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JOE SAILS - A Business Behavioral Novel JOE SAILS
A Business
Behavioral Novel

Joe Sails is a story
about improving customer service by elevating employees' core
Media Coverage

Comparing processes to ownership

By Dick Olenych, Inside Business - Hampton Roads - 10/19/2009

I’m not a numbers guy. I’m a people person. I like to be in front of customers. They energize me.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I even like to cold-call on businesses. You know, knock on doors and introduce myself to people I’ve never met before. There’s not too many of us around anymore that like doing that.

I wish I had more time to do it.

However, as the owner of a growing print shop, I’ve been forced to be studious about the numbers – which means less time out of the office.

When I was in corporate America my P & L’s and other reports didn’t mean as much to me. Sure, they dictated my bonuses and performance reviews, but I never felt like I owned them. They were distributed from above and flowed down. Don’t get me wrong, I looked at them and knew them inside and out. They were important, but at some point they were an assignment that I divvied up to others. We wanted to make them, but we didn’t have a genuine passion around them.

Maybe I can explain it this way: I would rather have pictures of my kids on the fridge than a Rembrandt in the parlor…if I had a parlor.

Today, my numbers represent the heart and soul of my company. The numbers reflect the sweat of 15 employees and their actions. I coach and mentor around “owning” the responsibility. That it’s not good enough to just do your job. Owning part of the production process means that one never settles for the status quo. The results and subsequent success of the organization rest on every person’s shoulders.

How do you go from process to ownership?

That’s a tough question. An aunt used to say, “…if wishes were horses, everyone would ride.” One certainly can’t wish that everyone owned a process. That would be foolhardy. Maybe delegating to the masses and bullying those around you will work best? But, I don’t think so.

Processes are only as good as the results they achieve and it seems that businesses are always dealing with the exception to the rules.

Normal today is an ad hoc environment of constantly changing rules and demands, tomorrow. That’s where personal commitment and steadfast dedication to the final outcome become so very important.

This is ownership.

Wanting and caring so much for the customers and company that each employee is pulling in the same direction is the dream of every supervisor, manager and president.

It starts with commitment and caring for those around you, giving more than you take. Doing more than your job. Helping before being asked. These are the true qualities of leadership. Respecting everyone and listening to their suggestions, builds trust and understanding.

We judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intent.

Remember that those around you want to do the right thing, but they will do what they see you do. Do you show ownership?

Do you have the commitment, empathy and passion that your staff will emulate?

Dick Olenych is the president of Spectrum Printing and the author of the business book “Joe Sails.” He is a member of the Virginia Chapter of the National Speakers Association. He can be reached at info@dickolenych.com.

4716 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462 | (757) 473-9977  |  Email: info@dickolenych.com