How determined are your employees to get their job done?

How determined are your employees to get their job done? Here’s a real, practical case study from today.

I needed to send two checks to a company. One check now and one check a couple of months ago.

One wrinkle: The envelopes are going to a highly secure facility. In order to deliver anything, you have to interact, briefly, with the front desk. You have to pick up an intercom telephone to get into the building. No big deal. Not uncommon. But it takes a moment of effort.

I sent the first check via Fedex a couple of months ago.

They delivered the envelope and it got to the company inside the building. No problem.

A couple of months later, I sent the second check via the US Postal Service Priority Mail.

The second check never made it. The company didn’t get their check, couldn’t deposit the check and couldn’t pay their bills. Fail.

We tracked both checks.

The US Postal Service reported that “the door was locked” and routed the check back to sit in a cubby in a nearby suburb.

Of course, in order to get into the building, the delivery person had to pick up the intercom phone. The delivery person failed to pick up the intercom phone, and thereby failed to do their job.


Someone delivering mail only has to do one thing right: They have to deliver the envelope to the right location at basically the right time. There’s a big range on the time and there are lots of tools to keep them on-track.

In fact, there are $100MM systems in place to help them do their job. There are digital tracking tools, mapping tools, GPS units and who knows what other tools in place.

And yet, a small failure of determination at the point of delivery can sabotage all of those hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.

So, how determined are your employees to actually do their job?

How are they held accountable and are there any incentives for success or consequences for failure?

These questions matter.

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This blog is dedicated to providing advice, tools and encouragement from one entrepreneur to another. I want to keep this practical and accessible for the new entrepreneur while also providing enough sophistication and depth to prove useful to the successful serial entrepreneur. My target rests somewhere between the garage and the board room, where the work gets done and the hockey stick emerges.

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