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It’s Time to Build the Muscle in Your Woodworking Business and “Get Fit” for a Successful Future

12. April 2016 09:25

It’s Time to Build the Muscle in Your Woodworking Business and “Get Fit” for a Successful Future

By Christine Corelli

Over the past few years, you’ve gotten “lean and mean.” You’ve cut costs and struggled to manage your company’s working capital.  You did all of these things and more in order to survive through the most challenging times you’ve ever experienced. 

You trimmed the fat. Now that the economy is finally improving, it’s time to build the muscle in your company and “Get Fit for a Successful Future. Although it may seem like a daunting task, there are several ways to pump up the muscle. One of the most effective is to establish an Accountability Culture. Creating this type of culture will provide you with a competitive edge while increasing your opportunities for long-term business growth.  It will also make your job much easier, and help you to develop a great reputation.

Where to Begin

Interestingly, if you were to ask your office staff and workers to define “accountability,” you may find that each person has a different definition. Some might not even have a clue. Begin to establish accountability by explaining its importance to your employees and help them to clearly understand its meaning.

In simple terms, accountability means that an individual is responsible for a positive result in their job role and accepts that responsibility. It also means that an individual must answer to you and their immediate boss. In progressive companies, however, employees are not only accountable for their performance, but they are also accountable to every member of their team. In addition, to help their company move forward, they are accountable to display initiative beyond their job description.  For example, if an employee sees something that needs to be done, they just flex their muscles and do it.  If someone needs help they help. If they receive a problem they own the problem. And, they take ownership for their role in the construction project.

Real world example

A prime example of how to establish accountability comes from a business owner. Each year in he holds an meeting. He takes his employees to a restaurant with a private room and breaks them into groups of three. Then, he directs each team to create a list of where they think the entire company performed well the previous year. Then, together, they discuss how they can build upon what they did well. 

The next area of discussion is on where performance improvement is needed. How well did we perform for our customers? Did we deliver on time? How was the quality of our workmanship?

 Proactive Complaint Prevention is key

Next, there is a discussion on how complaints might have been prevented, and what new policies and practices should they put into place to prevent complaints in the future.

Time to Excel

The next areas of discussion are to identify ways they exceeded customer expectations and how they can continue to exceed – even “Wow” the customer. Here’s where the combined brainpower of a team can come up with ideas and solutions to problems.

Accountable for what?

Next is the most important part of the event. Together, the group compiles a list of what every employee should be accountable for. Agreement is reached. This business owner recognizes that Employee Involvement is what makes organizations fit for success, as people tend to “buy-into” what they help to create.

An “Accountability List” is compiled and given to each employee. Some departments are different than others. The owner directs them to look at that list often. Throughout the year, the owner and managers “talk up” the promises they made on their “Accountability List” to their employees.

Accountability creates excellence

Build the muscle and get fit for success. Define the meaning of accountability to your employees and ask what it means to them.  Clarify the areas in which people will be held accountable. Expectations must be stated in a specific and clearly differentiating manner. To accomplish this and strive for excellence in all you do, define precisely whatever old behaviors or attitudes must be abandoned, and what new behaviors must be exhibited on a consistent basis. Below are examples of how your list might look.

“We will be accountable to:

Make sure our inventory is neat.

Never cut corners. We know that if the job is not done right, people can get hurt.

Take safety seriously, if not to an extreme

Ask if we are not sure we will ask.

Make every effort to answer the phone by the third ring and apologize if a customer is put on hold.

Improve upon how we keep the factory running smoothly.

Bring a positive attitude to customers and each other every day

Recognize that with every interaction with customers, we must remember that we are “ambassadors of the business and have the biggest effect on customer loyalty.

Be cost-conscious and avoid waste in every area

Respect company property – trucks, tools, and equipment.

Make every effort to become the best woodworking business by continuously improving the level of service we provide

Provide the same high level of service to each other, as we do to customers

Work together for the betterment of our company.

Deliver our best performance, with every task, and every interaction, every day.”

Be Patient

Positive change does not occur overnight.  At first, you may encounter some resistance and uncertainty from your team on whether establishing an accountability culture will benefit them as individuals. Set the tone and be the example for others to follow. Be relentless in your pursuit of accountability and excellence and consistently communicate its importance to others.  If you are a great boss, where workers respect and admire you, and are happy to see you when you come in each morning, your job will be easier.

Hire Right

Communicate your Accountability list and customers service policies to new hires.  Let them know they must agree to adhere to these, or they will not fit in with your culture and your team. Hire only the absolute best and most talented people who fully accept accountability.

The Bottom Line

In your efforts to establish accountability in your business, keep this in mind: You will never succeed if your people are not made to feel valued. Ideally, management should be accountable to treat their employees as well as their best customers. Recognize it’s up to your entire leadership team to keep people motivated and help instill this culture.   You motivate them by being the best leader you can possibly be, while setting the highest standards for quality workmanship and superior customer service.

Treat employees with respect and appreciate their efforts on a daily basis. To support your Accountability culture, provide a working environment that fosters dynamic leadership, employee involvement and empowerment.

Be absolutely the best boss you can be! Then, you will be able to establish the accountability you need to build the muscle in your business and become fit for success in the future.


©Copyright, 2016 Christine Corelli & Associates, Inc.

Christine Corelli will be a featured speaker at the Woodworking Fair. She is the author of six business books including the best selling Wake Up and Smell the Competition. Don’t miss her sessions! To learn more visit www.christinespeaks.com, or call 847 581 9968.



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