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Managing People Is Like Herding Cats is the title of a book by renowned leadership scholar and professor Warren Bennis that explores the principles of effective leadership at all levels. The title is intriguing. It seems to reflect the views of business owners about how difficult it is to find and keep the right staff to support business growth…

It was by chance that I met Mike, a local business owner at a beer tasting in a pub close to my office. We are also both members of the same golf society, so there was some banter about our best and worst exploits on the course during our last outing together. Mike had a friend with him, David, also a business owner who I hadn’t met before and we did the usual what do you do, how’s business type of conversation. Somehow, we got onto ‘people’, particularly the problems of finding reliable employees.

“Why do you think it is difficult to get good employees?” I asked.

“Well, when you finally get to interview a candidate for a job, they’ll tell you just how good they are, their qualifications look OK and the references are solid. So you take them on. Then you find out they’re not as good as they say they are.” Said David

“Yes” added Mike “You have to check everything they do, often putting right the things they got wrong”

Warming to the subject, David continued “Or they just don’t get stuff done at all. And their attitude is all wrong. They upset customers, turn up late for things, take time off for the slightest little snuffle and are always first out the door at 5!”

“Really ?” I said “Are all your staff like that?”

“Of course not!” said Mike “The problem is the good ones leave. No loyalty these days”

“Why’s that” I asked

“They usually go for more money. Money always talks” Mike replied

“What do you see as your responsibility in all this?” I asked

“What do you mean” said David

“I understand your problems, I just wonder if you have the right systems in your business to deal with them” I said.

“Like what?” replied David

“Perhaps I should tell you a little about some of my fundamental beliefs about people first.” I said. “You see, when I was a lot younger I was just like the ‘bad’ staff you talked about. Except then, I often felt my employers weren’t always reasonable in the way they treated me! What I’ve learned though is that good companies get good employees and that people who feel part of a team are less likely to have time off, or let you down. And that acknowledgement is more important to most people than money.”

“If you’re right, what do I have to do?” asked David

“Well you can start by doing something – and it’s at no cost to you.” I suggested. “That’s right, it’s free. All it will take is a couple of minutes of your time. All you have to do is visit for exclusive access to business tools and workbooks that provide practical guides for managing your staff in your business”

And that’s something you can do too. It will be the best thing you do today.

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