Brian said at the end of our catch up “give up carpentry and go and be a salesman”. At this time I was well past my shy, young apprentice days and I remember swearing at him, something like “what the **** do you know”. After all, I didn’t have any friends that were salesmen, and if I am honest, I didn’t even know what a salesman was, so why would I want to be one? I thought he was telling me after four years, I was so rubbish at being a carpenter, that I needed to find another career.
Ok, so I have suffered with low self-esteem for most of my adult life, even though I was running a successful company. I have always thought I wasn’t good enough, that I was blagging it, that I was going to get found out that one day, that I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing. I used to say that it wasn’t my skill that got me to where I am, I was just lucky. I was always putting myself down for one reason or another. I remember I used to cringe at any praise given as I felt like I didn't deserve it.
“That was great for you, but what about me? How do I get started on my journey back to enjoying work, having spare time and most importantly, having someone other than me do something? You talk about getting out of the way and letting your employees do the work they were employed to do, but I don’t have a clue where to start and I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with my lack of progress”.
The next step I had to take was an introspective one. As a boss I had to look at myself and make sure I was living the company values. I had to lead by example.
The boss has got to live the values you come up with, which I know can be hard – in the past, it would have been impossible for me. Understand that these aren’t the boss’s Values, they are the companies Values. They are not aspirations they are the values that you are going to 100% live by, as everyone does.
When it comes to someone who wants the best for themselves, the best example I have is of a girl who came into my business as the admin assistant. When we did the door-drawing exercise she was the only one who didn’t add a door handle, or ,in fact, anything else. She waited till I was going through the exercise and then said, “I haven’t drawn anything else as I was going to ask you what you wanted the door to look like.’
The next stage is about working out where you’ve seen the staff on your list playing out the values you’ve identified in real life. Over the next two posts I will offer some examples from ATG to give you some ideas.
The next key step for me, and this is true for your business tool, was to define my company values. It’s vital that you involve your senior management team in this process, and make sure you share them clearly with your team as well.
Over the last 30 years, I’ve built a successful business, ATG-IT. Now, I’m taking everything I’ve learned about management and combining that with my extensive experience, to focus on empowering business owners and staff to be the best they can be.