Friday, December 29, 2017

Household Management - By The Numbers


Assuming now all good domestic staff citizens have squeezed in some time to complete well-wishes to loved ones over the past few weeks of their 16-hour holiday service shifts while making sure all is well and merry with all remaining guests of and for the Mister and Misses, it's now time to move on and focus on creating for 2018 - and thus being a part of household management and/or front line service team success - where ever one should find themselves on that hopefully inclusive spectrum.

As many dedicated DSC readership already know, Citizen Editor holds close to his bosom a tortured love/hate relationship with numbered lists; mostly hate. But as we round the corner and blast into the last two remaining days of this year, what better thing to do than exactly what the authors of all those lists promise: something in your life will get better if you'll just read the easy list of (fill in the number) things to follow on the road to success, of whatever success the list is referencing.

But now that's out of the way, we say if you're going to read just one list this year on how to go forth into domestic staff team bliss and stellarship, and if you truly hold the strong and well-deserved recognition that household staff of any size, even just one or two, are best run as a honest-to-goodness small business, read this one list please - as it's really quite good.

From Inc. Magazine then... I merrily present this article by author Serhat Pala, with my own domestic service team relevant commentary below each point, noted for you in green....

4 Leadership Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Small Business 
by Serhat Pala, Inc. Magazine


We are creatures of habit. Once we have a way of doing something, we tend to stick with it because we know it works and we like that predictability. For example, I have been taking my sons to school via the same route for three years. I drop the older one off first and then the younger one.
Then, last week, for the first time while following this route, I missed a right turn after dropping off my older son and voila--I had just discovered a new route that shaved three minutes off my trip.
If you do the math, that's three minutes multiplied by 200 school days per year, which gives me an extra 10 hours of free time per year. (That doesn't sound like a lot, but I'm a stickler for efficiency.) All that from just one small change. Once I had discovered this new route, I realized that had I known my neighborhood better (or at least looked on a map), I probably would have discovered the better route much sooner. It was a mistake for me not to try out a few different routes before settling on one.
That got me to thinking about mistakes that I've learned (through much experience) to avoid in the workplace.
So, here are four leadership mistakes that you can easily avoid to improve your business and find the most efficient route to success.

1. Failing to recognize small things because they are "too small"

Every big success is due to a series of small successes. If you commit yourself to noticing and recognizing at least one small thing done by a team member, it will demonstrate your observational skills and it will show your team that you care enough to notice these small things.
Just how small are we talking? How about turning off the light in the break room when they're the last person to leave it? Or maybe recognizing someone for picking up a shift for someone else or even praising a team member for their recognition of someone else on the team. Given that you have many more chances for recognizing small things than large ones, taking note of some of the small things can provide a huge boost to your team.

Finally! Someone has put the kibosh on that whole nonsense of don't sweat the small stuff.  OMG - please do sweat the small stuff!  

The small stuff, whether those very small service details, or how you and your team members behave daily on the job and address each other...  it's really important. 

Trust me.

2. Assuming money is the mother of all motivation in the workplace

Yes, money is what makes the capitalist world turn, but when it comes to workplace motivation it is not the only motivation and often not even the top motivator. According to research performed by Glassdoor Economic Research, a 10 percent increase in base pay only increases the chance an employee will stay with the company by a mere 1.5 percent.
Advancement opportunities, social consciousness of the company, work/life balance, being respected and recognized by your team members are some of the important motivating factors for employees. So, before throwing money at employee issues like retention, ask yourself "What motivates my employees?" Even better, ask your employees what motivates them. You may be surprised to hear more answers than just pay.

Longtime readers of The Citizen will recognize from one of our most popular posts, The Real Bass, that money really, really isn't a motivator for your best workers.  

Notice that I didn't say, "your workers"  -  I said, "your best workers."  

Money, known in Organizational Development circles as a "hygiene factor," is important to be there in a reasonable amount for your best workers - ever so quietly running in the background.  But that's it.  It can't do anything else.

3. Neglecting to design goals properly

The reason so many people's New Year's resolutions fail is because they are not properly designed goals with numbers to reach and time frames to reach them by. If you want to exercise more, for example, you can't just buy a gym membership and hope you do it. You have to set a number of times to visit the gym per week and try your best to reach that and increase it gradually until it becomes routine.
Similarly, if you want to improve your sales, you should set a number to reach and a date to reach that number by. Keep in mind that although you are striving to meet or exceed the goal, failing to reach it isn't a terrible thing, either. If you fail to reach the goal you've set, that's still useful as long as you have concrete numbers and dates that you can use to make adjustments to reach the goal in the future.

Most Estate Managers I've known over the years like to give their team a little pep talk around the first of each year.  But the ones who've actually succeeded at producing improvement in some meaningful way have been those Estate Managers, I've noticed, who've actually put numbers into their goals.

It's surprisingly easy to do, and the numbers don't have to be complicated.  But they do have to be there.

4. Overlooking your own mistakes

Owning up to your mistakes is one of the best things a leader can do to lead by example and promote accountability in a company. And, if you start at the bottom and trace the path of a mistake, you'll find that much of the time, it can be traced right back up to the top. It could be a mistake in hiring or a mistake in delegation or maybe something just wasn't explained clearly enough. Recognizing your own role in a situation that didn't work out is important for the growth of your team.
By watching for and avoiding these mistakes, you can strengthen your leadership and your team and find the most efficient route to success for your business.

I've worked for six employers during my career, and two of them were adult enough to admit it when they were wrong about something.  Guess which two employers I gave my all to? 

And guess what the Housekeepers on your estate will do, when the Estate Manager is adult enough to admit that she was wrong about something?


(For the online link to this article by Mr. Pala, please click here.)

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And so, there we have it. Or, perhaps we don't. 

But if you like numbered lists - and if you also like the idea of improving yourself and inspiring those around you to do likewise - this list is a respectable primer for moving forth into the baby steps of January.


Wishing now for everyone who reads The Citizen, and even for those who don't, the most prosperous and fulfilling new year to come in the realization of good service to others - and also good service to oneself.




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