Do you always tell your boss the truth? If you’re a business owner, are you sure that your team is always giving you the facts? It’s human nature to withhold information that might get someone upset; maybe you want to spare a loved one’s feelings. Maybe you suppressed a client complaint to avoid embarrassment (or worse) in front of your boss. Maybe your team doesn’t want to disappoint you … Maybe they are afraid of you. How can you REALLY know if things are going as smoothly as you hope and as smoothly as your team reports?
I’m not saying we don’t trust our team – we trust them completely. Our worries are growing pains … every business faces them. Jay and I do our best to stay committed to constant improvement at ITW. It’s hard. The bigger the team gets the more variables and moving parts are involved in any given process, department, and workflow. Lately, we’ve been talking about the ever widening gap between our front lines and the War Room. This is where good process and great people make all the difference. In some cases, Jay and I are now “3 degrees of Kevin Bacon” away from the training and on-boarding of new team members. They are getting trained by the person who got trained by the person who we trained 7 years ago. Is it still Weapons Grade? What can we do better? Are the core values (integrity & expertise) being upheld?
What about the commitment to transparency, servicing clients without ‘selling’, and staying focused technical excellence? I suppose our core concern is simple: is ITW still awesome? Or are we riding on past glory? Are we as good as we used to be? I can read all the reports, look at the KPIs, re-think the metrics … but what we really want is first-hand knowledge. I gotta find a way.