Thomas Michael Live

Employee Procedures that Work: Make it real

When we change a procedure, we know that simply making a decision and communicating it won’t get the job done. In-person and email communication of the change is important, but stopping there can lead to confusion. Documentation and training are the missing link. This is not newsworthy of course, we all know that documentation and training are important, but all too often they are an afterthought and then either aren’t done well or aren’t done at all. That’s not fair to our employees and it won’t get us the results we were targeting. The key to effective documentation and training for procedures is to plan for it early and include it in the budget or timeline from the beginning.

Read More

Employee Procedures that Work: Communicate, communicate, communicate

The most critical step in setting any procedure, policy, expectation, or really, ANYTHING for your employees is clear communication.

People cannot follow a procedure that they do not clearly understand.

I find the most challenging part of this is taking the time to create a communication plan.

Yes, we’re all busy. It’s all too easy to make a new decision about procedure, write it out, and then notify everyone through a series of emails, and consider it done. In most cases, this is not enough. At my company, we’ve learned some best practices in how to make sure the procedure is communicated effectively. Read More

Employee Procedures that Work: Go to the front lines

As any business executive knows, it’s one thing to create an employee procedure and it’s an entirely separate thing for employees to follow that procedure. Some people may be quick to blame the employees when procedures aren’t followed, but more often than not, it has more to do with how the procedure is communicated and implemented. You’ve probably heard the old adage that “every problem is a management problem.” Well, it’s true. Read More

Goal Setting for CEOs

As a CEO, I’m always amazed at how many of my CEO colleagues don’t create and write down their goals for each year. How do they know if they are on track? If their companies are doing well? If they are achieving what they set out to do? No goals, no direction. Read More

When to fire a customer

It’s not something that CEO’s like to hear…but there are times when you need to fire a customer for good.

A few weeks ago my customer service manager informed me about a particularly unpleasant customer. In fact, the customer was not just rude and unprofessional but just outright abusive to my staff. And that’s where I draw a clear line. I told my customer service manager to refund the customers’ order and close his account permanently. As part of our company’s culture we do not tolerate offensive and unmannerly behavior and thus, prefer to part ways with these individuals. The damage that this type of behavior causes to my staff’s morale and spirit is not worth it. Read More

CEO advice to my younger self

I was just recently asked what advice I’d give my younger self with regards to starting my business. Hmmm, great question. It made me think about where I am now professionally, how I got here and how I could have gotten here much faster.

While I enjoyed great success in my businesses over the last 20 years, clearly I made some big and small mistakes along the way. So here’s my advice to myself as a young, entrepreneurial CEO of a start-up company: Read More