I hope the title got your attention … because it should. I’ve been in the training and consulting business for over 30 years. I’ve been retained to fix just about every conceivable mess an owner could get into. I’m talking choke-the-life-out-of-the-business levels of debt and a stack of credit cards charged to the max. I’m talking toxic business cultures built on drama and blame instead of clarity of purpose and trust. And I’m talking about everyone reading from a different playbook – or no playbook – instead of harnessing the power of team that occurs when everyone is on the same page. In just about every case, the problems I’m hired to fix are self-inflicted.
So why should you kick your own butt? For starters, your company is capable of delivering more than it currently is in terms of revenue, productivity, profitability and customer loyalty. As leader, you are not turning on or dialing in all of the systems that your company needs to deliver truly outstanding performance. Consider that every leader is a unique collection of thinking and behavior. Much of that thinking and behavior made you a successful leader. The remainder of that thinking and behavior falls into the area that I call “Leadership Blockages.” It’s your blockages that get in your way and cause your company’s performance to get stuck or degrade. It’s your blockages that create drama, feed procrastination and allows tough decisions to be avoided like the plague.
Here are seven no-compromise strategies to kick your own butt:
1. If it needs to be done – get it done: The bad thing about you being a leader is that you can procrastinate, avoid tough decisions and waste time on low level stuff without being called out. Guess what? Your company will call you out for playing full out by creating drama, inefficiency and cash-flow problems. If you’re tired of putting out fires, then stop watching your staff play with matches. Kick your own butt and get your work done first. That’s what no-compromise leaders do.
2. Want success ten times more than everyone else: I cringe every time a leader asks, “How do you motivate people?” How do you motivate people?!! Heck, you get them inspired and fired up over the company vision and the work it’s going to take to get there. You get everyone locked into the goals and you keep score. You support and encourage. You coach people through challenges. You help change resisters get on board and you cut them loose when they prove they can’t or won’t. If you don’t want success ten more than everyone else, you’ll never motivate others. No one follows a leader that’s on the relentless pursuit of mediocrity.
3. Profit is behavior driven: Profit & Loss Statements and Balance Sheets are a numeric readout of your thinking and behavior as a leader and a company. The hardest job we have coaching leaders, especially entrepreneurs, is getting them to practice and live the fiscal behaviors that create profit. Unchecked and unjustified spending and financial decisions can and will keep a company in a perpetual cash crisis. Each and every expense must meet the “gotta have” or “nice to have” test. The problem is, entrepreneurs can justify anything. Nice to have’s can wait. Gotta have’s need to be funded out of cash or by incurring more debt. If you’re already burdened with debt, make do with what you have.
4. You let them in – you get them out: That’s right you let the elephants in. You procrastinated on a small problem and now it’s a big bull elephant wreaking havoc and gobbling up resources. There are certain aspects of being a leader that you don’t like (budgets, holding others accountable, confrontation, etc.) so you avoid them like the plague. Next thing you know elephants are popping up in all the places you don’t like to deal with. No leader is a complete package of skills, but every leader can learn to effectively strengthen skills they lack. Heck, you’re the leader – you can hire people that love the things you hate to deal with. Fact: Directly or indirectly, you created the elephants plaguing your company so you’re the one to get them out.
5. Blow it up: Many years ago, I heard author and thought leader Tom Peters say, “Every five years you need to blow up your company.” That was his dramatic way of saying that “new” eventually becomes average and comfortable. If you’re still riding the wave of a major change initiative you started five years ago, there’s not much of that wave left to ride – if any. The energy is gone. It’s time to shake things up and set off some dynamite in all that stuff that’s become routine and boring. No excuses. Do it.
6. All to gain and everything to lose: Fear of change is debilitating. Fearing what it will really take to win the game is a waste of time. Giving in to the fear that those you lead will push back and reject change is surrendering to average. Do you truly want to lead an extraordinary company? Of course you do. Do your employees want to work for and be part of an extraordinary company? Of course they do. But you’re the leader and only you have the power to initiate your vision for change. Fact: If you continue on your present course, you could lose everything. If you go No Compromise, you have a chance at achieving something truly wonderful for you and your team. You’re an entrepreneur and being an entrepreneur is about taking risks and innovating new ideas that others cannot see. I’d rather lose it all by giving it all I’ve got than sitting on the sidelines. What’s your choice?
7. Accountability: It is the essence of No-Compromise Leadership. Without it, the best plans crash and burn. Leaders become all talk and no action. You get comfortable tolerating the intolerable. You and those you lead turn the “blame game” to a new sport. Holding yourself accountable is tough. Holding others accountable is the work of leadership. If you implemented a new system or initiative a few months ago, what does it look like today? Did it blast off and blow up – or is it refined, gaining traction and producing measurable results? No-Compromise Leaders embrace and tenaciously instill the accountability mantra throughout their companies.
If it needs to be done – get it done. No Compromise!
Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the salon and spa industry. His is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker, an award-winning author, and the creator of the Team-Based Pay System. Ducoff is the author of Fast Forward, the definitive business resource book for salons and spas. and No-Compromise Leadership, winner of the 2010 IPPY Award for Business. His latest book, Wake Up!, contains 114 strategies that every leader needs to know. For signed copies, go to www.strategies.com. You can email Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org.