Your business has grown substantially. In fact, you have succeeded in building a respectable business. You have achieved your ultimate goal, right? Well, according to Dan Ariens, chairman and CEO of Ariens Co., that may not be the case.
“As soon as you think you’ve arrived, you’re dead,” Ariens says.
Dan Ariens has been the CEO of the Ariens Co. since 1998. Besides just his positive reputation within his company for his exceptional leadership, he has become known within the industry for his expertise, impressive leadership and “Five Core Values” technique. But while the Ariens Co. is one of Wisconsin’s most successful businesses, Ariens still treats it as if it is a business with five employees.
Because while Ariens Co. hires as quickly and frequently as any large business does, Ariens knows the importance of expressing the value of each and every employee.
“With every single new person I do a one-on-one meet and greet,” Ariens says, sharing one of his strategies as CEO.
Many big business owners would claim they cannot find the time for such practices, but Ariens strongly suggests making the time. It is small business practices such as these that make employees feel important and more dedicated to their work. This is exactly why Ariens focuses on being a “servant leader.”
Ariens says he does not consider the business his, but he prefers to describe himself as the “caretaker for this business.”
As the caretaker for Ariens Co., meeting with every new employee is not the only small business strategy Ariens has put in place at the company. In the grand scheme of things, you may not think the day of one employee affects your business, but Ariens has found it most certainly does.
At Ariens Co., they have compiled various colored disks that represent feelings such as “bad,” “great” or “OK.” At the end of each day, employees choose colored disks that represent how their days went and put them in a bowl. “Having a pulse on employee morale is integral for monitoring the state of your company, and that is why the leadership at Ariens reviews the bowl of chips at the end of every day,” Ariens says.
Lastly, Ariens knows the importance of engaging every employee, whether you employ 10 people or 100. That is why he takes time out of his busy schedule to meet with them, assess their feelings and, most importantly, keep them updated on the state of Ariens Co.
Keeping information only between senior management makes for apathetic employees, he adds. “The more people who know what’s going on,” Ariens says, “the more engaged they will be.”
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