Becoming presidential

In a time of close expense monitoring, JOA put the responsibility down onto the manager of each individual department. That manager — or in JOA’s terminology, the president of that “corporation” — was then responsible for all costs associated with their division: payroll, electrical, suppliers and even property costs.

These “presidents” were then required to submit, on a weekly basis, their ideas and cost-cutting measures. Then, they monitored and reported — in writing — how these costs have gone down based on new initiatives.

Additionally, all department heads were given two weeks to read through and adopt one “best practice” from Boating Industry magazine. They were given one more week to install a plan and carry it out. And while the company could not stick to all of them, “we hung in at 80 percent and now invariably at every meeting, we revisit them and try to dissect how a new directive could benefit us,” Matthews explains.

This search for best practices has been instrumental in bringing forward the basic idea for improvement. The corporations and their presidents have responded by completing case studies on how viable a specific idea may be to their department and their employees. It has become like a guidebook written by employees who are serious about the long-term health of the company.

“We found that we have a lot of partners, all of whom have ideas on how to weather the storm,” Matthews explains. “They challenge one another and monitor progress. It’s the type of communication and teamwork that we wish we had every day, but in this atmosphere it has been a savior.”

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