Back down to HONESTY...
What both of you last said (Neville & Dan) reminded me of something else that can be a big problem - but it still gets down to the basic point of HONESTY. When making compliance inspections, it was fairly common when I would meet a "cheater" for the first time that they will have a shirt pocket overflowing with cash. WOW - this is super common, it is not a new idea! Unfortunately, there are many building inspectors that are in their job for one reason and that is to GET SOMETHING PERSONAL FOR NOTHING! Good building inspection departments make random follow-up inspections behind their inspectors!
True character in a person is what they do when nobody is watching over them! I now have a great group of employees / coworkers, but getting to this point was NOT EASY! One cannot know what a person will be like from an interview with a stranger! Therefore, it is very unusual for me to advertise job openings - but rather, I get people that I know and trust to recommend people or, like I've done here on the RF, I observe.
Once someone is located that is your ideal candidate - you cannot starve them to death! These key people must be rewarded! They must understand that as an integral part of your business's successes they are key and no matter what comes-up we both must always treat each other as we would wish to be treated.
I will tell a brief story, but I AM NOT PREACHING - just relaying a true story that happened to me. In the late 1980's I saw a construction problem that was super common. I "wrote-up" numerous contractors for this condition in my many inspections over several years. I literally obsessed over how to make this "chore" easier for contractors to accomplish. I was only hoping to develop a group of details and a sequence that could be expected to be followed by commercial contractors. I realized in my research that there was need for a non-existant product. I set-out to invent this product and for two or three years, everything I tried had failed. I am not one who easily "gives-up" so I continued at my own expense until I came-up with a workable solution. A very large sum of money ($2.5M) had been invested prior to having a marketable product. In 2000, I had my patent and a local manufacturer came to me wanting to do the manufacturing and marketing of my product. I was still employed at the same Engineering firm where I had been for 20 years. After year 1, sales were great and I retired from Engineering in 2001. The first 8 years went great, but interestingly ALL OF THE SALES were made by personnel whom I had hired and trained - even though the "partner" had ASSURED ME that his company's expertise was marketing! My product line was simply too complex for his (hired off-the-street) idiots, so it was agreed that I would take over marketing in whatever manner necessary. I wanted only commission paid sales reps, but I did not wish to starve them; so I added to the product price enough to pay a 10% sales commission with the boss' full blessing! My product was a "steal at twice the price"!
Well, several of my people were total flops and found themselves other jobs. A few; however, did exceedingly well and were making very nice incomes as a result of their sales efforts. All of a sudden, when business got slowed by the "down economy", the boss hired a jackass to be the "General Manager". The new GM wanted to prove his "worth" by criticizing what he knew nothing about. He and the boss were griping about business and said I needed to fire some sales personnel and turn their customers into "house accounts". I said NO emphatically. They had worked hard and diligently and EARNED every penny they were paid and besides that, they were getting money over and above what the boss was asking for. He further stated that he needed me to change all of my people's commission rates from 10% to 2.5%. I told him that his brain had come loose! He got mad and I got madder! These were my friends - who I had hired, trained and worked with daily AND I AM THE ONE WHO MADE THE 10% PROMISES (to them) BASED ON AGREEMENTS I HAD WITH HIM!
I suggested we take this meeting into the boss' office and I slammed the door. I said, "What part of DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU do you two guys not understand?"
The GM said, "Otis, we have been talking about your product line's POTENTIAL and have come to realize that YOU CANNOT SEPARATE YOUR CHRISTIAN BELIEFS FROM HOW YOU RUN A BUSINESS!" I made him repeat it to verify that in my madness I had not taken this incorrectly. The boss then repeated the same statement WORD for WORD.
A period of silence occured. I said, "Thank you". Then they proceeded to tell me how I should be doing more business but "dangling carrots" as a hiring practice is perfectly okay in business. I said, "Guess what?" they asked what? I then said, "This business will die in a matter of weeks without the knowledge of me and several of my people!" "I quit" and I walked out. No more handsome six-figure income for me, but guess what? I did right by the people who I hired and if he were to cut them to anything below 10% they will quit and he will have to go out of business. By the way, I already had in a written contract my royalty agreement, which he cannot get out of.
He was right, I CANNOT SEPARATE MY CHRISTIAN BELIEFS FROM HOW I RUN A BUSINESS and I have no plans to learn!
Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
OPG3 Tweak everything!