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The Chance Encounter That Forever Changed The Way I Look At Business

May 13,2018 05:13

I'm going to go back a few years to late 2012. I know, I know, you all want current and relevant stuff. Trust me, the date doesn't matter here; it's the lesson. Anyway, getting back to 2013, I realized I had a problem. My partner Dan and I sat in a ...


Steve Krull , Contributor I write about leadership and the wonderful lessons life teaches me. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I’m going to go back a few years to late 2012. I know, I know, you all want current and relevant stuff. Trust me, the date doesn’t matter here; it’s the lesson.
Anyway, getting back to 2013, I realized I had a problem. My partner Dan and I sat in a room working on bonuses and raises. Sound
s normal, right? I hated every minute of it. The crazy part is that business was good; it just didn’t feel good. Does that make sense? Anyway, as far as agency life things were good: we were winning new clients, doing great work and adding to the team. Yet, something was wrong.
Dan and I realized that we wanted more for our employees than for he and I to be sitting in a room arbitrarily meting out bonuses. Most companies pretend, as did we, that there was some magic formula for Personal & Company bonus. The whole thing left me feeling flat.
You have to understand something, as an entrepreneur, I started the business with a vision that I would be fair to people, having really happy clients and delivering exceptional products and services. Go back and read that first part again. Being fair to people.   that’s the part that I got stuck on. Even though we felt like we were a cool company where it was fun to come to work and that we were fair, we also felt a piece was missing.
I wanted to add more value for employees, but I had little clue how to do it. I believed the way were running the business was the way that companies run. Boy, was I ever wrong.
The traditional model of company-employee relationship struck me as cold and transactional. It seemed to me this model viewed employees like cattle. If you don’t like them; if you don’t work well with them; if you lose a little money…well, then get rid of them.
As an entrepreneur, I often wondered what employees were thinking, what would make them tick. Being the “boss,” it’s hard to find out. Heck, even when you ask, you’ll see a whole bunch of “nod-alongs”.  
My rut turned into burn out. Did I want out? Should we sell? It was a decision point. I was still searching for a way to give my employees more and unsure of how to do it. That’s when it happened.   An invite came. A freebie!

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