Thursday, May 13, 2010
The cover story of this month's issue of Smart Business is authored by Brooke Bates, about a man named Ken Campbell and how he is turning around local homebuilder, Standard Pacific. You can read the article here: Back in Black
As a man who's interested in how his own marriage works and doing what he can to help other husbands who find themselves in marital crisis, I found the article remarkably relevant if you substitute marriage for business in the context of the article. I'm just going to quote some of the article (with the appropriate substitutions) and let it speak for itself:
"'Well, I go to the receptionist (wife) on my way in the door and I ask them what’s wrong with the company (marriage), and then I go upstairs and do it,' Campbell says. 'In other words, the problems are obvious. It’s having the willpower and sometimes the resources to implement the solutions.'" (emphasis mine)
"The problem isn’t figuring out what to do, it’s doing it. … It was pretty easy for everybody to see that something drastic needed to be done.”
"He learned that if you (husbands) ask the right questions, then solutions can be as clear as the problems."
"...the first step to fix a problem is (for a husband) to understand it."
"Management (the husband) has a vested interest in justifying the current state of affairs..."
"So the trick is to get them (husbands) to acknowledge what they already know is true and do it in the open and then deal with it."
"The point is not to blame anyone but to make sure employees (husbands) understand what they’re doing and why it’s not working. Otherwise, they’ll follow the same routine and get the same results."
"They (husbands) knew a lot about the trees and not enough about the forest."
"...keep it simple. It doesn’t take long before the eight or 10 things that really have an impact, you know what they are."
"How do they (husbands) perform the tasks that have the biggest impact? Are they just following a job description or is there a reason for each step?"
"In other words, they (husbands) can’t just go through the motions; they have to figure out: How does this work or why?"
"...be brave enough to ask the stupid questions."
"The only way I (as a husband) can be the coach is if I understand how the game is played."
"If everybody (husbands) challenges themselves all the time, … they’ll get better."
"The faster you advance from merely identifying problems to actually solving them, the better. 'Don’t drag it out,' Campbell says. 'You could spend a lot of time doing a bunch of analysis or you could just decide over the next week or two what to do and do it. And if you make mistakes, you can fix them later.'"
"You have to do it quicker than you think you need to, and you have to provide people (wives) with a solution that they can believe in. Otherwise it won’t stick."
"You’ll start to build buy-in by asking employees (wives) to participate by offering input and ideas. Part of the trick is making it their (wives') solution, not mine."
"In order to fix a company (marriage) that’s in lots of trouble, you have to force people (husbands) out of their comfort zone and then give them some confidence that they can actually do this...Part of that is removing the fear of failure. In other words, if you try something and it’s the wrong thing to do, that’s OK. If you don’t try something, that’s not OK. Sins of omission are worse than sins of commission because if you’re losing the race (marriage), you’ve got to change the strategy. If you do things quickly and aggressively, even if you make a mistake, then you’ll fix them faster."
"'Thank you' is a very powerful management (marriage) technique"