Fishy Employees

Many years ago I had a tropical fish aquarium with 20 or so fish. I asked for advice from the local pet shop (pre internet) about feeding, cleaning etc and for a the first few months my fish interacted well and seemed to be happy.

 

Then one morning I noticed a fish motionless on the bottom of the tank. This was disappointing, but I figured that small tropical fish don’t live forever and maybe it was his (or her) time to go. Things seemed to continue as normal until a few days later I noticed another fish on the bottom of the tank. I was worried that I was doing something wrong. Maybe I wasn’t feeding them enough. Maybe I was feeding them too much. Maybe I wasn’t cleaning the tank well enough or often enough. Maybe some of the equipment wasn’t working properly. I visited the pet store for advice and made some minor changes to what I was doing.

 

A few days later another dead fish and a few days later another.

 

Now I was paying very close attention to the aquarium and anxiously counting the fish every morning.

 

As my fish numbers continued to decline I started to think that maybe the dead fish had been killed, but there was no obvious suspect. I become despondent at my inability to solve this problem and looking at my aquarium transitioned from a pleasant experience to something that I dreaded.

 

A few weeks later the situation had worsened to the point where only 3 fish remained. I was now sure that one of them was the killer, but none of them seemed to be scared of the others and there was still no obvious suspect. The realisation that one of the fish was the problem made me feel a bit better about the management of my aquarium, but the project was a failure.

 

Then next morning there were only 2 fish swimming and despite intense analysis I still couldn’t work out which fish was the killer. The next morning identification of the killer was obvious – a harmless friendly looking little fish, but this fish had killed 19 other fish and destroyed my aquarium.

 

So, why am I telling you about my fish experience from 33 years ago?

 

Because many business owners suffer from a similar experience with their employees. Let’s change a few words from my story above and this becomes the story of many failed business owners:

Many years ago I had a small business with 20 or so employees. I asked for advice from the local accountant (pre internet) about finance, tax, employee requirements etc and for the first few months my employees interacted well and seemed to be happy.

Then one day I noticed an employee motionless on the factory floor. This was disappointing, but I figured that employees don’t work forever and maybe it was his (or her) time to go. Things seemed to continue as normal until a few days later I noticed another employee not working. I was worried that I was doing something wrong. Maybe I wasn’t paying them enough. Maybe I was paying them too much. Maybe I wasn’t cleaning the factory well enough or often enough. Maybe some of the equipment wasn’t working properly. I visited the accountant for advice and made some minor changes to what I was doing.

A few days later another employee down and a few days later another.

Now I was paying very close attention to the factory and anxiously counting the employees every morning.

As my employee numbers continued to decline I started to think that maybe the employees that had left had been driven away, but there was no obvious suspect. I become despondent at my inability to solve this problem and looking at my business transitioned from a pleasant experience to something that I dreaded.

A few weeks later the situation had worsened to the point where only 3 employees remained. I was now sure that one of them was the problem, but none of them seemed to be scared of the others and there was still no obvious suspect. The realisation that one of the employees was the problem made me feel a bit better about my management of my business, but the business was a failure.

Then next morning there were only 2 employees and despite intense analysis I still couldn’t work out which employee was the problem. The next morning identification of the killer was obvious – a harmless friendly looking employee, but this employee had driven 19 other employees away and destroyed my business.

 

Bad employees drive away good employees. Bad employees destroy businesses. One of the secrets to success in business that no one talks about is the need to identify these employees and remove them from your workplace before this story unfolds. Of course, this can be a difficult process and you must comply with Fair Work obligations.

 

Contact


Unicorn Business Solutions are based in Devonport Tasmania, with clients around Australia.

64 Best Street, Devonport

Mail : PO Box 511 Devonport TAS 7310 Australia