Part II: How Small & Mid-Sized Companies Become Large

In this the second of a multipart series of posts following our initial discussion on “Why Small and Mid Sized Firms Grow”. Having been a senior executive from start-ups and large staffing companies to Fortune 500’s, I have seen the variety of things it takes to profitably grow. This conversation will deal with becoming a visible and respected leader of your organization.

There is a big difference in making placements and creating an organization that thrives. And being visible is important, for who wants to work for an absentee landlord? To overstate the case, as the old joke goes, 90% of success in life is just showing up. The truth is one leverages their ability by being and strong and effective leader. Having worked with hundreds of staffing companies over they year, we have only seen 2 that had the magical charismatic leader. One does not need to light up a room to be leader. They need to empower other by setting an example, by working hard and smart and being efficient, honest, fair and accessible. The staff looks to its leader, typically its owner to set an example of what is expected from them. If they say one thing to their people but do something else that does not work very well in most small to mid sized companies. Everyone makes mistakes, but covering up things is the crime. Owning up to them and making changes is commendable.

What do I mean by hard working hard? Getting in on time, staying late, making calls in the evening, making sure one plans out their time wisely and prioritize their work. It is hard to tell the staff to be there at 8:30 if you come at 9:00, or making 25 telemarketing calls a day if the portion of the day that you make phones is 5.

If as a leader you make recruiting calls, working smart and being efficient often means calling candidates in the evenings. If you provide anecdotes of such calls your team will get the message. Working smart may mean converting JO’s into placements. When as a worker your conversion rate was say 40% and your better employees do this as well, you can hold that up as what is achievable target.

Being honest and fair is obvious. Being honest means not telling things which are clearly not true, such as taking credit for someone else’s hard work or saying that you were at a client meeting when you were playing golf. This will eventually catch up with you. Playing favorites who performance is clearly inferior is not a good message either. Allowing some people to get way with murder when others are given no stack will demoralize your staff and result in high turnover.

Lastly one needs to be accessible. A closed door policy makes it very hard to get an early handle on problems and opportunities. If your staff feels intimidated that you know everything and they know very little, they will not bring things to your attention you need to know. Some of which may not be the kind of news you want to hear. No one wants to be the messenger of bad news who gets killed for their efforts. Intimidation leads to the cover ups noted earlier.

We welcome your questions as to personal and business challenges you face in order to grow.

Optimal Management is the premier management consulting company to the staffing industry. We act as mentors to owners and managers to maximize their sales, profits and value of their company. We become an extension of our clients operations and are there for all of their staffing and business needs, from sales, marketing and compensation plans, to finance, M&A, general management and everything in between.


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