We’ve all done dumb things that I’m sure seemed smart at the time we were doing them. I look back to my 33-year career as a cataloger and can think of things I did that were really silly. It’s all part of the learning experience.
This month, I’m taking a slightly different approach from my normal columns. At the suggestion of my friend and client Shep Moyle, president and CEO of Stumps catalogs, I’ve devised a list of nine catalog management mistakes to avoid.
1. Don’t hire experts, even when needed. Or hire/fire the wrong person.
I’ve seen this happen: A successful cataloger with strong financial controls and disciplines doesn’t hire a controller or qualified financial person when such a professional obviously is needed. Indeed, in some cases, the need for a financial expert isn’t even recognized.
Yet well-run companies with sound financial expertise in house enjoy, for instance, financial statements ready by the fifth to 10th day following the month’s end (or certainly on a timely basis). They prepare cash-flow statements, get bids, issue purchase orders, approve invoices, etc.
Or perhaps you should’ve hired someone with catalog experience rather than promoting from within. Too many times catalogers think they can save time and money by promoting a person internally rather than going outside for the best, most experienced candidate. Promoting from within certainly is a good idea, as long as you’re not making a compromise just to fill a position quickly and save a few bucks.
Always fill key positions with the best people you can find, even if it means spending money to hire a professional recruiter. Again, don’t promote blindly or hire just to fill a slot.
Not firing someone soon enough also is a common mistake. Generally the employee knows the job isn’t right for him or her. You know it, too. But you wait too long to take action. Do the employee and yourself a favor by asking the person to move on. You can’t “wish” a misplaced manager or employee into success.