The first simple truth about best business practices is that they are a collection of foundational methodologies, systems, and behaviors evident in all great companies. The keyword here is "foundational."
The second simple truth about best business practices is that they are not a "one size fits all" solution.
The third, and most important, simple truth about best business practices is that they are more about achieving above-average performance then they are about achieving extraordinary business performance.
Above-average business performance is noteworthy. It helps a salon/spa stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Extraordinary business performance is something you can see, measure, and experience. Extraordinary creates a unique point of difference that separates your salon/spa from ALL of its competitors.
Here are seven No-Compromise Leadership strategies to help you go beyond salon/spa best practices and create something extraordinary:
1. Seek "extraordinary" — avoid "standardization": Ultimately, trying to implement best practices that don't fit or complement your salon/spa will either hinder performance and growth — or, at best, create a fine company that is almost indistinguishable from your competition. Because "best practices" is about standardization, the opportunity to differentiate your salon/spa from the competition, and achieve extraordinary is diminished. MUST DO: Regard best practices as stepping-stones that require refinement, and eventual replacement, to go beyond your competition.
2. Intimidate yourself: Comfort zones are for couch potatoes. Achieving extraordinary means innovating best practices that push you far beyond your comfort zone. I never thought I could ride my bike 100 miles in a day, but I've done it many times. I remember how amazing I felt the first time I hit 40 miles. Then I did 50 miles, then 75 miles. The same happens in leadership and business. MUST DO: Challenge yourself and your team to achieve something extraordinary, then create new best practices to make it happen.
3. Break the "best practice" mold: Breakthroughs happen when you smash the mold, raise the bar, and discover new possibilities. The mold, and the best practices that keep it intact, is about doing things the same way. Yesterday's mold achieved yesterday's extraordinary. In business, yesterday's extraordinary is today's ordinary. MUST DO: When was the last time you broke your trusted business model mold? It's probably past its useful life. Invent a new mold to achieve a new breakthrough. Just remember, you'll have to break that mold to one day.
4. Choose wisely: Achieving extraordinary doesn't mean ignoring best practices and industry benchmarks. It means selecting the best-of-the-best business practices that will take your salon/spa to extraordinary new places. It means locking them into your company's thinking and culture. MUST DO: Test and perfect new best practices and define new benchmarks to make your team and your company stretch. Olympic athletes know about achieving extraordinary and the discipline it takes to set records and win gold medals. It's the same in business.
5. Lift or drag: One company's best practices may not reflect the best practices for you and your salon/spa. For example, some best leadership practices may be outside your skill set or comfort zone. The harder you and your team work to conform to best practices that don't fit your leadership style, culture, and company, the more stress, and frustration those best practices produce. MUST DO: Leaders need to recognize when a new best practice is creating issues. It's a pretty simple rule to remember: If it's not creating lift — it's creating drag. Build, support, and encourage lift. Get rid of drag.
6. It's always about information flow: The nemesis of all best practices is poor information flow. A best practice could be just what your company needed, but its implementation and execution were compromised because its purpose and process were never properly communicated. Accountabilities were never clarified. MUST DO: Proper training, coaching, and monitoring cannot be short-changed. Information flow can prevent one poorly executed best practice from bringing down other best practices that are working. Leaders relentlessly communicate.
7. Believe in yourself: Life is a roller coaster full of ups and downs. There are times when you need to dig deep to find those morsels of courage to keep you moving forward. It sure helps to have people around you who believe in you, but in the end, you must believe in your own ability to achieve extraordinary. MUST DO: You may have the ability and desire, but lost the courage and belief in yourself. What's the worst that could happen if you step into the unknown? For leaders, staying "stuck" is not an option.
Here's my challenge to you: I am a fierce advocate for best practices. I am also a fierce advocate for a no-compromise approach to leadership and business.
No compromise simply means, if it needs to be done — get it done. Create dynamic business cultures focused on achieving extraordinary. Make tough decisions before things go critical. Protect the company culture at all costs. Deliver on your promise to the customer.
- Best practices are the foundation of all great companies. Choose them wisely
- Innovate new ones that support your vision
- Periodically break the mold and reinvent the best that your company stands for