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Benjamin Drury - January 7, 2019

Stop fire fighting so you can stop fire fighting.

I’ve lost count of the number of emails I’ve had from clients saying they can’t look at culture now, they’re too busy solving problems and fire fighting. Dealing with issues and people that need immediate attention.

The thing is, if your take time out to define, article and implement the right culture, most of those problems go away. If you craft the right culture for your organisation – the purpose and values – and integrate it properly throughout your business, then it allows you to attract the right people who want to do the job you’re asking them to do. Not only does that mean there’ll be fewer issues. It also means other people will get involved in solving them before you even realise there is a problem.

Take Ritz-Carlton for instance.  Ritz-Carlton is a great company that not only gives its employees responsibility but gives them the authority to do their job and properly empowers and equips them, allowing them to be brilliant. It is the only service company in America that has won the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award twice (a prestigious honour, awarded by the US Congress). One of the amazing ways this is implemented is by permitting every single Ritz-Carlton staff member, without approval from their general manager, to spend up to $2,000 on satisfying a guest. And that’s not per year. It’s per stay. It’s a meaningful amount that displays a deep trust in the staff’s judgment.

It’s not easy. If it was everyone would be doing it. It takes energy, hard work and commitment, sometimes against vocal opposition, but a little bit of effort now will reap rewards and freedom and time later, so you can focus on what you got into business for in the first place.

“I’m a large believer in hiring the right people and giving them unbelievable amounts of power and autonomy.”

Blake Mycoskie, Tom’s Shoes

So stop being so busy fire fighting that you forget to stop and build the organisation you want. Dig out time now so you can free up time later.

What issues keep cropping up in your business, that you wish you didn’t have to spend time on?  Leave us a comment.

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