Tiger Woods

Written by Lynn Wise

 

Tiger Woods won the Masters on a rainy Sunday in April, finishing the greatest career comeback in the history of golf.

This article isn’t going to compare golfing to running your business. I am not going to compare golf clubs to pipe wrenches or chipping to service agreements. My aim isn’t to show that hard work and perseverance will pay off. This article is about finding your motivation and using it to help you achieve your goals.

Financially and in the record books, Tiger Woods could have quit on top and ridden out the remainder of his days appearing in celebrity golf tournaments and corporate retreats. What drives him to keep competing? We all remember the scandal and the backlash years ago. To remain in the public eye, where every failure is magnified, and every success is overlooked must have been brutal. But through it all, we feel like we now know Tiger. We were swept away by his comeback, by his success, because we saw his motivation and we felt like we were part of it. He set a goal when he as a child to chase down Jack Nicklaus, and he is still after his dream.

Most people can list their goals, but can you talk about what motivates you? What gives you the drive to go to work every day? What helps make decisions that lead to reaching your goals? Do you talk about your motivations now with the same enthusiasm as you did one year ago? One month ago? Your goals may not change, but your motivations should. Some of us remember seeing Tiger hug his father when he won the Masters as a rookie pro. Most of us will never forget seeing him hug his son when he won the title this year. His goals never changed, but his motivations have.

After Tiger’s historic win, a reporter asked him the following question: “People have struggles in their lives, personal struggles, physical struggles, and you’ve overcome these things. What message might you say to people who are struggling?”

“Well, you never give up,” he said. “That’s a given. You always fight. Giving up’s never in the equation. That’s just part of the deal. We wake up every morning, and there are always challenges in front of us, and keep fighting and keep getting through.”

Remember the excitement that first drove you. Now find what makes you feel that way again. Your motivations should have a purpose, leading you to your goals, and be both short-term and long-term. Do not limit yourself or become complacent. It is very hard to learn new things when you are comfortable with where you are.

After all the setbacks Tiger Woods has faced, many self-inflicted, he lost sight not only of his goal but of enjoying the journey. So, he re-evaluated what inspired him, faced the challenges in front of him, and kept fighting. And he never gave up.

If your goals don’t motivate you to keep fighting, then you need new goals.

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Why Purpose?

Written by Dave Rothacker

 

Why should a leader build their company on the basis of a business WHY? Why should a leader understand the purpose behind why they are in business? Does it really make a difference in productivity and effectiveness?

 

For a doctor to treat an illness or disease, they must understand the disease’s symptoms. Let’s take a look at some of the major symptoms of a business operating without a WHY/purpose.

 

No Identity – Take a look at service trucks in your town. Most have three to five company names on them. Who are they? The same holds true for their advertising in community flyers. There’s a picture of a condenser and a handful of company names. The Hunter Super Techs is an example of a company that knows its identity. Are you a billboard for other companies or do you stand for something?

 

A Toxic Work Culture – Gossip, backstabbing, politics, and general chaos is a primary indicator of a company without purpose. It’s also an indicator of weak leadership. Providing that people believe in what the leader believes in, the purpose is a rallying point from which to unite coworkers to a common cause. The poisonous symptoms of a toxic culture go away when people work together for a cause greater than themselves.

 

No Company Vision – No vision is like the captain of the ship boarding the crew and setting sail to nowhere in particular. After a while, the crew loses interest in working the sails and soon the ship is at the mercy of the wind. A company vision that is embedded in the culture unites team members and inspires them to move forward.

 

Failure to Implement Change – Change is a broad perspective. But if you and your company aren’t changing, you both are withering on the vine. The fact that you are willing to change but your coworkers are not is a clear case of either no purpose or one that isn’t being communicated properly. If you are not willing to change, you are stunting the growth and development of your people; you’re doing them a huge disservice. It would be best for you to sell the company and work for someone else.

 

No Reason to Get up in the Morning and Race to Work – If this is you, then your business is not purpose driven. Can you imagine your coworkers feeling this way? How awful! Why would you create an atmosphere where people get a stomach ache thinking about working at your company?

 

The Hamster Wheel Effect – You and your company are not making progress. Every day is Groundhog Day all over again; the same battles, the same issues, and the same outcome. The only difference is that you have less and less energy to run in the wheel. How sad!

 

No Inspiration – You are not inspiring your coworkers and they are not inspiring you. Trapped in that hamster wheel, you’re not connecting with sources of outside inspiration. How would you like to work for someone who doesn’t inspire you?

 

No Added Value – You aren’t adding value to your coworker’s lives. And beyond fixing or installing equipment, your coworkers are not adding value to the customer’s lives. Adding value to other’s lives is a deep and meaningful activity with many rewards.

 

No Sense of Team and Unity – Fewer things are more energizing than working with a team for a common cause greater than themselves! That sense of belonging helps your people go home at night with a better attitude.

 

Overall Directionless – Whether it’s how you feel about driving the company forward or it’s a symptom in your workforce, there isn’t a direct movement toward something of value.

 

An Uncomfortable Feeling That You Are Meant to do More – For some, it’s a raging head or stomach ache. For others, it’s something gnawing at their souls. Whatever it is that you are doing, it isn’t enough or it isn’t the right thing. You know in your heart you were meant for greater things.

 

Is This as Good as it’s Going to Get? Or, Is This All There is? – Perhaps you’re at, near, or just a little past midlife. Having sprinted to this point in your hamster wheel, you begin to get this sick feeling in your gut. It’s never too late to reassess, put the effort in to uncover your purpose, and start over! Again, you know in your heart things could be better.

 

Do You Want to Leave a Meaningful Legacy? – Do you think your kids will say one day that your life mattered? What will people say at your funeral? Did you make a difference in the lives of others? Are the footprints you left in your life visible enough for others to follow? Or will you go down as the greatest hamster wheel driver in history?

 

It’s Been with You All Along – Our WHY/purpose is not something that is out there in the world waiting to be discovered. It’s something that has been with us for all our adult life. We see glimpses of it when we do something in the service of others that we love and we also see it when we’re growing.

 

The greatest lesson that I have learned over the years, and I have deep scars to prove it took too long, is to enlist the help of someone to guide in uncovering your WHY/purpose!

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Lifestyle Business or Prosperous Business

Written by Chris Elmore

 

I have had the great fortune to see hundreds of businesses over my career. These businesses spanned all over North America and the United Kingdom. They have also spanned from small “mom and pop” shops to large multimillion-dollar, multi-location businesses. I’ve seen many things and noticed that there are two business types contractors model their business around.

 

#1: Lifestyle Business that maintains a certain lifestyle today for the owners but nothing for the future.

#2: Prosperous Business that helps everyone in the business achieve their goals and provides for the future.

 

Looking at the definitions above, you’re probably like most owners. You want a Prosperous Business. You want you AND your team to achieve their goals. You want a clear and prosperous future.

Maybe you’re unsure where your business stands. Do I have a Lifestyle Business or Prosperous Business? Keep reading to find out.

In the paragraphs below, I’ve listed the particular traits of both types of businesses. It will address:

  • How you see your business.
    • Are you one over the other, or a hybrid of the two?
  • How to transition your type of business.
  • What do you need to be doing to get your business on track to be a Prosperous Business?

 

In a Lifestyle Business…

…the owners make a “decent living”.

…everyone works as hard as they want to…or not.

…everyone is comfortable because things stay the same from year-to-year.

…there isn’t much innovation because nothing needs to change.

…change is a bad thing because it will mean someone’s lifestyle might change.

…most of the profit is taken by the owners for lifestyle items.

 

In a Prosperous Business…

…everyone makes a great living and has a well-balanced life.

…everyone works hard toward a common goal.

…everyone looks toward the future.

…innovation is expected and leads to change.

…change is welcome and leads to better things.

…there is enough profit to reinvest in the business and save for later.

 

So which business do you have? If you have a Prosperous Business, I congratulate you! You are changing the lives of your team and providing for a prosperous future. You will look back and realize you made it and are living your best life.

If you have a Lifestyle Business, go easy on yourself, but resolve to change. Resolve to follow a few basic principles to get on track to a Prosperous Business. It won’t happen overnight, but you can do it.

 

Here are some basic principles to implement in your business today to get on track to become a Prosperous Business:

  1. Know Your Personal “Why” – Determine and write down your life goals. If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you want to do? Where would you go? Who would you help?
  2. Quantify Your “Why” – Figure out the time and money it would take to do the things you want to do, go to the places you want to go, and help the people you want to help. When do you want to do those things? Things start to become real when you allocate resources to them and set a timeline.
  3. Know Your “Why” Business – A Prosperous Business gets you to your “Why”. Plan what your business needs to look like by the time you want to achieve your “Why”. How much in sales? Profit? Your role? Locations? Additional revenue streams?
  4. Know Your Exit Strategy – Just as important as knowing what your “Why” business needs to look like, you need to know what you want to do with it when you get there. If you don’t plan it now, you may have more work to do later. You’ll need to realize the equity from the business. How will you do that? Will you sell it? Be an absentee owner?
  1. Start Today – Look at your “Why” business. If it’s going to take you 15 years to get there, break it down into steps. What does it have to look like in 10 years? Five years? Two years? How about one year from now? Take this one-year projection as your budget for the next year. Take action to achieve this budget for the next year now!
  1. Track, Measure, and Adjust – Start keeping score. Know where you are in relation to your “Why” business each and every day, month, and year. Make adjustments to stay on track. Continue to repeat this process every day, month, and year until you hit your “Why”.
  2. Know Your Team Members’ “Why” – Repeat the process above for your team members and yourself every year. Make it a part of your budgeting cycle. It is every bit as critical as planning what you will sell and spend in your business.

A Prosperous Business is on track to reach the “Why” of the owners and the team members. It’s a business that provides a rewarding, balanced lifestyle for everyone on the team. It also provides for a secure future. But you have to want it. Otherwise, you’ll fall into the trap of a Lifestyle Business. Things are good today for the owners, but there’s not much of a future. The team surely doesn’t see the future. They’ll stay and help perpetuate your lifestyle. Until they don’t. They’ll leave you for the Prosperous Business down the street.

 

Chris Elmore is the Operations Manager of Service Excellence Training and has helped hundreds of business owners grow using his unique insight in the service industry. 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Golden Faucets Killed the Golden Goose

Written by Danielle Putnam

For nine months, our new company had been bringing in $8 to $10,000 each week from one customer. Have you ever had a customer like that? If so, you know you jump when they call. And this owner of a fortune 500 company had my dad on speed dial. Our customer owned several houses in town and my dad did work at most of them, but the big house as we called it was 19,000 square feet of opportunity. The home was 40 years old and had almost no maintenance for the last 10 years.

It was my dad, Rodney’s, first year in business; he had branched out on his own and was finding the challenges to be exciting even if they demanded hard work. With about five employees, he was up to the game.

Then along came Mr. Smith (an alias of course). Mr. Smith had these golden faucets (real gold faucets) in his home, the foreign kind made overseas. They were located next to an honest to goodness toilet with a hand carved Ivory seat. That must have been one big elephant. One of the faucets wasn’t working. We had tried and tried to fix it, and although our company culture was always to pause, sit, and think, and then find a solution…this time, the ‘fix’ wasn’t in sight.

But Mr. Smith kept pressuring us more and more to fix his golden faucets, so my Dad just thought, “Well, they really just need to be cleaned really well” and he soaked them in vinegar overnight. Big mistake! I don’t have to tell you what vinegar does to a nice gold finish. But they were ruined. No problem, dad went to the plumbing supply store and bought the finest Delta faucets he could find and proceeded to provide pure, clean hot and cold water to the bathroom sink. He could easily explain to the customer that the gold faucets were obsolete and not worth repairing, so these beautiful Delta faucets would be a better solution. Surely, the customer would understand.

Dad is a master contractor, but the pressure of business was a brooding beast, and the beast was hungry. We’ve all been there. The pressure wouldn’t have been so bad if Louis, our only plumber, hadn’t just quit. Without a plumber and under so much pressure, we simply couldn’t see the view from Mr. Smith’s perspective. And Mr. Smith wanted the golden faucets.

In hindsight, we should have called a plumber down the road from Atlanta. We were 90 miles north in a small town called Dalton, GA. If we would have outsourced the job to another company for the benefit of Mr. Smith, we most likely would still have him as our customer.

But no, in the moment, my dad just simply couldn’t see the view from Mr. Smith’s perspective.

Mr. Smith wanted to keep the golden faucets.

We had been working for Mr. Smith for nine months. Wow, what a position to be in. We were up over $135,000 from Mr. Smith alone, and he had become the “golden goose”, but over some golden faucets, that goose stopped laying those beautiful golden eggs.

When Mr. Smith sent us packing, he still owed over $16,000 for work that hadn’t been paid, but this was our first year in business, and we were afraid to fight.

We walked away and determined not to hold a grudge.

Last week, while sitting in our weekly leadership meeting and discussing projects within our company, my dad began to reminisce. With his steaming cup of coffee in hand, he slowly unfolded the details of this story. Now, for the purpose of the story, I said “we” and “our company”. We were a family, and this is, in a sense, a family business. I mean, after all, it was my dad’s company. But I was the little girl on the seat in the pickup truck. I remember being at Mr. Smith’s house as dad would stop by and check on the jobs in progress. I didn’t know this was the “golden goose”; I only knew that Mr. Smith’s children were running around the yard with a nanny, and they were about my age. They approached the pickup truck and teased me…I didn’t know why. But then their nanny made them come back and apologize. Some memories stay with you.

As my dad shared his side of the story, I began taking notes. He reflected, “But I knew who did it; I knew who screwed the golden goose up…it was me.” As he continued, “I wasn’t listening to my customer, and I wasn’t able to see the view from his perspective. He didn’t want working faucets; he wanted his golden faucets.”

Rodney’s perspective was that Mr. Smith wanted running water.

But Mr. Smith didn’t want running water; he wanted the golden faucet.

There’s a difference between hearing and listening. Are we really listening to what our customers are asking us for?

What a position to be in. And I know our story is not unique. Contracting is full of golden geese, and it is also full of learning moments that we look back on years later and either appreciate what they were or kick ourselves in the shins. Fortunately, my dad is fantastic at looking forward in life, laughing often, and learning from mistakes. After that debacle, he soon turned that company into a very nice profitable company which he later messed up again, but, that’s another story. We all make mistakes, and sometimes they are really big. But here’s to learning and moving forward.

 

Danielle Putnam is the President of The New Flat Rate and Women in HVCR.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

The Business of Business is People

Written by John LaPlant

Recently, Herb Kelleher passed away. He was a co-founder of Southwest Airlines. He was a negotiator, a maverick, and mission focused. He was quoted as saying, “The business of business is PEOPLE.” As the story goes, the Southwest finance guys, the “Bean Counters,” came into Herb’s office one day and said, “Herb, we have a cash position issue; it is not going away so you have a decision to make. Layoff a good number of employees or sell one of your airplanes!” Herb said, “Sell an airplane.”

The bean counters countered saying it would be better to eliminate people because airplanes produced revenue. Herb said, “Sell the airplane. People produce revenue.” This conviction and unaltered mind-set reaffirm the saying, “Happy employees make happy customers.”

Southwest Airlines was always a fun place to work…the decorated gates, the hilarious stories and jokes, the costumes, both the business traveler and non-business traveler loved it. It was the culture – a culture that pulled customers in like a gravitational effect.

Herb Kelleher recognized the power of the employee – both positive and negative. His job was to build the positive and minimize or eliminate the negative.

Clearly, the number one responsibility of business is PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT. It makes no difference if the business is transportation, education, health care, agricultural, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, banking, retail, or service, the driving force of success is people development. Build their skills, build their character, build and reinforce their values, and build the atmosphere that fosters individual and team growth and success.  And do it every day.

Obviously, it takes goals, processes, and controls, but, also a crystal-clear culture identity…A definition of behaviors and actions that are acceptable and those that are not tolerated for any reason by anyone in the company at any level.  The company culture becomes the gyroscopic course setter, the company moral compass if you will, for just “doing the right thing.”

Once in a while, Vicki and I fly Southwest Airlines. It’s always an excellent travel experience. No one is grumpy, whining, or in-your-face. I recently observed this customer service event. As we de-planed, I saw an elderly lady with a boarding pass in hand who looked very concerned and confused. An airport employee stopped, chatted, pointed down the concourse, and left. This lady did not take a step…still frozen in confusion.

Then one of the flight attendants on our Southwest flight came out. I overheard her say it was a long flight day, and she just wanted to get home and relax. She saw the lady, stopped, chatted, took her arm, while still pulling her own case, and started down the concourse. We followed. She personally escorted this elderly woman to her gate. She waited and walked her on the plane. Now that is a huge value difference from pointing.

Pointing is the easy way out if no value consideration is given to customer service. What difference does it make? This level of service from the flight attendant gets talked about, put on social media, AND SELLS TICKETS…it puts butts in seats. And, Herb Kelleher knew that as an operating fact. The flight attendant did not have to do it, but it was the right thing to do. PERIOD!  It is the culture of engagement, execution, and not worrying that management will get upset. It was Southwest Airlines run by Herb Kelleher.

I read about another stellar customer service experience from a CSR at a HVAC company. The company changed out a system for a customer where some upgrades to breakers and wiring at the panel were made. The utility required an inspection to clear the job to turn on power from the transformer. This utility had only one active inspector. There was a bad storm and the inspector could not get out to inspect the job for four days. Or, so he said.

The customer called the HVAC company and this CSR relayed the story. She was desperate and frazzled. She had a family member with severe health issues and needed air conditioning. This CSR jumped into action…FULL THROTTLE and NO EXCUSES. She called the utility and called the inspector…to no avail…no action from them.  She called again and pleaded for action on behalf of this client in need. Again, no action is taken.

Undaunted, she got in her car and tracked down the inspector. Really gave him no options except DO THE RIGHT THING, do the inspection. She even followed him to the job which was an hour drive and comforted the customer. Ultimately, the power was back on that same day. The CSR did not have to do this. But what needed to be done was clear to her. It was her training; it was the culture of the company with no fear of retribution from management. In addition, the utility called the CSR and said, “Young lady, you taught us an important lesson about customer service today. We will be much more responsive in the future. That is a promise!”

Wow, two amazing stories. Two amazing professionals. Two amazing folks that are proud of what they do and self-confident enough to push the envelope of results. Results that get talked about and yes, will generate revenue. Maybe not today, but eventually….guaranteed. But, revenue is not the reason these women took control of the situation when no one else did…..it was just the RIGHT THING TO DO in a picture-perfect way. The Herb Kelleher WAY!!! We have observed an organizational “WHY.”  Individuals who have absorbed a purpose, a servant conscience, a higher commitment to make a life difference for the better.

Now the question becomes, “Will your company have a legacy of astonishing customer service through great Leadership…Will YOU”??? Clearly, it is not enough to just “show up” at 8:00 a.m. Success requires engagement, attitude, perseverance, and constant attention to making a difference.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!