Monday, June 27, 2011

Thirty Years Of Jobbers - Chapter 2-4


When somebody doesn’t show up to do their job, the warhorse will make sure the job gets done; but, the warhorse doesn’t know his or her own limits and can quickly get overloaded, in which case they rarely complain. Your first indication might be when other employees are unable to perform their jobs. After all, the warhorse may feel they can run the entire company by themselves. When things get backed up, you may have to step in and take control.

The warhorse stands alone, taking abuse from you and passing it along to your employees. Resentment builds up and before you know it, what once was a harmonious working environment becomes an all-out war. If you find yourself in this predicament, do something about it today, because if you don't, you'll forget about it until it's too late. Sit down and have a talk with the warhorse and be honest and up front with them. You'd be surprised. They might be as worried about the situation as you are. Maybe even more-so.

Another thing about warhorses: When they started working for you ten, fifteen or twenty years ago things were a lot simpler than they are today. Our federal government has seen fit to turn small businesses into tax collecting agencies. Every year we are stacking more and more work on our people due to State and Federal mandates. They're not only responsible for the things they did yesterday, they've got new tax forms, new environmental forms and new employment forms and chores in addition to their usual workload, and your other employees may be putting additional work on the warhorse as well.

I’ve worked in many environments where the warhorse is so protective of his or her position in the company no one else understands how the company functions, with each person doing their assigned jobs and having no idea what the other employees are doing. I had one operator try to convince me this management style was intentional; in which case there may not be a warhorse at all. In fact, I’ve worked in more than one company in which that was the case. Some operators do not have the luxury of having that second person standing in the wings to take over when a key employee is unable to perform their work.

For example: Back in the eighties, I got a call from an irate customer who complained my computer was reporting huge losses in fuel sales at each of his stores. It was getting close to the end of the month and he was anxious to close his books. According to him, every day it was getting worse.

The company was about 100 miles away and it took me two hours to get there. After walking through the building, even before I got to the computer room, I immediately discovered the cause of the problem.

Our system works on an average-cost method to determine the cost of fuel and for everything to work properly everything that comes into the business needs to be entered the day it arrives. It’s the only way you can get an accurate daily accounting of what’s going on in the business and it’s what allows our customers to close out on the first or second day of each new month.

Sitting on top of the desk of the lady who was responsible for getting the fuel purchases ready to go into the computer was a two-foot stack of every fuel invoice that had come in since the first of the month. The price of fuel was dropping. The purchases had not been entered, and the store sales were being entered and processed every day. By the end of the month, the fuel was being sold at a nickel a gallon below cost. No one thought about it, because the only person responsible for entering the fuel purchases had been out sick for three weeks.

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