Proper communication with your staff can uncover issues before they become real problems
Bill Dost head shot

When you are the head of a small finance business and you are an entrepreneur, you often have the need and the desire to work yourself out of a position.

This is, of course, a very good and a very important thing to do.

Let me caution you on the obvious, if I may. – – I am sure you know to always hire ‘A players’ and to always give them food, strong, and constructive feedback, and to always have a strong line manager review them.  But what happens when this fails and you do not know?

Making a choice

Let me tell you a story, I will change the numbers to hide the embarrassment of the unfortunates involved!

Our company hired a very strong team in the credit-control function and one day — just like I am sure has happened in your team — that very strong person moved on and we made a choice to take the person who was available right now, as we needed them now, instead of finding the right person.  We fave them ample training and set them loose.

And then we made a critical mistake: we did not manage them the way they needed to be managed and so, in turn, they did not necessarily provide us with the reporting that we needed.

Of course, this person collected (they would have been fired otherwise) and they did a job, but, unfortunately, on a specific type of case, and a specific kind of arrears, well let us say they were unsure of what to do.

This uncertainty lent itself to the cases being left alone for months at a time. Unfortunately, we did not uncover this lack of attention until this staff member went on happily to another organisation where they are thriving.

We, on the other hand, were left with a bundle of arrears which were quickly moving towards bad debts that needed immediate attention.

Listen to staff

Ensure your people have constant opportunity for discourse, feedback, and discussion in regards to their position, push them to talk to you, and ensure you are talking to them and questioning them about their position.  It is your fault if they are not talking to you.

Lessons learnt

So what did we learn? Three things:

  1. Wait for the right person, not the person right now.  Seems simple, but it really is key.  This does not mean you can (or that we do) blame any one individual for any issues in the company, it does mean though that the right person would have drawn light to an issue that needed help.
  2. Ensure your people have constant opportunity for discourse, feedback, and discussion in regards to their position, push them to talk to you, and ensure you are talking to them and questioning them about their position.  It is your fault if they are not talking to you.
  3. Make sure there is ample oversight over every position in the business, whether it is credit control, risk management, or sales.  You cannot let anyone simply coast to their own devices — we all need someone to check in with, if not to keep us honest, then to keep us on track.  Your people will appreciate it and you, frankly need it.

I hope this helps you and I trust that you will not let what is negligible become a possible problem!

Article written by: Bill Dost – – President and Founder, D&D Leasing

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