Systems don’t always work. Sometimes systems are broken and a complete makeover is necessary before it kills your business. Sometimes years of experience can be wrong. Sometimes, your superiors are just comfortable with their way and don’t want you to upset the apple cart. Maybe you are a follower and want to go along with a system just because you are told to. Maybe you are working in a sales factory that suppresses your creativity and is holding you down. (more…)
Business is not easy. You can’t get too cocky with your victories because a lump on the head is right around the corner. You can’t get too down with a defeat because a win is coming. However, defeats can become too frequent and cause you to spiral downward if you do not learn to enable the right people and let go of the wrong people.
My current business has been profitable from day one, but our revenue goals are much greater than what we are currently experiencing. I believe that to achieve the lofty aspirations we currently desire, we must have the right people on our team. Unfortunately that means making some difficult decisions concerning personnel. Finding the right people and releasing the wrong people is something that has been difficult for me, because I have never wanted to hurt my people. However, as I have become a better manager that insists on accountability and performance, I have realized that keeping the wrong person on my team is not helping them or me. It is far better to release them and hope they will learn for their next venture or find an environment that better suits their skills. (Releasing a team member in Direct Sales may be as simple as moving on to another, more motivated person. I do not encourage removing them from your team, but instead, refocusing attention to someone else.)
Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, says great companies, “don’t “motivate” people—their people are self-motivated. There’s no evidence of a connection between money and change mastery. And fear doesn’t drive change—but it does perpetuate mediocrity.” Concerning change within an organization, he says, “…dramatic results do not come from dramatic process—not if you want them to last, anyway. A serious revolution, one that feels like a revolution to those going through it, is highly unlikely to bring about a sustainable leap from being good to being great.”
Collins says that leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” Collins compares a company to a bus and filling the seats with people. He says that companies should start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.
You should find the right people who can be motivated by excellence and are excited to make your business better. These people don’t work just for more money, but they work first for the satisfaction of accomplishment and the ability to be creative. Although this may seem obvious, few businesses make the right personnel decisions. Many so called leaders say they want self-motivated people who will work for the betterment of the business, but in reality, many business people have too fragile of egos to have a team member have a contrasting opinion. They are really looking for obedience to their word, not creativity and independence.
When you find the right people and release the wrong people, freedom to work within creative boundaries, and giving your people the freedom to make choices can be a very powerful tool. Freedom of choice is inherent in the spirit of man. Without waxing too political or religious, the agency to choose is our inherited and inalienable right. When your business reaches the point where your leaders are free to make creative choices within a mutually desired direction, greatness erupts. I believe in this and I am becoming more and more vigilant of this within my own company. I am confident it will take us from profitability to greatness.
The world’s greatest leaders have based their leadership on the principle of freedom or agency. Although poor decisions have consequences, such as loss of trust or dismissal from a team, the best leaders do not advocate forcing anybody to follow. They invite others to join them through living what they are preaching.
It is the responsibility of your team members to choose their own path to success. You cannot force your path to success upon anyone. You will find that by concentrating on rewarding those who produce and releasing those who don’t, your business will achieve levels never possible with the wrong people.
Business leaders with large teams constantly receive calls from team members with problems that have more to do with emotional needs than figuring out how to make larger bonuses and commissions. The bonuses and commissions that leaders make has very much to do with the state of mind of their team. As a part of developing a smarter team, self-reliance and the ability to solve issues outside of business can become a very important issue in developing a sustainable and profitable business.
Your role as a leader is not and should not constantly be a shoulder to cry on. Although it is necessary to understand your team and occasionally help them work through some of life’s problems, you cannot become your team’s psychoanalyst. Your job and main responsibility it to help people help themselves. If you cannot develop needy people into strong, self-reliant members of your team, you will never grow a large and sustainable business.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you may sometimes feel like a church priest or bishop rather than a capitalist. You will see in a short period of time as a business owner, that anybody who has a struggling personal life will be affected in the business. It is a rare person that can be going through a personal hell and still be unaffected in business. Understand that you will be thrust into the personal lives of your team members, but how you handle those situations is vital if you really expect to help them out.
Whether you are a manager in a traditional business, or you are a network marketer that is beginning to see his or her team member grow, understand that you should be proactively encouraging your people to participate in personal growth activities and studies. You cannot be expected to constantly help an individual who is looking for a quick handout or personal counseling system. You simply cannot grow a large and productive team by constantly taking a careful inventory of all personal outside influences to their lives.
By developing a sales team or networking marketing downline, you have chosen to be a part of people’s lives. However, you are also in business, and it is not an unkind or an unfeeling business leader who requires a team member to buck up and become a little more self-reliant before you can spend too much time in their business development activities that are devoid of momentum.
Personal independence and self-reliance is a sustaining need for your business to grow. If you rob your team members of their ability to figure out their own problems, how will they ever become leaders themselves? How can they ever have the strength to grow if you are not around? Worst of all, how will you ever have time to spend time with the people who are willing to be more self-reliant?
Don’t be afraid to let your team members make a mistake. Don’t be afraid to let them mess up a presentation. We live in a fast food society that demands gratification. If we think that we can solve the problems for our team and still develop leaders, we are kidding ourselves. A new team member is going to feel some disappointment, fear, anxiety and failure. Not every call will result in a presentation. Not every presentation will result in a sale. Teach your team that a miserable experience now and then may just be a part of a profitable business. Help them understand that just because they are taking lumps now, that things will get better if they continue to self-improve and get better
There is enormous personal growth that your team members will obtain when they learn to overcome their obstacles. There is great power in becoming self-reliant. Becoming self-reliant will be fundamental to developing a strong team and ultimately a fulfilled life.
I am a fanatical entrepreneur, I admit it. I love the thrill of attempting to organize chaos. I love taking new and undeveloped ideas and making them a reality. I love challenging myself and others. I started my first business when I was 8 buying candy in bulk from a wholesaler and selling it to the neighborhood kids at retail. I have helped raise millions of dollars for two startups and I have had some great successes. I have also had some miserable failures.
For you new business owners and also you job-laden entrepreneurs seeking to strike out on your own and throw so-called security to the wind in hopes of achieving the seductive dream of riches and independence, I speak to you. I embrace you, my fellow entrepreneurs, and applaud that fire in your belly that keeps you up at night seeking something more, but I also have a couple of suggestions and warnings.
I subscribe to an online newsletter called the SalesLadder and I get weekly information from a writer Marc Cenedella. He has some great stuff, you should check it out. Here are some excerpts from his latest email when he interviewed Karen “Duff” Duffy the MTV VJ who has been battling sarcoidosis. (more…)