By Ken Keller
Last week I referenced radio station WIIFM, which stands for “What’s in it For Me.”
This is a universal station; we listen to it all the time and never tire of it.
There are, however, other business radio stations that are listened to in almost every workplace.
The station of the highest importance to anyone in a position of ownership and leadership is station KTLO, which is “Keeping the Lights On.”
Put another way, this station is all about what needs to take place every day in a business for it to stay in business, not just at the survival level but to successfully satisfy clients, pay vendors and to retain key employees essential to the organization.
If you and your business have weathered the various economic storms since founding and survived to this day, you will remember what it took and how you got through the tough times, Being a veteran of having managed through the dark days, I’m willing to bet you know exactly when to start listening closely again.
Some owners and leaders, however, pay much closer attention to KTLO. They listen to it every single day for two reasons. First, perhaps only in hindsight did these men and women realize just how close the lights were to being permanently turned out in the dark days of the past decade.
Second, they pay closer attention to the basics of their business because they want to insure ongoing client satisfaction and have a strong desire to better enjoy improved profit margins for both personal and corporate security.
Most employees do not know that station KTLO exists. Some may have heard about it from friends or family members who are owners or leaders in other businesses. The only way an employee might truly learn about this station, however, is if they depart and start their own business or if the company they work for shares certain types of information.
KTLO is actually a teaching opportunity for owners and leaders of all organizations; to share with employees just what it takes to keep the business operating every month, what needs to be done every day, and to educate what each employee can do to help the enterprise to stay open.
More importantly, the greater opportunity exists for the company to educate what the employees can do, individually and collectively, to contribute to the continuing life, and growth, of the organization that provides them a paycheck.
Will this impact how employees work, contribute and produce results? It may. No employee truly wants to see their employer fail, no employee wants a friend at work to lose their job, and no employee wants to be laid off, collect unemployment and be forced to seek a new job in another place.
But because leadership almost universally fails to educate and reinforce the concepts of having a team committed to survival and growth, employees listen to another station, KMJH, which is all about “Keeping My Job Here.”
Rather than educate employees to become non-shareholding financial partners in the business what owners and leaders do when they are not listening to KTLO, is to tune into to a second station.
This second radio station has powerful, upbeat messages which loosen the creativity found in all entrepreneurs, something that resonates in their brain very time it is on: WWGR, “What Will Grow Revenue.”
While some owners and leaders spend their evenings worrying about problems and issues in their business, I believe more invest their time trying to figure out how to grow the top line, how to increase revenue from current clients, how to sell to more prospects and which new products to add to sell.
The companion employee station to WWGR is WIMR, which stands for “When Is My Raise.” Employers should know that employees listen to this station more than when they listen to KMJH.
Whatever your favorite station is, whether you are an employer or an employee, it is important to know that the other people you work with are not likely to be listening to what you want to hear.
Getting alignment on the tone, tunes and frequency between the four stations will go a long way to creating a more productive and happier workforce and workplace.
Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Contact him at [email protected]. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this media outlet.