Sunday, June 27, 2010

What We Think

If what we think determines who we are.

And who we are determines what we do.

Then we should really think about what we think about.

Life is so simple.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

What Do We Do When We Don't HAVE To?

In working with lots of different businesses in lots of different industries and professions over the years I have observed that the most successful share 2 characteristics.

1. They pay attention to detail and assure that what the business does… it does well.
2. In the “down” times they work on improvement or new ideas/concepts.

Sounds pretty simple. Sometimes simple is hard.

Number 1 is obvious. Number 2 is much less so. Number 1 is usually related to working IN the business and Number 2 is usually related to working ON the business.

Using a hairdresser as an example, styling and cutting hair is an IN the business activity and it must be done skillfully and to the customer’s expectations or the customer may not come back. But what about the time that the hairdresser does not have a customer in his/her chair? What are they doing? Maybe they read a magazine, talk on the phone to a friend, or simply explore the events of the day with co-workers or other customers. Others may study the latest in hair technology, new styles and cuts, or develop new marketing ideas to lessen the actual down time. In other words, they work ON their business. Who do you think will be the most successful? Easy answer, right?

I believe that most of us approach our jobs and careers in a very reactive mindset. We simply react to what is set before us. Maybe it is showing up and styling the hair of the customer who made an appointment, maybe it is returning a client phone call, or assembling the parts to a manufactured item... all reactive activities.

Characteristic Number 2 begs the question, “What do we do when we don’t have to be doing anything?” The more successful person is much more proactive and spends the time working ON his/her business. They ask themselves questions like, “How can I be more efficient and effective?” “How can I attract more customers?” They then develop plans and strategies to achieve their desired results. And then they actually put the plans and strategies into action.

Simple yet difficult. Success takes intentionality. It doesn’t just happen!

How do you utilize your time when you don’t have to be doing anything? What type of person are you…reactive or proactive?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What's Your Standard?

In discussing systems and processes with various business owners we often ask, “What are the standards?” What we mean is, “What level of service or performance excellence do you consider the norm for a particular action or for the business as a whole?”

You may be surprised that some operators have never considered the question. We sometimes get, “Well, as long as it sells, or as long as it works…then we are satisfied” or “We’ve never discussed with our team what we really expect.”

The members of our teams are not mind readers…if they do not know the standard that you, the business leader, expect, how can they meet or exceed it? Does your team know your expectations of them? Do you know what your customers expect of you and your business?

Maybe the first standard to work on is communication. When? How often? In what manner? Through what channel? How do we measure success? These are just a few of the questions that great business leaders answer and refine over time.

High standards bring high results!

When we begin to allow our standards to slip, what we are really saying is that we don’t have to be this good all the time…and if this happens effort, pride, and results begin to disappear. We must constantly evaluate our standards and our desire to consistently meet them.

What’s your standard?