Every business owner, particularly, the owner of a very small business understands that the success of the business can be hindered by the lack of meaningful effort from even one employee.   Unlike very large businesses where no one employee can have a dramatic affect on the course or outcome of the business in a small business each employee is a crucial part of the business operation and, ultimately, its success.

For a small business owner it can be devastating if an employee does the minimum necessary to fulfill the job duties but brings nothing extra to the tasks at hand.   Let me give you a simple but demonstrative example that may illustrate my point.   Thinking it is not necessary to micromanage your employee, you casually ask him to load some items on the back of a truck for delivery and that employee loads those items so haphazardly that they are bound to fall off the truck and a second employee who you ask to drive the truck never gives a second thought about the load and drives off only to have the items fall off the truck and become damaged.   Technically, each of these employees did the job that was asked of them but clearly did not bring any care, attention to details or common sense to the task resulting in hardship to the business.

This kind of half hearted effort happens every day and can undermine a business to the point that despite the best efforts of the owner and other employees who care about doing a complete and thoughtful job the business is driven into the ground.   It seems to me that when a small business hires an employee it should be understood and expected that the employee is to not just do the tasks assigned at the most rudimentary and basic level but should elevate their efforts by bringing their intuition, common sense, and desire to do a good job to the tasks.   Just as in my example, the first employee should have loaded the items on the truck using common sense, with an attention to detail and with a desire to do the job right.  The second employee should have cared enough to check the load before he drove off.   Doing a job with a high level of skill and care instead of just giving a half hearted effort can make all the difference in the success or failure of any business.

Some people may say that it is the owner who needs to take care of his business and that the employees are there solely to do a job and nothing more.   As far as I am concerned, any employee who does not care or understand that their job is part of the “big picture” is not providing a service any more valuable than a piece of equipment such as a copier or fax machine that performs a needed function but brings no thought or concern to the task.   A valuable employee knows not only his job but how his job fits into the overall operation of the business and what role his work will play in the success of that business.   On the other hand, an employee that offers only a half hearted performance does a disservice to his employer and is a detriment to the success of the business.

Any employee who gives the bare minimum effort needed to just get by is really giving no meaningful or worthwhile effort at all.

On Monday, Joe questions those that are quick to cry racism in “Not Everyone Is A Racist”.