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Well Run Companies

One of the things I use to identify how well a company is managed is by looking at how (well) they maintain their facilities. I'm not talking about the white glove test, but the general state of the business. For example, I was recently in a retail food place and the counter had been used so much they top decorative layer had been totally erased. How much to replace or refinish a counter top?

If you really want to see how a company is doing step out the back door, especially for small businesses? Funny to see the front of the building be immaculate, but walk outside the back door and you'll trash, peeling paint, rust, and worse. Potentially some of that is due to the building owner and not the business owner - but you'd think the business owner would look at everything before leasing.

I suspect everyone gauges a business by the bathrooms, and I'm surprised by how many businesses skimp in this area. An extra $1000 to make it first class/elegant over utilitarian goes a long way to keeping it clean during the day. Something about humans makes them take a litle care when something is in great shape than when it shows a few dings - remember how you protected your last brand new car? As compared to how you treat it now that its a couple years old?

So does the facility trump service? My friend Joe Healy loves 'authentic' bbq, which he swears can only be served by hole in the wall restaurants. True? Why can't it be clean, but not corporate, and still have great food? The answer is that we like to shop at places that are well maintained, and only go to the crummy ill kept places if we're at that place where every penny matters (happens to most of us!).

In the corporate world I see the same lack of care/interest in many companies. The really nice reception area, then you head back to the offices and the walls are dinged, carpet stained, employees have 10 years worth of papers on 10 year old desks. We can't all have real wood paneling (I don't!), but we have to program in money and time to renovate from time to time. Employees like it, visitors and customers like it, so why not do it? Of course in the best case you go beyond fresh paint and carpet; upgrading computers, adding nice stuff to the break room, moving to dual monitors for IT staff, etc, etc.

Take a look at your employer/business - does it look like a successful well managed business, or does it feel like it's run on a shoe string?



I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


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