Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance Winter 2019 - Page 10

GROW YOUR BUSINESS "One of my immutable laws – the written-in- stone code by which I run my company – is “Under Promise, Over Deliver” (UPOD)." I magine your staff is a team, about to play a big game in the fascinating new sport, YogaRugby. (It's part yoga, part rugby, part interpretive dance...with tennis balls. I think.) It's crucial that your team wins the game, but when you take the field you realize you're doomed. Only a couple of your players know where the goal is, no one knows the full set of rules and two of your guys are actually playing for the other team. Even if the competition forgets to show, your team will never win. The scenario sounds absurd, right? That's because it is. And yet almost every struggling business I work with has that exact problem. Entrepreneurs may blame lackluster performance on the strength of the competition, lack of innovation or poor cash flow, but the real problem is, much like the motley crew described above, their team is a mess. The fix for this problem is simple: In order to win the game of business, your team must know your vision for the company (the goal of the game) and the immutable laws (the rules of the game) on which your company stands. When your team has a clear vision for where you're going and knows exactly how you expect them to conduct themselves in the pursuit of that vision, there's a good chance you'll see it come to fruition. And once all of this is ingrained in your team, you'll know exactly whom you need to fire: anyone and everyone who doesn't get your vision or share your immutable laws. Yes, it really is that 10 simple. You may think qualifications are most important when hiring employees, or that personality is key, but even the most skilled and likable people on your team can (and will) lose you the game if they don't subscribe to the vision or respect and follow your rules. Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the most effective presidents – he managed to win the Civil War and keep a divided country together, no small feat. He was able to do this in part because he had an amazing team, one of the strongest cabinets in history. Ironically, most of the people on his team didn't really like each other – or him. In fact, when he formed his cabinet, he surprised many people, appointing his four fiercest rivals for the presidency. These were people who not only didn't like Lincoln, they basically thought he was an idiot, that he was seriously under-qualified for the job. But in appointing them to the highest positions in his cabinet, he was able to bring together the men who represented the different factions that threatened to further divide the United States, and unite all of them around one vision: “a new birth of freedom.” He ensured that everyone on his team followed his rules – most importantly, to rise above petty rivalries and disagreements – and in the end, they achieved the “impossible” and won the war. One of my immutable laws – the written-in-stone code by which I run my company – is “Under Promise, Over Deliver” (UPOD). Following this law with my first business, a computer services company, made us distinct. When a client would call and ask, “How quickly can you get your team out,” my stock reply was, “We'll be there within 24 hours.” I knew my competition would promise to be there within two hours, and while we could probably get there within that time frame, occasionally it would take us six hours. We couldn't provide two-hour service consistently (and I believe my competition couldn't really provide it, either), which meant that in some circumstances, our clients would be frustrated. To ensure we always over-delivered for our clients, we promised 24 hours and then when I was sure we could get a team out quickly, I would call the client back and say, “Great news! We were able to get our team together and dispatch them immediately.” Every client was thrilled with our service. The problem was, not everyone on my team subscribed to the UPOD immutable law I put in place. One of our dispatchers, I'll call him Bart, always over promised. Bart made the team crazy, sending everyone into a panic trying to make good on his promises to clients. They'd say, “But Bart, we don't have people today,” or “We need an extra hour,” and then Bart would scramble and everyone would be tense. Though I liked Bart a lot – he's one of my favorite people – he was the wrong guy for our company because he didn't follow our immutable laws and, consequently, made our company look bad every single time. Imagine how the Civil War may have