Display your vested interest November 1, 2011

Do the right thing, even if nobody is watching.

If staff don’t have a vested interest, being an Owner means you’re kept awake at night by your money being squandered, your resources being pillaged, your dreams being destroyed and your personal aspirations being unmet.

Wearing the Owner’s hat – having a vested and genuine interest in the company’s success in its goals – requires you to look at things like the Owner would, through the lens of risk-and-return for every single activity. It requires a lot of effort – it’s exhausting… but when this effort pays off, it’s also deeply rewarding.

Professional people do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Imagine you were the owner of the business and observed what an employee did for a week. You think: “I am paying this person. Are they always delivering results?” An employee’s results speak for themselves.

If you were overbilled by your bank in fees, do you care why? Or only, when you would get your money back? Having a vested interest means you are concerned about results – never excuses. Professional people find solutions to problems to ensure results are delivered on time (of course, they also anticipate problems, and put systems in place and plan to minimise problems before they get too big).

Having a vested interest is about asking questions that get to the heart of the matter and seeing how something will positively contribute to our company goals. How much will it cost? How much return will there be? Over what time frame? Is this the best way to spend this resource right now – or just a way?

Does the effort you expend directly contribute to the company achieving its goals of sexy, frictionless and profitable? Are you expending more than you could, or is necessary? Professional people consider the value of what the Company receives, for the effort it devotes (effort might be money, time, brainpower, etc).

Professional people focus the company’s resources to deliver results that impact people with the real money (paying customers), as a priority.

Professional people wearing the Owner’s hat are also concerned about asset utilisation and company priorities, how effectively the resources of the company are used for the most important thing. For example:

  • Measurable results from hours worked
  • Money only spent on the things that will directly cause us to reach our goals
  • Equipment purchased is necessary to increase productivity or quality
  • Use of existing equipment to deliver maximal results, in line with company priorities
  • Floor space is expensive (to heat, clean, rent / own, maintain). Are we using it the most effective way? Are we spreading out because it’s comfortable, or are we “squishing in” to keep costs down?
  • Vehicles – how many hours a week are we extracting value from the vehicles we own?
  • Consistently focussed on profitability of actions

Professional people are concerned about the goals of the company first and foremost, being sexy, frictionless and profitability, because they know if the company is like a plant: if is not growing, it’s dying. Putting the welfare of the company and your colleagues first and foremost means professional people minimise  conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest is where you would gain at the expense of the company and your peers.

Professional people want to work in a successful company. A company is successful when its staff have a vested interest in that success.

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