Your business is threatened every day by inconsistency. Whether yours, your employees or your suppliers.
The good news is you have high levels of influence over all of them. Whether you choose to exert that authority depends heavily on three factors.
One. Do you see the inconsistency? Until you define what you expect of each group, yourself included, you can not judge whether your business is meeting your standards. Or whether those standards are realistic. Or fair.
Two. Have you articulated your expectations? In the very early days of establishing our first business we were negotiating the purchase of a million dollar’s worth of film editing equipment. I told the sales rep that we were looking for a fair deal. But more importantly a relationship with someone who would treat as as partners. Honestly. And transparently.
Two weeks later, after extensive sessions of back-slapping and promises, I discovered he was selling us technology that was about to be replaced by a significant upcoming upgrade. When I confronted him, the cost to his credibility was far greater than the cost to his bottom line. And he spent the next decade working to justify my decision to give him a second chance.
We got better pricing and better service than any of our competitors. The latter being much more important when you’re running your own service business.
Three. Are there consequences when people fail to meet those standards? Consequences can take many forms. The willingness to have an uncomfortable conversation. The confidence to fire an employees when it is clear, for whatever reason, that your standards and theirs don’t match. The courage to hold yourself publicly accountable. And most powerfully the ability to fire clients whose standards undermine your own. Whether in their economic or inter-personal valuation of you and your employees.
Every day, we have a choice. To build this business. Or to do something else.
Every day we choose the former, we should make sure the things we do are actually helping to create the business we want.
The alternative is destructive.
And a waste of time.