“I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care. You’ve got to make a sincere attempt to have the right goals to begin with, then go after them with appropriate effort, and remember that you can’t really achieve anything great without the help of others.” – Lou Holtz
Like Coach Holtz, I believe that rules are important in life… and especially in our industry.
I’m not talking about making rules for every move you and your employees make. You can’t micromanage your way to success.
What I’m talking about are basic rules that everyone in the organization understands and follows. Rules that govern how the people in your organization treat each other, how you treat customers, and how you do business day in and day out.
The goal here isn’t to overmanage people or assert power. The goal is to create consistency and harmony within your organization. And once your whole team buys into the rules, not only will you have a happier team, but you’ll see your business start transforming into a well-oiled, profitable machine right in front of your eyes.
Over the years, I’ve found that the most successful contractors all follow the same three crucial rules on a daily basis: The Rules of Relationship, The Rules of Ownership, and The Rules of Employeeship.
If You Don’t Have This, The Rules Won’t Help
First things first. And this is a BIG one. If you can’t commit to this next condition, the rules won’t help your business. Here it is…
The rules are for EVERYONE.
Even you, boss. Especially you.
If you can’t hold up your end of the deal, follow the rules, and deliver on what you promise then no one in our organization will take anything you say seriously. They might obey the rules when you’re watching, but they’ll do whatever they want when you’re not.
Remember that rules are not just for subordinates. They’re for you too – and it’s crucial that your team see you following them day in and day out.
Without simple rules followed by all, decorum erodes and your team won’t take the time to do things the right way. These simple rules create a well-defined “all for one” atmosphere.
Make sense? If so, let’s look at the three types of rules every successful contractor follows: The Rules of Relationship, The Rules of Ownership, and The Rules of Employeeship.
The Rules of Relationship
The rules of relationship are similar to your company values. They govern how employees, management, and ownership treat each other… and how you all treat your customers. These rules should be well defined, written down, understood by all, and preferable posted in prominent places around your shop.
A great example of a brief but powerful “rule of relationships” can be seen at any Ritz Carleton hotel. They say, believe, and post, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that, does it? It says everything about how employees and management behave with one another – and it also explicitly describes the expectation of how customers are to be treated.
In creating the rules of relationship at your shop, here are some good places to start…
Welcoming and Greeting Partners
What are the “non-negotiables” at your company when dealing with customers and partners?
Do you expect your employees to say “please” and “thank you” to each other in the course of daily business? What about when speaking to customers? Is there a positive phrase you want everyone who answers the phone to use when they pick up a call? Specify it, make it known, and expect it from everyone. (Including yourself!)
When it’s appropriate for co-workers to discuss things that could be better or not-so-great outcomes, is there a way you’d like them to have that conversation? If you want them to keep it positive and offer suggestions of what they could do next time instead of just complaining, you need to detail that. Set your expectations, make it known, and expect it.
These are a few suggestions to get you started, but your rules of relationship can cover anything that will bring your team closer together and create a more productive, profitable atmosphere.
The Rules of Ownership
You saw this one coming, didn’t you?
All too often, I see owners who want to sit in the big office and hand down orders about how things to be done – only to violate their own rules over and over again. Profitable and productive companies don’t run this way.
The rules of Ownership are all about how a successful owner leads their company. The owner is responsible for making it crystal clear to the entire team that “this is what it looks like when the company is at its very best.” And then the owner must make sure that it happens.
The owner must…
Share Values and Vision
Are you a planned service company or an emergency company? Are you a residential sales based company or a commercial/contracting company? What’s the plan? What are your organization’s goals, processes, and vision? These rules need to come from the owner, be made clear to everyone, and be followed by all.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised at how many owners have lost touch with the details of the financial side of their business. And owner must be profit minded, understand where all the dollars are flowing, and share that information with the team so everyone can work toward the same financial goals.
The owner is responsible for making sure that all employees are properly on-boarded, trained, coached, and held accountable for their performance. Even if there are managers who actually do those things, it falls on the owner to make sure they’re all being done the right way.
The Rules of Employeeship
Of course, employees need rules, too. The rules of employeeship have to do with design and consistency. They exist to ensure that everyone works by design, follows the same script or system, and does their paperwork in the same way every time.
Everything is by design.
Training, Job Descriptions, and Vision Alignment
When your company training and job duties are standardized and everyone clearly understands the company vision, you eliminate hesitancy, confusion, and doubt. People naturally begin to work together, and everything runs smoother.
Quality of Work Standards
It’s hard to hit a moving target. When you specify exactly what good work lo0oks like in your company, your employees will thrive because they’ll know beyond the shadow of a doubt that “this is how we do this job every single time.”
Quality of Communication Standards
How do you want your employees to communicate with you, each other, and customers? Do you have a phone script? A sales process? When you standardize these things, you make it much easier for your employees to take confident action, and contribute more to your bottom line.
When you achieve this in your company, productivity and profitbility will go through the roof. It’s really amazing to see when it’s done well.
Want to Take a Deeper Dive Into “The Rules?”
This post just scratches the surface of a recent webinar we’ve done recently on ContractorSelling.com called Setting The Rules. In this hour-long webinar, Julie and I go into much greater detail on how to create your company rules, what to include, and how these simple rules can make a huge positive impact on your bottom line.
It’s part of a 7 webinar series we’ve done for members called 7 Steps to Designing a Turn Key Business.
Here’s the full line-up of in-depth, full-length webinars in the series:
Part One: Designing the Service Environments
Part Two: Setting The Rules
Part Two: Job Priorities
Part Four: Job Descriptions
Part Five: Implementation Plan
Part Six: Quantifying & Measuring Results
Part Seven: Coaching The Team To Stay On Track
These webinars are available 24/7 only to ContractorSelling.com members. We continually post educational information, hold training sessions, and other interactive events to help our members create more profitable businesses.
To get all the details about what you get with a membership (it’s a TON!) click here. It could be the best investment you’ve ever made in your business!