Change Doesn't Mean Compromise
Edition: May/June 2012
Common trends these days are recognizing that commonisn’t so common. Consumer response requires different stimulants than a decade ago and while some ingredients still hold true, confusion among the two will have a devastating end. Times are changing, information is instant and consumer knowledge is high. Gathering data from twenty-five dealers suggest a pattern of inconsistency. Many reported growth, about the same were still flat and a couple did not answer the telephone. A few are adding onto their showrooms, others to their credit lines. The most disappointing were those reporting that they were just holding on until the tide comes back in. Sales are volatile, service varied and leadership emotion ranged from enthusiastic to discourage. As the tail begins to wag the dog, low impact managers resort to the routine responses with little results. It appears that bad times reflect what leaders do in the good times so a little self-assessment may do us good. Think I’ll take this test myself.
1: Blame the economy to avoid looking in the mirror
2: Reduce prices to compensate for a lack of training
3: Focus on paper more than people
4: Fail to recognize that consumers know more about my product than our salespeople
5: When challenged do I tend to compromise
6: Refuse to understand what I don’t know
7: Talk more, listen less
Small business has never needed to recognize the need to change than now. The high impact leaders today seem acutely aware of where to focus, what to fix and avoid succumbing to the euphoria created by past success. Common to their decision making is realizing that doing the right thing only matters when challenged. The leaders who are steering a straight course in these waters have some common traits, these seven steps are quite simple to understand and therein may lie the reason so few make them part of their daily routine.
1: A confident and positive outlook especially when circumstances aren’t
2: Innovate Simplicity. End the busy work, reports that do not stimulate action are worthless
3: Train, Train, Train, especially on the front end of the business
4: Capture imagination. Focus the Vision; Re-deploy what you are great at doing
5: Recognize your GoTo people. There your employees to leverage
6: End the valueless practices, procedures or people
7: Question Everything. Details that do not deliver, Activity without results, Suppliers unchallenged
When you know you made the right decision, stick with it. Effective change never required compromise. One CEO with about 10,000 employees has consistently outperformed all the others in their segment said it this way, “You can only get there with top talent. My job is to make the tough calls without consensus. Once you get through it, everyone sees you made the right call, its’ just confidence and courage that bridge those two points.” Think I’ll follow those seven suggestions. Let’s go sell something while the naysayers sit in the mud waiting for another high tide.