Clarity of Purpose is More Important Now Than Ever Before - Aftermarket
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Clarity of Purpose is More Important Now Than Ever Before

By Ron Slee

Article Date: 11-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

There is too much noise around our world today – too much of everything, except business.

Phew, what a year. Equipment sales are off anywhere from a 25 to 65 percent; parts sales are down 10 to 25 percent; service is off 10 to 15 percent. Nationally, equipment sales are off nearly 50 percent. Dealers have had layoffs, buyouts and wage cuts, and are using furloughs to try to match the costs of operations with the sales revenue.

Unemployment is published at near 10 percent, and when we include those ''discouraged workers'' who have stopped looking the rate goes up to near 18 percent – pretty scary times. Contractors have more equipment than they need so if something breaks down they just bring in another machine. Banks are being very tight with money and it is difficult for many customers to obtain credit. Now more than ever, we need to provide leadership to our businesses and employees. We need to be clear in what it is we are doing and the message we are delivering. Now more than ever, it is critical that we have ''Clarity of Purpose.''

What is the big deal with ''Clarity of Purpose?'' We all know what we are here for and what to do in our businesses, don’t we? Of course we do. But in many cases we are operating in a world of yesterday – the world we are used to, not the world as it exists today. This is not another cycle. This is the deleveraging period; the pay down debt; the grow savings; extend asset life; the return to old fashioned values, period.

So what is our purpose? Why is it important that we have Clarity in our purpose? It is really very simple. Most employees are anxious in their lives and we can provide calm in the midst of a troubling world for them. We can be positive, optimistic and focused in what we say and what we do.

With clarity of purpose comes acceptance of the mission and the job at hand. From Understanding comes Acceptance of what can be done and what needs to be done. From Understanding and Acceptance we can get Commitment. From this we can attract and retain better talent and sell more; we can build and sustain a stronger presence in our markets and build and sustain unbeatable and cohesive groups and teams. In other words, we can develop and maintain a powerful business that will survive and thrive in all markets for the good of our suppliers, our employees and our owners.

So what is this Clarity or Purpose that has become so important in our lives? In every circle of life in which your employees travel they need to be positive about what is going on at their work. They are on stage for you all the hours of the day that they are not working in the business. How they feel about work, how they feel about what is going on will be reflected in their thoughts and communications in their circles. Sure, there have been cutbacks, but they understand that and the need for it. You have to preserve the core so that there will be something there at the other end of this economic challenge. They are smart people. They know.

So you have to provide a clear message: We can handle this together. We can become more successful than ever before if only we adapt to this ''New Reality.'' It isn’t going to be easy, but we can get it done.

Now we have to be careful. This is not the ''Mission Statement'' or the ''Vision Statement.'' This is something much more basic – it is ''What Do We Do.''

What could be more simple than that? Well this is where it gets complicated. This is where the ''Commitment'' comes into play. This is finding every part, every day – before going home. This is closing and invoicing all the work we complete today – before going home. This is completing those quotations or sales orders – before going home. This is about completing the work in the field and in the shop – before going home. And yes, it is much more. It is managing assets better to maximize return on capital employed. It is innovation in process and methods to improve productivity. It is about proper salaries and wages for everyone.  
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