SK consultant working to create healthy companies
February 17, 2011 · Updated 1:00 PM
West Sound native Randy Spitzer spent the first part of his career in two fields that require problem solving — education and insurance.
For the past 20 years, Spitzer has worked globally with companies looking for solutions to some of their challenges.
Spitzer, 58, who serves as president of Responsibility Cultures, told the Port Orchard Chamber of Com-merce gathering last week that many business leaders feel their employees are lazy and morally suspect because of unhealthy behavior in organizations.
Spitzer has worked with
such companies as Anheus-er-Busch and Saudi Aramco, a fully integrated international petroleum company, to deal with similar problems.
He strives to create a positive working culture, encourage emergent leaders and empower employees to deliver customer value.
He highlighted some examples of an unhealthy business culture, with one significant issue being high interpersonal tension.
Spitzer said customer satisfaction is ignored when “you’re worried about your own back.”
He said that can be combated through establishing a healthy social contract.
“If you expect trust, you need to spell out exactly what you mean,” Spitzer said.
He said another significant issue in most environments is a lack of engagement.
Spitzer said the average worker wastes 20 percent of their week.
He said that number is three times better in top organizations.
Spitzer said that could be combated through empowering employees.
He suggests that, similar to the Marine Corps, the formation of a leadership coalition on “expectant change” be formed to include personnel from different statures throughout an organization.
Spitzer said that helps develop emergent leaders throughout a company and allows them to “see and feel the big picture.”
Another significant problem in many organizations is low motivation.
Spitzer said people who work in the best jobs repeatedly state that they are there because the work interests them.
However, in many situations, he said employees frequently discuss lack of job security and poor wages.
“This economy will turn around,” Spitzer said. “Can we hang on to people who are not motivated? No.”
He said that not only is it important to encourage leadership, but also to empower employees to continuously improve the products they produce.
Spitzer said that leads to better customer service.
Citing the Atkins Diet, which encourages low-carbohydrate eating, he said that many restaurants initially would not allow customers to trade potatoes for vegetables when it came into prominence several years ago.
Spitzer said managers should have listened to those waiting tables early.
“We don’t know what customer values are until they tell us,” he said. “Give your people the freedom to do whatever it takes to satisfy each customer.”
Spitzer wrapped up by talking about controlling supervisors.
He said people become that way because they are concerned about subordinates not properly performing their jobs.
Spitzer said the best way to address that is through the supervisor accepting responsibility for the company’s problems.
“Take the blame, because once you do that, it’s not a problem,” he said. “Then you tell them you need their help.”