Otherwise, we’d all be super successful, healthy, happy and wise, right? These wrong things prevent us from getting optimum results, so why do we do them?
Perhaps it’s because we don’t have to do the right things. After all, the independent agency is a great business model that allows the wrong things to still generate pretty good results. During our training programs, I often ask: “How many of you are making more money than you thought you’d ever make?” And, “How many of you are making way more than your friends and siblings?” And finally, “How many are making more money than you’d make if you had a real job?”
Every time I ask that last question, everyone in the room always cracks up! People realize that in just about any other business, they wouldn’t have the opportunities they have now. The reality is that most of us would be fired if we had real jobs. That’s because most business owners specify what they require and expect from employees, and hold them accountable to do it.
In our business, you can still get darned good results without doing specific, required things. Of course, being able to do the wrong things and still make more money than most people do creates a huge conflict. What if you decided that the wrong things are wrong and, moving forward, you would only do the right things?
That reminds me of something a friend of mine, who was an LPGA golf instructor for 26 years, shared with me. After a bad shot, some players would ask her, “Why am I doing that?!” Her response was always, “Why? Do you want to do it again?” Well, of course not! However, it illustrates how we tend to focus on what we’re doing wrong vs. how we can correct or improve.
In our business, that would be like asking, “Why do I have so many part-time customers?” (Why? Do you want more?) The better question would be, “How can I make sure that I have 100% full-time customers?”
So here’s a BFO—or Blinding Flash of the Obvious: “Wrong is Wrong and Right is Right!” Perhaps now’s the time for a personal reality check on Wrong vs. Right. What are some of the things that you should be doing that you’re not doing? More important, what’s the long-term cost of doing the wrong things?
Those of you who have heard me discuss this before are probably saying, “I already know what to do,” but if you know it and aren’t doing it, you don’t really know it.
Remember, doing the right things is not just about having the discipline to do so. Every one of us is extremely disciplined or we couldn’t survive in this business. Unfortunately, most of us are disciplined to do the wrong things—and we do them consistently.
Here are some of the things I’ve seen people do over the years that are absolutely wrong.
Believing in Quick Fixes. You’re absolutely wrong if you think that a quick-fix scheme will get you superior results. I can tell you unequivocally there’s no shortcut to success; the quick fix is a total fallacy. It takes pig-headed discipline and unwavering adherence to your core strategies and behaviors to improve and get the great results.
Displaying a Mission Statement Without Reinforcing It. All too often, I’ve seen businesses post their mission statement on a wall and website, and then forget all about it. They never discuss or reinforce it. Even if it’s prominently displayed in their conference room, it’s little more than wallpaper. That’s wrong!
During a recent private training program, one participant was a young man whose previous career with Chick-fil-A involved traveling around the country and opening new stores. We discussed the need to constantly reinforce the culture of an organization and how he needed his team to focus on doing the right things. When I asked him how they did it at Chickfil- A, he responded that everyone knew the company’s mission. He said they talked about it all the time and lived by it. I thought that was interesting, so I asked him what it was. Without blinking, he rattled it off verbatim! Furthermore, he said it with passion and conviction.
Obviously, the mission statement is a philosophy that Chick-fil-A employees are expected to know by heart and live by. However, when I asked the young producer about his agency’s mission statement, he hesitated and admitted that he didn’t know it as well as he knew his previous employer’s. Granted, he’d only been there a couple of years, but he was definitely embarrassed when I pointed out the agency’s framed mission statement on the wall behind him.
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