Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Friday, October 14, 2011

Square Peg-- Round Hole-- It Does Not Fit!

     We met with a business owner the other day.  She was expanding her business and turning it over to her sons plus one hired man.  The business is in the construction industry.  Both of her sons and the hired man were all craftsmen in the industry, had minimal, if any business experience, but were now being thrust into the role of a business owner.
      As we talked about this new endeavor, the business owner was clear that she wanted to retire and have the sons and hired man run the business.  Her first question was how fast could we teach the employees basic business accounting, business terminology and the popular business accounting program, "Quick Books?"  
       Our team was taken back by this request and pointed out that although the concepts she wanted taught were easy to teach, the learning part is often times more difficult, especially if the employees did not have a business background.  For about 15 minutes, our team tried to hammer this point hard.  At the end of the time, we identified some training courses that Adult Education at the School District offers and suggested that may be a good place to begin.  Our team knew that this was a disaster, however, try as we might, we did not talk her out of her idea.
       This indeed was the classic square peg/round hold dilemma.  Granted, the employees COULD learn how to do basic bookkeeping and accounting, however, we identified that it may be much cheaper to outsource that part of the business to a trained bookkeeper than try and teach the employees.
        Interestingly, everyone has certain skills that they excel at.  We identified that her employees were excellent craftsmen (her own admission!), so it made more sense to us to have them performing the craft skills and outsource the bookkeeping to someone who was skilled in that trait.
        How will it go?  I don't know!  I hope well, however, expect that there will be large bumps in the road ahead.  My point is that there is no reason to force fit someone into doing something that either they don't want to do or don't have the skill set to do a good job.  It is much more efficient and effective to insure that you have the right employee doing the right task all the time.  This is also much cheaper as well.  We'll see how it goes-- I hope well.


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