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Edition 70 – Absenteeism

Absenteeism in the workplace is a major cost to any family business and if it isn’t brought under control, it can quickly kill a business.

Except, I’m not talking about staff absenteeism. I’m talking about business owners who aren’t there or, if they are there, they still “aren’t there”.

Here are some examples of absentee business owners that I have observed in recent months:

  1. The Remote Owner – they work from home, not coming into the business all that often, and feel the business should be able to function without them. Yes it should and, no it won’t. If sales are down in the business or you are having issues with clients, you can only deal with those by being physically present.
  2. The Door Closer – they shut the door to concentrate on their work, whilst in the background, anarchy rules. You need to find the right balance of “me time” when you can focus on thinking strategically and planning the business vs. keeping your ear to the ground and finding out what is going on in the field or on the factory floor.
  3. The Busy Beaver – the owner who feels that unless they are on site, solving all of the client problems themselves, the job simply won’t be done properly. All you are creating there is a business that is not a business but a glorified job for the owners with a bunch of “hangers-on”.
  4. The Bored Leader – I’ve written about this in my E-Book “The Crisis of Boredom”. There are business owners that feel they have seen it all, done it all and know it all. So, they start to switch off from the business and focus their energies on sideline projects – from property development to extended holidays. If you are bored in your business you have three options – sell it, reinvent it, or watch it disintegrate.

If you are the owner or manager of a family business, you simply can’t be absent. You need to be in the moment, always!

By being in the moment and being present in the business, you will:

  1. Identify problems faster.
  2. Create solutions for those problems faster.
  3. Think more creatively about the opportunities in your business.
  4. Be the leader in your business that your employees truly want and need.
  5. Be across all the issues that you need to be across.
  6. Train your team to handle problems using real time examples.

There’s another reason that is even more powerful and I mentioned it last week in Growth Edition 69 – Sudden Impact. If, as the owner or manager of the family business, you are there, mentally and physically, so too will be your team. It shows you care for the business and for its success. Employees will always follow the lead of the management – and if the management is absent, that will create the precedent for your team.

This Week’s Tip

In business, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. It makes the business weaker.