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Top Five Tips for Management - <i>Maintaining the Keys to the Kingdom</i>

30 Oct, 2003 By: J.J. Morrison imageSource

Top Five Tips for Management - Maintaining the Keys to the Kingdom

makes or breaks every company. Basic business principles such as goal setting,
strategic planning, or communication skills are far too often lacking. A
dangerous "red flag" to look for is how many times you may find
yourself saying, "If I want something done right, I will have to do it
myself." That is not management. Management means getting things done
through others.

these difficult economic times, many well-meaning, but untrained, long-term
business owners are finding themselves and their companies in over their heads
and are unsure about where to turn. Often an excellent sales or service person
has made the switch to business owner without any formal training about how to
properly manage a company. Without management, the dream of ownership can soon
become a nightmare in improper planning.

So how
do you get back on track? Let's countdown the basics and lay a solid foundation
for an efficient and profitable management system.


bring all of your managers together and have them fill out a basic
questionnaire. Give them a time limit of no more than ten minutes and allow no
discussion. The following are just a few of the questions you may ask for the
top three answers to:

What are my department goals?

2. What company changes must be made?

3. How can I best increase profits in my department?

4. What tools do I need?

5. What are the biggest problems in my department?

6. What are three biggest accomplishments in my department in the last six

simple questionnaire will teach you a great deal about your company. Take the
time to review the answers carefully. Chances are, you will find that the goals
and priorities of your management staff don't correspond very well with your
vision of what should be happening. When everyone is paddling the same boat but
in different directions, very little forward progress is made.

there is a lack of strong management direction, employees will inevitably begin
to follow their own courses of action. I once saw a company that did not do the
monthly MA billing for 60 days ($120,000.00 outstanding revenue) because they
were doing a project "to get caught up with the filing." The owner had
no idea this was happening. As the owner or CEO, you must get your finger on the
pulse of your company and keep it there. Once you have a better idea about where
you stand, the forward progression can begin.


other words, it is time for everyone to be paddling the boat in the same
direction. In order to have a management team, everyone must be aware of the
company's goals and must be working toward fulfilling those goals. And what
should be the primary goal the entire team is focused upon? PROFIT!

in any service or sales business has always been taught that the customer comes
first. I propose that you and your management team must readjust their
thinking-the customer does not come first. If the customer does not come first,
then what does? The answer is PROFIT! Your managers must understand that profit
comes first, for without profit, they lose their jobs, you lose your company,
and ultimately, the customer loses.

If you
think this is not an issue in your dealership, take a quick look around. Why did
your service technician string a 10-cent corona wire on a chargeable account
when he should have installed the entire corona assembly? Want further proof? Go
look at the number of chargeable customers with copy quality problems. They are
way over the manufacturer's replacement number for a drum, yet your technicians
try to help the customer by tweaking a power pack or corona unit, rather than
replacing the billable part that is needed. You have dispatchers fixing billable
customers machines over the phone, so the customer does not incur a service
call. Your salespeople are promising the same price on items for the next three
years. Get the picture? You must get your managers to understand the fundamental
importance of profit!


you heard employees complain that nothing is ever done the same way twice in
your business? Do you live in fear of a key employee leaving the company or
being unexpectedly out for an extended period of time? Having a written
procedure for every position in your business makes for consistent dealings and
easy training. If it is in writing, then everyone knows what is expected of him
or her. If an employee is lost, someone else can pick up the manual and keep
things going until the position is filled. When your managers do their
inspection rounds, they should have a written inspection procedures list to
follow. They can inspect and correct the mistakes before they get out of hand,
thus keeping procedures consistent. Without consistency of procedures, you do
not have a business.


member of the management team gets an organizer-a three-ring notebook with
categorized dividers where they can keep notes, information and details of the
projects you want to accomplish. When everyone uses the same system, progress is
made at an accelerated rate. We recommend the following system to our clients:

One three ring binder (2-inches thick) all the same color for each department
manager and the owner

o An 8 1/2 x 11-inch calendar in the front of each organizer (one page per

o Plain white 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper, one ream of three-hole punched paper to be
divided between the organizers

o Reinforced, three-hole, 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper (approximately 20 sheets per

o Telephone numbers form

o One manila pocket folder (in back)

o Two blue or black ink ball point pens for each organizer

o Two sets of eight-cut divider tabs (16 in total) per organizer labeled as

1 To Do Now 9 Questions
2 To Do In One Month 10 Facts & Info
3 Projects 11 Company Policy
4 TAC 12 Truths
5 SAles 13 Financial Reports
6 Service 14 Management
7 Accounting 15 Assignments
8 Acquisitions 16 Personal

every manager has an organizer, they bring it to every meeting. Start by having
each manager write everything they need to do "now," but do not
prioritize it. After everything is written down, go through and have them assign
a "1" or "2" or "3" to each item. Only use 1, 2
and 3. There may be several of each number.

before they leave the meeting, have them read only their number ones to you. You
can reprioritize the list for them. Then, and only then, will you understand the
problem. There is always more to do than time allows and, if you leave it up to
them to prioritize the work, a lot of junk number threes get worked on rather
than more important items. Send the managers on their way to work on only the
number ones. Once they leave the meeting, you can be assured that you have
control over the managers and the projects on which they are working.


very best way to develop an efficient and productive management team is to
schedule a regular weekly meeting. Plan on roughly four hours. Yes, I said a
regularly scheduled four-hour meeting every week with the entire management
team. If you think this is a waste of time, you are an owner that is not
managing, not understanding the need for control over the team, and not
accomplishing the production and profits that are possible for your business.
There is no better four hours spent than training and guiding your management
team. You can take control of your company and the direction in which it is
moving. This weekly meeting provides time for instruction and training,
organizing and prioritizing, updates and progress reports, for strategic
planning, and for a myriad of other activities that are vitally important to the
success of your company.

must be able to "manage" your managers. Your managers need to
understand how to manage their people. The entire management team must
understand the number one manager's rule: "People never do what is
expected, they only do what is inspected." So in an hour, a day or a week,
when they inspect the assigned job, and probably find that the job is not being
done as required, the problem can be corrected. Without inspection, major
mistakes happen. As the managers must continuously inspect the employees, the
owner must continuously inspect the managers. The weekly meeting is the owner's
opportunity to inspect the management team.

the time to effectively manage your business and develop a well-trained focused
management team will reward the diligent owner many fold with a successful,
profitable business that operates within an upbeat, positive atmosphere of
contented employees.

Look to
next month's imageSource for our "Top 5" ideas for increasing service

- - -

Morrison, CEO of Servco Management, Inc., has been implementing "state of
the art" management programs in dealerships for over 32 years. Contact JJ
at 1-800-517-7900 or at servco@servcomanagement.com for more information or to
request your free copy of our introductory package.

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