The commercial property had weeds …..lots of them. They were an eyesore. Furthermore, the hands-on owner of the property and the manufacturing business that sat on it was tiring of spending his weekends pulling them out. He needed someone to deal with the weeds and while at it, tidy up the increasingly cluttered and messy property.
The owner finally made the decision to hire someone fulltime. The requirement seemed simple enough –a hands-on responsible, diligent and healthy person with high energy, stamina, and an attention to detail.
But then the owner started to think that it would be nice if this person could also bring a bigger picture view on how to enhance the esthetic and even the flow and functionality of the overall property. Maybe the current layout of the yard could be improved allowing goods to move in and out of the property more effectively. Security was also likely to be a factor as the business grew. It would be nice if this new person would also deal with some of these issues while attending to the weeds.
The more the owner thought of other responsibilities for this new hire, the more he envisioned a senior, somewhat versatile person. After meeting scores of candidates the owner hires the former Director of Facilities from a major real estate company. The person was eminently qualified with twenty years of experience in logistics, security and property management. On arriving the new executive immediately launched a full ‘as is’ property assessment, soliciting input from members of the management team, customers and suppliers. He developed a five-year property management plan and manual and recommended new processes to better move people and equipment around the property. In assessing the myriad of new initiatives, the executive tells his wife that things are falling ‘nicely into place’.
One Monday morning, the owner calls the executive into his office and advises him that due to organizational changes his services will no longer be needed. The employee is shocked and proceeds to remind the owner of his plan and the many initiatives he has launched in his short tenure. The owner however is unmoved. As he is escorted from the building, the manager asks the owner once again, “Can you at least explain why?” The owner answers, “Because I spent the whole weekend pulling weeds and cleaning the yard”.
If you are an owner having trouble with weeds, hire someone adept at pulling them. And if you are hired into an owner-operated business with visions of responsibilities beyond pulling weeds, start with the weeds.
About the Author
Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.