Eric Turbiville questions the age-old business adage that the customer should always come first.
Actually, the Prosper resident said, it is a company’s employees who should be the top-of-mind priority among executives and owners of businesses both small and large.
“There have been a variety of studies that have said happy employees mean happy customers, and the reason why is because if you take care your employees, they’ll take care of your clients or your customers,” explained Turbiville, a longtime corporate executive whose resume includes previous positions at Fortune 500 companies.
The founder and president of The Turbiville Group, which offers executive coaching and leadership-development training, he is also the author the recently published book “The Perfect Leadership Triad” (TG Publishing).
A professional certified coach, Turbiville regularly crisscrosses the country leading workshops as well as individual training sessions with business executives and titans of industry, teaching them how to improve their company’s performance and productivity by more effectively directing their employees.
When employees are “engaged” in their work, he said, they tend to be more productive.
However, according to a Gallup poll, about 70 percent of U.S. employees reportedly are “disengaged with their jobs,” he explained.
“I believe that one of the reasons why that happens is because companies put their customers first at the expense of their employees,” Turbiville said. “They tend to put Wall Street first at the expense of their employees, and they put strategies … margins and their performance in front of their employees when, in fact, their employees are the ones that are creating the performance.”
By effectively and successfully coaching employees, he said, “It will show them that you care about them and they will perform at a higher level.”
A native of Missouri, Turbiville moved from Frisco to Prosper four years ago. He and his wife, Randa, live in the Saddle Creek subdivision.
He spent the bulk of his career in the pharmaceutical industry, moving up the ranks quickly into leadership roles with large companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novo Nordisk.
“It was a great experience and I learned a lot about leadership along the way,” he said, and “wanted to share those (lessons) with other leaders, specifically with executives,” which is why he penned “The Perfect Leadership Triad.”
Many business leaders “don’t know how their direct reports want to be coached,” Turbiville said. “If you don’t know how they want to be coached, you’re not going to be an effective coach.”
He suggests those in charge start by asking workers what motivates them.
“I’ve always believed that a leader cannot motivate an employee. You can understand what motivates an employee and you can inspire them, but you cannot motivate them. That’s internal.”
Although the book’s target audience is corporate leaders, Turbiville said “anyone” who is or aspires to be in a leadership position may find its contents beneficial.
The book “centers on the leadership principles that will make you successful in whatever you do,” he explained.
Given the nation’s current unemployment crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Turbiville said now is an ideal time for business owners and executives to take a step back and “evaluate how they’re leading, to think about the principles that they’re driven by and to consider” whether they are “an employee-focused or people-focused leader that coaches … employees to perform.”
Another question for industry leaders to ponder is whether their company’s corporate culture is the kind that attracts high-performing employees who “have a track record of doing well” on the job.
“Look at some of the big companies that have done well at that,” he said. “Starbucks, for example. They attract really good (employees). Costco attracts really good people because of their culture.”
One of the most important things that business owners can do to maintain a quality workforce, Turbiville said, “is to engage their employees … so that as we work through the COVID-19 situation, they’ll stay with you.”