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Dale Hammernik On Why Managers SHOULD Sweat the Small Stuff

I’m going to deliver a bit of a rant today, and I hope you’ll forgive me in advance.

I suppose the subject would be consistent with the traits which make for success in my chosen profession, how I like to run my business, and my particular tendencies. However, that doesn’t mean this is any less true.

There’s a disturbing trend for small business owners these days. I don’t know if it’s because of the skyrocketing demands on our attention or exactly what is the possible explanation for it, but it’s a surefire way to allow your business to fail (notice my word choice there– ‘allow’).

Enough introduction, read on for what I hope is a shot in the arm of inspiration and, perhaps, a healthy challenge…

Dale Hammernik On Why Managers SHOULD Sweat the Small Stuff
“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.” – John Lennon

Perhaps it’s not at all surprising that today’s manager is pulled in so many directions — and often does such a poor job.

It’s the irony of the digital age — we have so many tools at our disposal to “virtually” connect with one another, that the real work of connecting in person is becoming a lost art. Posting status updates, sending emails, blogging (yes, I get the irony), texting — we’ve forgotten how to work without the digital assistance.

And, ultimately, being a business manager is about actual interpersonal influence and leadership. When you’re used to leading virtually, it’s harder to lead in person.

Even worse, perhaps because of all of these distractions (or, perhaps because of a modern, misplaced desire to be liked) managers learn to ignore the “small things”, because there are just so many to keep track of that it seems “uptight” to track them.But when you start relaxing standards in the small tasks of your business, your bottom line will eventually be the real victim.

I was watching a speech from a corporate training expert, Stephen Paskoff, and he told an illustrative story.

Starting his first “real” job as a part-time salesperson at a shoe store, he was told by his boss to show up for his first day wearing a dark suit and a white shirt. But since Paskoff owned only a heavy gray suit of wool, and when the day dawned hot and muggy, he decided to avoid sweating all day by wearing a dark-blue blazer and matching slacks.

He walked into the store and was immediately greeted by his boss with, “Where’s your suit?” Paskoff replied, “It’s hot, and this is just like a suit.”

The boss told him, “I said a suit, not ‘just like a suit.’ Go home and come back in a suit if you have one. If not, forget it.”

Paskoff went home, changed, and spent his first month of work at the shoe store sweating until he could afford a lighter-weight suit.

What’s your response to that story? Do you think this is over the top? Perhaps you do — but you’d also be missing the part where this boss got results. Do you think that Paskoff was inclined to slack off on other managerial expectations after such a response? No, much like the “Broken Window Theory” often cited by economists, when we actually sweat the small stuff — and do it with the social grace of a caring leader — everything changes.

Feel very free to share this article with a Waukesha County business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Waukesha County families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Dale Hammernik
(414) 545-1890

Hammernik & Associates