Hustle (March 2014)

Do your employees hustle . . . and do you give them a reason to? The other day a young man came walking up my driveway with a leaf rake. Usually I rake the leaves myself – I actually enjoy it; but I was busy and getting ready for vacation so I met him at the door before he even knocked. He gave me a price range (I agreed to the high end of the range – after all, this was a young guy on spring break trying to make a few extra bucks – so why not be generous).  I went back to my office and worked.  

 Forty-five minutes later, he knocked on the door. I was amazed how quickly he had finished  . . . and at how thoroughly he had done the job.  He proudly announced he was the “fastest leaf raker around” and told me he had been doing it since he was seven years old. This guy had just made about $50 per hour raking leaves . . .  and I was glad to pay it. Before he left, he said can’t make any money raking leaves by the hour!

Many mornings I am among the first to arrive at my local coffee and bagel shop. Sometimes, I’ll see the people who service the restaurants pull up and make their morning delivery.  They are always hustling — moving as fast as they can. These people get paid by the amount of product they deliver with a customer service component included in their compensation package.  They are not hourly employees.  In some ways, they are in business for themselves because what they earn is based upon their own productivity. 

Many years ago when I was about 13 years old, I used to help a neighbor deliver milk. He owned the route. He hustled and hired me so he could get done faster. 

By now, I’m sure you see the common thread. So ask yourself, do you give your employees a reason to hustle?  Are there incentives in place for those who perform better than average? Are top performers recognized, can they get promoted, do they make more money if they perform at their best?

Providing proper incentives and motivations for employees is an important role of the executive team. I am called upon multiple times every year to work with various executive teams on designing employee incentive plans.  Every CFO should take an active role in this process.  

Below is a fable that I heard years ago . . . the exact source is somewhat unclear but I have always liked the message. 

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

When the sun comes up, are you and your employees running?

If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you.  Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to   For more information, visit 

your cash is flowing.  know where.®    
Ken Homza   
Copyright @ 2014 Homza Consulting, Inc

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