Don Kennedy is President and CEO of Kennedy Roofing Co. in Nashville, Tenn. In his presentation titled “Higher Profits the Easy Way - Every Employee is the CEO,” he asserted that when information is shared with employees, they act like owners. He encourages employees to share ideas on how to save money and run operations more efficiently. Kennedy Roofing recently set up “Profit Centers” in his company in which he re-invests money saved from employee initiatives. The company then matches these funds for new equipment.
“We have over $100,000 of matching funds for equipment in our company,” he said.
For example, Kennedy set up a recycling center. “Our sheet metal division recycles metal,” he said. “They have taken ownership.”
Kennedy said a company needs to partner with its employees.
“Employees will tell you areas they are making mistakes,” he said, noting a biblical proverb: “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.”
“Your company vision must be planned, simple, and a reflection of its decisions and actions,” he continued. “We just don’t want to show up for a paycheck. Have a simple plan.”
Kennedy advised business owners to set goals and then “manage the journey.”
“Managing the journey of change is the key to consistent positive growth in an organization,” he said. “Without growth comes death.”
Kennedy said little changes will make a big difference. “Research confirms that 70 percent of organizational changes fail as a result of ineffective leadership,” Kennedy said. “If a guy’s not doing a good job, he should know it. People want to be proud of where they work. Employees want their family to be proud of them.”
Kennedy recommended sending a note to an employee’s wife or husband to tell them of their achievements. “Tell them he or she is doing a good job.”
He pointed to reality television for a symbol of employees taking ownership in a company. “I think of Michael from ‘The Biggest Loser.’ He weighed 526 pounds and got down to 262 pounds. He took ownership of his life,” Kennedy said. “Dale Carnegie once said, ‘You can take everything I got, but don’t take my people.’”
Kennedy noted that in today’s competitive environment, the prize goes to those who can do more with less. “Training is everything,” he said. “It is the only way to be the leader in your market. Train, train, then train some more. And inspect to make sure you get what you expect.”
Kennedy also urged attendees to make it a pleasure for customers to do business with you. “Teach your employees how important this opportunity is to their future. Tell customers, ‘Thank you for your business. That is why I have a job.’”