by Paula on December 5, 2012

A friend called me a couple of weeks ago. Their car had broken down and they were waiting to be towed. A quick once over from the garage later and it was confirmed that it was a big job. 2 weeks without a car and a big bill later and she was back on the road and a valuable lesson had been learned.


We all do it. We want our car to get us from A to B. A light pops up on the dashboard to warn us of some potential issue but the car still sounds fine, looks fine, doesn’t smell of burning and gets us where we need to go, so let’s just ignore it for a bit. It’s probably just a faulty bulb anyway right?

How does this translate back into our offices and on our shopfloors? 

We have employees. They are salesmen, accountants, advisers, administrators. We employ them to sell, look after our finances, support our clients, manage our paperwork. They don’t have warning lights or a dashboard and if they are doing their job there’s nothing more to it, is there?

Our employees are very much like our cars. They have an exterior that we can see, they have a function to carry out, they have an (often forgotten) complex interior of cables and wires and feelings and experiences that drive them, and (even more often forgotten) they have a life away from the office that provides a huge boost or drain on the person they are in the office.

As a busy business owner you haven’t got the time to understand the unique workings of each individual, remain aware of everything that’s happening to them outside of work, and they don’t have warning lights on a dashboard like a car, so what can you do with this information?

Well they do have warning lights. That employee who:

  • Has been skipping lunch
  • Has taken a little more time off than usual
  • Has not been sleeping well
  • Comes in late or goes early which is out of character

By picking up on these warning signs, enquiring, supporting, showing you care and being aware, you can often make that simple repair or replace that faulty fuse, before it’s a total engine failure costing you and them time, money and anxiety.

If you haven’t got the time to spot those warning signs while they’re still an easily fixed flashing amber light, make sure you have someone in your business who does.


Paula White | The White Approach | Short Term Management Solutions & Training

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