Successful business leaders are those who have discovered and fixed the critical errors that were preventing their businesses from thriving. BY MARK TEWART
Do you watch business-based reality TV shows? I love these shows not only for the excitement and entertainment, but for all the parallel messages they provide to your own business and life. When teams and their members excel in business there are always reasons. Likewise, there are also very specific reasons as to why people do not succeed. My message for those who are not succeeding is: “Stop it.”
I love watching the TV show “The Profit” with Marcus Lemonis. Have you seen this show? Mr. Lemonis is a successful and wealthy entrepreneur who goes into struggling businesses and gives them the strategies and actions to turn their businesses from failing into successful entities. I love this show for many reasons.
First of all, it is extremely entertaining because of the people, their personalities and the emotions involved. Secondly, I love the show for all the powerful lessons that are shared in what people must do to make their businesses, as well as their lives, successful. Last but not least, I love this show because this is the same thing I have been doing with businesses for many years so this show really hits home for me.
In the show, Mr. Lemonis begins to investigate what he calls the three Ps: people, process, product. I too use this formula but have always called it the four Ps: people, process, product, positioning. It is truly amazing but whether I am working with an automobile dealership, a bank, a manufacturer, a landscaping business or any type of business the formula of the four Ps always applies and, within reason, is always the same.
Here is where it gets interesting. In every single failing business, there are critical errors being made that are easy to discover and usually easy to fix. In the vast majority of cases, the leaders and owners want to do anything but make the changes to fix those issues. After getting input from the leaders and owners as to their operations and their strengths and weaknesses it starts to become clear as to things that must be changed.
I would say 95 percent of the time the leaders and owners are so emotionally and egotistically wedded to their inventions, strategies or ideas that they would rather fail doing it their way than to make changes that would save their sinking ship.
In every situation, I first try to get them to understand and take ownership of the problems and what they must do to change those problems. Even though this stage of the strategy is vitally important in the overall process, it rarely is successful at this point. In almost every situation, it becomes necessary to involve my message of “Stop it.”
This is when it becomes very important to have the leaders and owners know exactly what is wrong in all four Ps, how they and they alone are the architects of these failings and that without change they will fail and go down with the ship because of stubbornness and ego. Emotions are high and raw. Often, there is some angry dialogue. This stage always distinguished winners from losers. When the wound of failure has been opened and rubbed with salt so to speak, winners decide to do whatever is necessary to fix the wrongs and losers keep trying to prove they are right.
My question for you is: On which side do you fall? Are you married to failing ideas, philosophies, processes, people and marketing? I invite you to take a pen and paper right now and test yourself.
Let’s start with your people. How would you rate your people from 1 to10? Nothing happens until you have the right people. I have fought business leaders and owners tooth and nail about hanging on to bad or unproductive people. I have heard every excuse under the sun as to why they have to keep bad and unproductive people. My message is: “Stop it.”
Next, in regards to your people, are you developing your team? If you hired them, you are obligated to educate them and motive them. Yes, good people are self-motivated but anyone can be demotivated without the proper training and engagement in their jobs. If people are your most valuable asset, how much time do you spend growing that asset?
I invite you to use the strategy of the three Cs: coach, counsel, cut. You must coach people first. If that is not working, they need counseling as to what has to happen and in what time frame this must occur. Next, you owe it to them, to yourself and your business to cut them if the counsel stage does not work. I invited you to work diligently in five areas of success for you and your people.
- Do you attract, recruit, hire and retain good team members?
- Do you give very clear expectations to your team members for their job activities and results?
- Do you educate and train your team members?
- Do you motivate rather than demotivate your team members?
- Do you hold your team members accountable?
What about your processes? Do you have effective process? The answer is always “no” when I work with failing businesses. The processes are always nonexistent or severely flawed. Be willing to tweak or change your processes.
What about your product? The inventory or service that you provide must be developed and monitored to the highest level. You must differentiate! If you do not differentiate yourself and your product, you will be a commodity selling a commoditized product or service – and that is a recipe for low to no sales and profits!
What about the positioning? What are you truly trying to sell and to whom? If your market is everybody, you don’t have a market. Does your advertising, marketing and positioning in the marketplace reflect who you are and whom you are trying to reach. Remember the Ms of positioning: message, marketplace, media of delivery and match. All of these must be right for you to succeed at your highest level of positioning.
In business and life, you choose to win or you choose to lose but the choice is always yours. Success and failure is based upon expectations and tolerations. You get in life what you expect to get and your life and business is based upon what you are willing to tolerate – both good and bad.
In every single step of your business and your life, you must be willing to take personal responsibility to eliminate all excuses and be brutally self-aware of your missteps and failures. To be successful and to move forward, you must be willing to look in the mirror and say, “Stop it.”