Management in the Vehicle Recycling Industry – GET IT WRONG AT YOUR PERIL
Michael Manners, Founder Director of Limelight Learning UK Ltd, a consultancy company focussing on performance improvement in the SME market, Management Development and Sales Training looks at how management is the key factor in achieving a successfully run vehicle recycling business.
The previous article propounded ‘what’ needs to be done so we now need to look at ‘how’ to do it. What tools are available to put measurement in and take the guesswork out? Training is frequently under-used and under-valued but it can produce stunning results in the hands of the willing, ready and able.
One key that has a proven track record in getting round pegs into round holes at work at all levels is the intelligent and correct application of psychometric assessments.
Some people are very sceptical about psychometrics: this can be prevalent amongst those who have not yet experienced their benefits. However, they are increasingly being used on a global scale and organisations that fail to embrace them are at risk of performing at suboptimal levels. This is because the company may not attract, manage, develop, retain and promote that personnel who are going to make a difference and do it cost-effectively. Many organisations underperform because they fail to retain their best talent and then compound this by a failure to select the right calibre replacements. Psychometrics correctly applied can play an important part in improving all these areas and so increase profitability accordingly through waste reduction.
There are 3 types that have specific relevance to working directors and managers who are not qualified psychologists but who need clear reports in plain language, not in psychobabble, and they are:
1. Workstyle behavioural analysis
Throughout your organisation, people are the key to success. They may well be aided by superb state-of-the-art equipment, clear and unambiguous procedures, excellent on-job training, fantastic management and leadership, but at the end of all that is a person on whom you are dependent. This means that you are only as good as the people you employ. Mistakes made at the recruitment stage are frequently the first step on the road to dismissal so any device that helps you to get it right first time is worth the investment of your time and money.
Behavioural analysis will accurately uncover a person’s working strengths, their limitations, what motivates them, where training can be effective, how to get the best out of them and a whole lot more through a detailed forced-choice questionnaire the essence of which is:
- Is this person driving, forceful and competitive or somewhat hesitant, mild-mannered and non-demanding?
- Is this person influential, persuasive and positive or reserved, reflective and suspicious?
- Is this person dependable, persistent and a good listener or active, restless and demonstrative?
- Is this person compliant, precise and accurate or strong-willed, stubborn and independent?
It is the interaction of these 8 characteristics that determine a person’s traits, their working strengths and their potential limitations. The actual results can be compared to an ‘ideal’ model that the system generates. It takes about 8 minutes to complete online which can be done remotely or under supervision.
2. Testing ‘mental horsepower’
The simplest and most useful definition of ‘intelligence’ is: ‘intelligence is the ability to learn’. IQ and exams test what is known as ‘crystallized intelligence’ i.e. what a person knows. This battery of 5 tests looks at what a person can do and is referred to as testing ‘fluid intelligence’.
Managers who attempt to solve an unfamiliar problem by calling on their experience which depends on their ‘crystallised intelligence’ will often find themselves unable to cope. Successful managers of the future will possess levels of ‘fluid intelligence’ that are relevant to the job, be quick-witted and agile in combination with the appropriate behavioural strengths and the motivation to succeed. In the automotive recycling industry, there is a strong temptation to be over-dependent on how things were done in the past and this may not be what is required in the present or in the future.
If a person scores too highly relevant to the demands of the job they are likely to get bored, take risks and leave for a more demanding environment. If their score is too low they will not be able to cope with the mental demands of the job and their productivity will plummet. The right level is determined by benchmarking existing personnel.
These tests measure that which makes mental tasks difficult by measuring such issues as: can they think on their feet and come up with a logical answer? Can they get to the bottom of what is important and ignore the irrelevant? Are they comfortable with and at ease around numbers or are they number shy? Do they have a good vocabulary and are able to communicate effectively? Finally, do they have the spatial ability where work in environments require visualisation skills in order to understand and execute tasks – very relevant in many yard operations, transport and the packing of containers for export for example.
These 5 tests take about 30-40 minutes online and can be done remotely but far better under supervision.
3. Testing Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is an individual’s capacity to understand and control their own emotions and recognise and manage those of others so that they, and others around them, can be as effective and productive as possible at work.
It is a complete personality assessment including revealing matters outside work that may be having an adverse effect on their efficiency at work and takes 20-25 minutes to complete online.
How do you get to grips with psychometric assessments? The best way forward is for the CEO together with the head of HR to undertake the training necessary to have a basic understanding of behavioural analysis and the testing of mental horsepower as a first step. That done learning in-depth about emotional intelligence can follow. All matters driven from the top tend to have more traction than sending an HR officer for training with little or no clout in the business.
Once the CEO and head of HR have convinced themselves of the value of psychometric assessments, then all Board members and/or the SMT should also be fully trained. The quality of management and decision making will rise exponentially as a result.
Other training courses to develop the top team can include:
- Finance for non-financial managers
- The art of negotiation
- Employment law
- Management development
- Sales forecasting
- Customer care
- Setting and controlling budgets
- Purchasing & cost control
- Inventory management
- Recruitment – how to do it
- Controlling overheads
- Key productivity/profit ratios
- Statistical analysis – do your facts help or hinder
- Credit control
Once the Board/SMT has been trained in relevant subjects, it is good practice to offer them other training that is of interest to them but not necessarily directly relevant to the needs of the business. This will retain their services for longer and minimise churn.
In conclusion ‘management’ is not easy but when correctly trained and implemented, managers make the difference between success and failure so investment in their selection and subsequent development pays dividends.
About the author
Michael Manners is the founder-director of Limelight Learning UK Ltd, a consultancy with 3 main arms to its business:
- Performance improvement
- Management development
- Sales training
All Limelight personnel are experts in the use, interpretation and application of specific psychometric assessments. Our chosen test provider is Thomas International, a company of high repute and who operate in 60 countries. We derive no benefit of any kind from this recommendation.
Before you undertake your own training in their systems and whilst you are going through the learning curve, you can engage our services because we have over 60 years of experience between us. If you would like more detail about ‘psychometrics’ please email us and we will email our 16-page guide. This is free, without obligation and will not be followed up unless you ask us to.
Michael has a strong track record of successfully running a number of businesses so he is not a mere theoretician – he has walked the walk. Developing managers, company turnarounds, maximising performance and improving sales teams are all part of his expertise. He has lectured in many parts of the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.