puts the competition at an immediate disadvantage.
  • Enforce and maintain the standards
    • Once standards are set, make review and updates of performance against standards part of weekly sales meetings. Use large charts to track this.
    • Create friendly internal competition. Who got the most business last week? Who did the best with incoming calls? Have the team develop competitive goals.
    • Recognize top performers with $50 – $100 cash award, restaurant certificate, etc. Make it fun!
  • If “everyone” is supposed to pick up the phone this becomes “nobody” because nobody is responsible for picking up the phone!

How Do You Prepare for an Acquisition? Six Suggestions

Situation: A company is purchasing another company to expand its product offering. The CEO is concerned that the employees need to stay focused through the closing date. He is also concerned about retaining key employees both of his company and the company that he is buying. How do you prepare for an acquisition?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Until the deal closes, don’t change anything about your current direction.
  • As you negotiate and move to close, be mindful of competitive bids.
    • This will help to keep the deal in place.
    • It may also open the option to put together the deal and then seek competitive bids to fund the deal through private equity groups.
  • Get three second opinions – learn what could go wrong with this deal so that you can plan and anticipate.
  • To assure that you retain key staff take the following steps:
    • Hire consultants: HR, financial, see what they recommend.
    • Offer key employers favorably priced options for a combined minority position in the company. This offers them an upside and will be an effective retention package.
  • What else can be done to retain key employees.
    • Let them know how this acquisition will position the company as the Dream Team company in your space.
    • Explain how this acquisition gets the company closer to a true exit strategy which will be financially beneficial to them.
  • If you can assure key employees that they will not experience any change in their job, title, responsibilities or compensation, retention may not be an issue.