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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

A Different Kind of Mice Problem

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

In a recent 5.5 hour delay at NYC’s LaGuardia airport, I spent a lot of time cooped up in the C terminal (because not only is the Red Carpet Lounge ingeniously located outside of security at LaGuardia, but it closes at 8pm, regardless of flight delays).  And what I learned about the C terminal is that some of the guests never leave.

I spent the majority of my layover perched on a chair, watching a variety of mice “playing games”.  There were two in particular that were a team, trying very hard to get pieces of a cracker that lay smack in the middle of one of the gates.

At first I was petrified, but then I moved into trying to photograph and video them with my Blackberry (what else was I going to do for 5.5 hours, especially when I didn’t want to move because there were mice running about?)

As my delay came to a close, I noticed that two janitorial employees had taken a seat in the gate area just a few seats from me, perhaps on a break.

I got their attention and pointed to the mice.  “Do you see them?” I inquired.

They laughed and the woman said, “Oh yes, they’re here every night”.

I was floored.

Things were so bad at their job that two janitorial employees not only acknowledged the presence of mice, but did nothing and treated it like it was a normal occurrence.

In my world, it’s not normal to have an airport gate filled with mice.

So, ask yourself, does your business have a mice problem too?

Not actual rodents running around, but an issue that is not acceptable in the real world that your employees have given up on and are treating as the norm?

I don’t know why these employees had that attitude.  Was it that:

-That they had acknowledged it to their superiors many times, but were ignored?

-That they had acknowledged it but weren’t given tools to solve it or change?

-That they just cared so little about where they worked that they were ambivalent to the situation?

 

I didn’t ask, but if you have a “mice problem” or at least want to avoid one:

-Listen to your employees and take actions when they bring forth legitimate problems

-Have a mechanism to solicit feedback from both customers and employees. Take the feedback seriously

-Hire well and fire quickly those who aren’t passionate about their jobs and the company

-Let your employees know that they are valued

-Give your employees tools to solve issues or the latitude to come up with their own ideas if you don’t know the solution

There should never be a recurring mice problem in an airport gate area and it’s not something that you want to deal with in your business either.  Do your best to avoid it in the first place, but if you do see a metaphorical (or real) mouse, get your employee a trap, pronto.

 

Here’s a picture of one of the mice- I named him “Mickey”.  You do that after spending that much time with them.  My video skills are lacking, so the video didn’t turn out…

 

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth