Digging up what you’ve just planted

I have met many smart people in the automotive business. Quite frankly, much smarter than I am. For some of them however, their M-O is shared in other offices, board rooms, and sales platforms around the globe. They simply come up with brilliant ideas, implement these great ideas, and then promptly abandon the ideas because the results are not quite happening as fast as they would like. The problem is, they want the results NOW. So they are in a constant state of plucking their newly planted idea up from the roots.

All good ideas that are implemented take some time to bear fruit. There must be an idea acted upon, a launch of a particular process, a refining period, and finally a run of success using the process to reap the rewards of the initial good idea that was acted upon.

Why in the world do leaders not recognize that their constant change of direction keeps them in a constant “planting” stage? After the planting, there must be a time for watering, and fertilizing, and sunlight, and most important – TIME to grow.

I have also seen leaders fired from their job because they could not “fix” what the previous leader (or leaders) have screwed up over the last several years. And worse, they could not fix it in 6 month’s time. Let’s be real, it is analogous to going into debt; it takes one shopping spree to max out a credit card and years to pay it off. In the same line of thinking, a previous manager, GM, or executive runs a business into the ground, and someone in an ivory tower believes it can all be fixed in 6 months. Hogwash. Worse yet, they just keep replacing people every 6 months and wondering why it is not getting “fixed”. What they are really doing is digging up what they just planted. #LETITGROW

I dare you . . .

“I dare you to give us a bad review”! Have you ever thought this? Have you ever said this? Have you ever wanted to say this?

Online reviews are part of the modern culture. We certainly like to use review sites to gain insight into a product or service for ourselves, but when it comes to our customers, we become so offended if they do not like a product, their experience, or worse yet . . . US!

I recommend creating a culture that is so customer centric, that our reputation speaks for itself in the marketplace. If our focus is for our customers to be ecstatic with their experience with us, then we should never fear a bad review. Bad reviews simply state we missed the mark. Most people are reasonable and will allow us to rectify the situation and in return they will either update the review or delete it all together.

If we have a good follow-up process to ensure our guests are happy in the first place, bad reviews become even more rare. Especially if we are consistently getting positive reviews. A bad review will not kill your business, it is an opportunity to correct a bad experience. It will not hurt your great reputation if your focus is giving the customer an amazing experience each time. If the customer has a valid point, you will resolve their concern. If they are professional extortionists, you can say “I dare you” rather than bend for someone just looking to get something for free, by using the platform of online reviews as leverage to extort you.

Business Over the Business Card . . .

The building blocks of any business or career is what we put in, not what we get out. What we get out is the byproduct of what we put in. I have noticed too many people enamored over their own business card title. “I am the manager”, I am the boss” or “I run the company” are common statements.

I challenge all who are in leadership positions of any kind to see it differently. And, if there is one or more persons reporting to you, you are in a leadership position, as small as it may feel. So, handle it with care. Who cares what your title is. Who cares how important we may be (even if only in our own minds). If we take care of the business, the business is more likely to take care of us. And if we do not take care of the business, I am positively sure that it is only a matter of time until it ends. Either voluntarily or not.

So remember to build the business wisely. After all, it is the building blocks towards your future. If you put the business over the business card, the sky is the limit.

The Lonely Leaf.

I’ll admit, success can look lonely at times. Sometimes we can even feel that we are the only leaf on the tree. Sometimes, that is because we may be focused on the wrong thing. Success is kind of like climbing a mountain. You’d never climb a mountain with a crowd. Yes, there may be a crowd at first. But then it thins out and you end up climbing with one or two others that climb at your pace. You may look ahead and aspire to be higher at times as well. You also may look below and feel good about your pace in the climb. But once all climbers reach the top, everyone is created equal, no matter how long it takes to get there. Such is our search for the top in our field.

There are two types of people racing toward whatever may be set in their minds as success. The first type only care deeply about the person in the mirror. Yes, the goal is always the top of a particular field, but the ones focused on themselves lose sight of the journey to the top and become hyper focused on “the end”. Sometimes even stepping over people, fracturing relationships, and selling out to whatever gets them there quicker.

The second type, elevate other people to reach their goals, reach back to assist those who need wisdom, and generally encourage those around them to be better. This person enjoys the journey and is enriched in helping others. They also understand, there really isn’t an “end” so to speak. When they reach their objectives, they set new goals to chase after. This keeps them humble and understanding that they still need to be learning to reach for the next set of new goals.

The view from the top is the same for all. It is breathtaking and worth it. No one will care how long it took you to get there. It is certainly more fulfilling if we can help someone else enjoy the view with us. As J.F.K. said “a rising tide raises all boats”. The journey may feel lonely at times, but once you are enjoying the view from the top, you will be in good company. So peak past yourself and see all of the leaves that are working hard to move the wind.

I hate commission . . .

So, I read on LinkedIn from time to time people posting about not liking commission based sales. At all. “I don’t like commission based sales”, “Anyone hiring salaried sales people?”, or “Commissions are not fair”, are some of the comments I see.

To the people posting these, YOU SOLD ME! If you spent an equal or greater amount of time honing your skills, you would sell your customers on the product you offer and actually LOVE commissions. The problem is, you are probably lazy and unwilling to grow. You’re probably unwilling to study your product and study your competition. You would rather sit back and become wealthy without any effort. That is a fantasy. Yes, sales are hard, I’ll agree. No, it’s not fair at times, I’ll agree. Most of what you do seems like it could be a waste of time, I’ll agree. But what I will not agree to is bending an age old principal to meet your unwillingness to work at your craft. Have you considered reading books? Attending seminars? Finding a mentor? Learning from your failures? Let me guess, it is a big fat NO.

So, what you are actually saying is; “I am not willing to grow. I want it easy. I promise, I will sell more if you only give me a salary”. The fundamental problem is, If your earning potential is unlimited from a commission standpoint and you are not chasing it, what makes you think you’ll have greater success if you have a salary instead of being paid on results. Newsflash – Sales is a results position.

Either way you slice it, you’re either selling someone you can do it or selling someone you can’t do. Bother ways, you’re selling.

Integrity Over Feelings

“When we burn a bridge, word travels faster than the flame of the bridge we set on fire”

Doing what is right is never easy; but nevertheless, it is right. I find it interesting the amount of people I hear about that do not meet the basics for integrity. Where did they learn to be disrespectful and inconsiderate. Someone, somewhere, influenced them to believe being unprofessional was completely okay. Remember, bad company corrupts good character. Our character, after all, is a sign that continuously hangs around our neck for all to see. If we do not do what it right, lack responsibility, and lack in ethics, it hangs around our neck. Let’s look at this from the other side of the coin; assuming we have integrity, show responsibility, and have great ethics, it shows as a sign around our neck for all to see as well. We are a never ending personal commercial for all to see (and sometimes hear about. Both positive and negative). When we burn a bridge, word travels faster than the flame of the bridge we set on fire. When we act irresponsibly, the ability for a good reference is lost. When we lack in ethics, we almost become a weird disease that no one wants to come in contact with (except for others with the same ethics issue).

 So, when you come to fork in the road, always do what is right. It may not be convenient. It may not be what you want to choose. But if you choose integrity over feelings, you will never lose.


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