When was the last time you really saw your entire team step up, get excited become passionately committed to a new project for more than a week, and all pull together to change for the better? It’s magic when it happens, and I was privileged to see it happen over the past 60 days when this dedicated yet money-losing family-run business learned how to finally light a fire. In the first month they laid the foundations for profitability with just a couple of members of the senior team, and much to their surprise found they easily hit break-even just by implementing a few powerful strategies. Then, we took it to the team.
- We started with mindset. I always say that the only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper. When they participated in the Profit in Plain Sight Kickoff Workshop at the beginning of this year, they realized that they’d been living in a cold wet one. Initial skepticism vanished and was replaced by “how do I help”.
- We helped each of them understand how they could make a difference. We established a wildly important goal of doubling their Customer Profitability Ratio by the end of the quarter (what was MOST interesting is that the goal they set themselves was almost twice as much as the CEO was willing to settle for!) and they created a scorecard that showed them exactly what to do to achieve that goal. Then, we layered in learning and a just-like-brushing-your-teeth rhythm of focus and accountability where each person made a weekly commitment to help move the ratio. Since then, they’ve huddled and collaborated weekly to identify who their most profitable customers are, update the scorecard and action plan to shift behaviors (internal and customer) that were negatively affecting profitability. Slowly but surely, they’re moving the ratio and feeling energized and in charge as they see results.
Prior to starting ProfitU, the employees were not particularly engaged – they all felt that they were working hard already and had little interest in being asked to “work harder” – that’s a wet diaper. We’ve been able to show them instead how to focus their efforts so that there’s no need to work harder – in fact, they’re just working smarter and seeing results. That’s the dry diaper!!
Fortunately the leadership is very transparent about the numbers, and wanted everyone to pull together so that a generous profit sharing program could be launched. They’d already tried conventional strategies including highly-discounted sales promotions, deep cost-cutting, and personal loans by the CEO to keep things afloat, but none of those outdated strategies made a difference.
Employee Engagement Activities Allow Everyone to be Part of the Solution.
Everyone now realizes they have a role to play in creating profitability that goes far beyond number crunching and relies solely on small shifts in behaviors. Their early wins so far include:
- Changing some of their own “self-inflicted wound” behaviors, such as financing their customers by allowing receivables to age well beyond 120 days. They’ve had an immediate positive impact on cash flow.
- Having some eye-opening executive-level meetings with their 50 largest customers that’s helped them uncover new business opportunities but ALSO has identified costly issues in the way they do business that they can now eliminate for good, along with the associated costs.
- Implementing a disciplined approach to take all of the wins, whether from cost savings, new business, or price increases and tuck them into the profit piggy-bank. Some of those funds will finance growth, and some will go back to the employees for profit-sharing as promised.
Can you afford NOT to implement this type of highly profitable employment engagement activity? Research with over 90,000 employees worldwide found that only one in five employees are fully engaged, and that has a tangible impact on profit and growth. Firms with low levels of employee engagement experienced a 33 percent decline in operating income, while in contrast, those with high engagement saw a 19 percent increase in operating income. These folks are engaging employees to engage their customers, and the results after just 60 days are highly promising.
When you’re ready to create more engagement and higher profits, contact me for information about ProfitU, the innovative, online-learn-by-doing program this team is implementing to create tangible, take-it-to-the-bank results. ProfitU is applied learning done weekly in-house by a cross-functional team and takes less time per week than employees are spending on email. In just the first 90 days, this company has poured the foundations to double their profits and then double them again in the coming year. During the next 3 semesters, they’ll apply more than 50 additional Profit Accelerators to build a strong, sustainable bottom line that will take them from barely surviving… to absolutely thriving.
An application for a limited number of places in ProfitU is required. If you know this is the year to increase employee engagement and profitability, let’s talk! Email me and we’ll set up a time to explore where you’re at, where you want to go, and how ProfitU may be able to help you get there.