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Published:June 19th, 2007 07:53 EST
Three Requirements for Attracting and Keeping Good People in Your Life

Three Requirements for Attracting and Keeping Good People in Your Life

By Terry Sumerlin (Mentor/Columnist)

One day, as I was working and chatting with customers, I received what I thought was one of the nicest compliments a person in business can receive. The compliment was to the effect that I was having such a good time with customers that I ought to pay them instead of them paying me. The observation reminded me of a couple of things.

First is the obvious. If the COMPLIMENT made me feel good, wouldn’t a compliment make the other person feel the same way? If that’s the case, why don’t I compliment other people more often?

I’m afraid that too often, rather than finding something positive to say, I tend to find fault as if there is a reward for it. If you’re susceptible to the same tendency, perhaps you should remember that no monument has ever been built to a professional critic. Yet, teamwork is often built around compliments, encouragement and positive words.

The second thing that the customer’s comment brought to mind is how appealing a POSITIVE ATTITUDE and having a good time are to others. No one wants to be around a sour puss. We all would prefer to be associated with (and do business with) folks who look like they just walked through a revolving door on someone else’s push.

This principle not only applies to customers, but to employees as well. When it comes to retaining staff, the feeling of having a good time while working goes a long way. One of the strongest recruiting tools is word of mouth. A powerful means of recruiting results when a staff member tells a friend in a similar business: “You need to come work where I work. It is such a fun, positive environment."

Yet, there is more to reducing turnover and recruiting than just having a good time and paying compliments, though these things are important. The MAIN THING is also important.

Someone has said that the main thing in business is to keep the main thing the main thing. Yet, what is the main thing? Every time I ask this question, something that happened some years ago comes to mind.

I had a morning presentation in the Corpus Christi area and took my wife and son along. After staying overnight in a hotel, I got up early the morning of the presentation and went down to the restaurant, intending to let Sherry and Jon sleep a bit longer while I had coffee and read.

When the waitress came over to take my order, I simply asked for coffee and a Danish. She then asked what kind of Danish.

“Do you have a cheese Danish?" I asked.

She then said something I’ll never forget: “I’ll go see. But, management doesn’t like for us to tell people when we have cheese Danishes because, when we tell them, we sell out too fast."

Well, she found a cheese Danish! She approached my table with such satisfaction you would have thought she was bringing me the Hope Diamond on a saucer.

I tell this to make a point in regard to the main thing in business. Do you think this restaurant had lost sight of the main thing? Do you think we sometimes do the same thing?

The main thing in business is to make money – even if you have to order more Danishes, so to speak. Of nearly equal value as the main thing are satisfied customers - since we won’t make money for long without customers. All else is secondary.

Too often we, as business owners or managers, become so caught up in paper work, crisis management, majoring in minors and nit-picking that we get in the way of our staff pleasing customers and making money – for themselves and for us. Then, before we know it, we are searching for a new employee. And, if we are not careful, we eventually earn a reputation with customers and potential employees as being too negative to be around, short sighted when it comes to running a business and petty in our dealings with others.

While many factors enter into the success or failure of any business, staffing has to be at the top of the list. If one were to ask why some succeed in this important area while others fail, the answer might be closer than is realized.

BARBER-OSOPHY: Good people build good businesses.

Taken from Barber-osophy - Hair We Go Again, Copyright @ 2004 Terry L. Sumerlin

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