Meet Ashley Alford of Seegars Fence Company. I am currently consulting several of the branch managers of Seegars (headquartered out of Goldsboro, NC) as they focus “on” their business and their individual roles instead of just “in” their business. During my discussion with Ashley l learned why his Fayetteville branch is so successful. It’s because he takes leadership Personal. Ashley goes out of his way each day to connect to his workers, asking them about their personal lives, joking around with them and getting to know them better. He has a few workers who originated from Puerto Rico and he gave them $500 gift certificates to the Home Depot to help their families affected by Hurricane Maria. They wept at this gesture, touched not only by the gift but by the fact that Ashley thought of them and their families. Ashley recently helped fund a few funerals for his workers who had lost loved ones. Often, he sends his people text messages sharing accolades from customers or simply just thanking them for their hard work. Ashley’s efforts are more than just gift certificates and funeral funding. While his personal generosity costs far less then replacing an employee, his effectiveness lies in his approach. Know your people, care for them and they will move mountains for you.
This is what right looks like; a boss, connected with his people, the ones who hold all the keys to the success of his business, the ones who will carry it to new heights because they know he cares. A few of Ashley’s people commute over one hour to work each day. They could find employment closer to their home and perhaps earn greater pay but instead they flock to an environment which gives them fulfillment; an environment where they are praised and valued. He doesn't have a turnover issue. Ashley’s approach is simple, yet profound and small business leaders can and should learn from it. Though he is generous with his money, creating employee loyalty and preventing turnover is more than gift certificates. The main requirement is to cater to what I call my “List of Six” desires of people. Create fulfillment by listening to them and caring for them. Promote autonomy, praise and recognize their efforts, create a safe environment where they know you have their back and welcome their criticism and point of view. Instill discipline by living by a set of values and standards and foster their personal and professional growth. Though Ashley is not a perfect leader (there exists none), he understands human desires. I am proud of his leadership style. Follow Ashley's example. It’s what right looks like.