The following article “The Fish Rots From the Head Down” is taken from a newsletter that I wrote a few years ago. Forward moving companies continually discuss company culture and how to create a positive working environment. Developing that type of environment helps you retain the type of employees that make your business successful.
When you have helpful and enthusiastic people, they will naturally go out of their way to treat your customers well. But it starts at the top… the head.
So without further adieu…
(reprinted from November 2013)
Confession: Every once in a while, maybe every few years or so, we make a mistake. Ok I said it. Whatever.
So I walk next door to Paraco Gas to speak with the manager, Bill Petratos, and explain how we dropped the ball on a certain job. It wasn’t a big deal thing, but when I slip up I think it is only fair to address it and move on.
Bill is a very hard worker and an ethical “company man.” He is the kind of person that I admire and appreciate. Bill is also Greek and has lived in Greece. His dad’s favorite pastime is watching international soccer. Bill speaks the language and is proud of the culture – I would be too. The Greeks are great contributors to our society and have been major players in shaping the western world. They are thoughtful, warm, proud, hard working people.
Anyway, I explain the situation and take responsibility for whatever the miscommunication was. Bill looks at me and with half tongue in cheek, half wisdom of Aristotle proclaims:
“Dave, The fish rots from the head down.”
My initial reaction was to chuckle and comment on how cool and true that statement is.
Then, as always, I started thinking more about it.
Wow, how accurate that statement is! Someone stated that thousands of years ago and it still rings true today! Now I am mentally applying that phrase to the things around me. Businesses, families…
If you look closely at almost any company, you will notice the personality of the ownership.
If the owner doesn’t give a shit, it is just a matter of time before even the best employees don’t give a shit.
When the leaders are unethical, it is just a matter of time before the staff cheats in some way.
If the chief doesn’t do his job with enthusiasm, he will struggle to motivate others to provide great customer service.
When the top people don’t speak to the other employees with respect, you can almost guarantee that there won’t be harmony amongst the workers.
So yeah Bill, the fish does rot from the head down, and I cannot come up with a better way of putting it!
I don’t want to be the head of a dead fish dammit!
If a solid company grows from the roots up, I want to be the acorn that becomes the oak – not fermenting fertilizer.
We should all try to:
– Treat people with respect.
– Be ethical.
– Work hard.
Be thankful for what you have and help others. Only then can we truly encourage the people around us to do the same. If you don’t carry yourself that way, hold your nose and look out below!
We had a meeting with our top techs and service advisors to discuss our customer’s cold service needs while keeping economy and efficiency at the forefront.
The following is an outline of what we decided was of paramount importance going into winter.
– Analyze coolant. Check freeze level. Check for additives that are necessary and specific to your engine.
– Carefully check all heater and coolant hoses for condition, wear, cracks, hardening and soft spots. Tighten clamps as necessary.
– Check radiator, fan, shroud, fan clutch, belts, brackets, pulleys and engine accessories.
– Review the Heater and defroster operation. Check wipers, replace if necessary. Make sure washers work. Add deicer to washer fluid.
– Disconnect and load test batteries. Check and record cold cranking amps. (CCA) Clean and tighten all cables.
– Analyze the starter amperage draw. Check alternator voltage and amperage output. (Engines that do not crank well do not start in the cold!)
– Drain air tanks. Check compressor operation, air dryer operation and air dryer heater operation.
– Analyze glow plug operation. Check engine block heater operation, if equipped. (This may require leaving truck overnight)
– Add fuel conditioner to all fuel tanks. Check and fill all engine fluids.
– Road test truck. Check how truck steers, stops and drives overall. Perform walk around inspection of complete truck.
Depending on the age, size and specific equipment of your truck, we feel this should take 1-2 hours. You will receive a written report on all systems that are inspected. Please call us to discuss at 631-243-1900.
We cannot begin to tell you how much we appreciate your business and the others that you recommend here each month. You are truly the reason for our success! If you love us, tell someone. If you don’t love us, we need to know why.