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Originally published at https://www.russmann.com on March 11, 2020.
Last night I got some good news. I’m going to get to meet an online friend of mine in person soon, because he quit his job. See, we live in the same town, but he works in a town 40 miles away, and his evenings are unavailable.
He quit his job because the company he’s been working for is being mismanaged. It breaks my heart when I hear about a company being mismanaged and losing its core raison d’etre. I think of all the lives impacted by a company: the owners, partners, employees, suppliers and clients.
To me it’s deeply sad to see something not go well in a business. It drives me to do what I do, which is to help Treps improve their businesses by improving their model, systems, and ultimately themselves.
This friend of mine who quit is one of a group of people who are all quitting about the same time. It’s always incredible to me how much people will take from a business before they give up on it. If you watch shows like The Profit with Marcus Lemonis or any one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant shows, you’ll notice that often there are incredible employees who have been loyal and dedicated for years even under the most ridiculous management.
The reason people stay is researched in a field called Organizational Management Theory. The concept here is a “real boss.” The real boss is the person in the organization who actually motivates you to do your work regardless of who is actually at the top of the organizational chart or who you report to in your organization. Sometimes it’s a manager and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s YOUR manager and sometimes it’s a manager from another department. The idea is that people will stick around because they don’t want to let down a person who is providing leadership, even if that person isn’t in the position of a leader or an authority.
In the case of my friend, the people providing the true leadership in the organization have finally had enough and are fed up and their exit signals the exit for those who we’re relying on them.
My hope is the owners will experience a wake-up call and change their business. And if they don’t I guess that’s okay because the market doesn’t need shitty businesses. Bottom line.
That’s one of the greatest aspects of Entrepreneurship. Treps succeed by providing value to people. And that value proposition comes with counting the cost as well, which sometimes has money, and sometimes those other things, like leadership, time freedom and flexibility, purpose and mission.
Do you study and love history as much as I do? In human history, the way to get ahead, to gather resources, has been to brutally steal from others. A strong man would get ahead by going to his neighbor and beating him over the head and taking his stuff. The physically weak and marginalized were completely at the mercy of the physically strong. Women who by nature have less strong physical bodies have historically been subject to men.
This concept scales by gathering your entire village together, and raiding the next village. It scales further by forming nations or nation-states, and raiding other countries. Alexander the Great for example, Attila the Hun, and other conquerors are masters at this form of wealth generation. They were also mass murderers.
I absolutely love the fact that the central idea of Entrepreneurship is that the way to get ahead is to serve, help, and benefit someone else, instead of terrorize someone else.
To do that well you have to be thinking of the benefit to literally everyone else you interact with.
In any business model, I’m looking for a win-win-win-win-win situation. Five wins. I want myself to win, that’s a given, I want my business partners to win, I want my employees to win, I want my suppliers to win, and I want my clients to win.
If any one of those isn’t winning, then something is wrong with my business. The culprits can be the business model itself, one’s skills as a Trep, or sometimes the underlying purpose of my business. What other culprits can you think of for a business that does not produce 5 wins?
When I think of the five wins a couple of companies come to mind.
Costco and Starbucks became great companies specifically by focusing on the win for their employees. Somehow that concept hadn’t really taken root outside of small family businesses. Small family businesses have been concerned about their employees for all time as far as I can tell. With some exceptions, treating your neighbors who work for you like crap didn’t sustain any kind of business.
Prior to the 90s, a win for employees doesn’t seem to be on top of corporate America’s value stack. Treps like Richard Branson and Howard Schultz led the way in changing that. That’s just what Treps do; they make the world a better place.
I like Branson’s quote here. At first it seems like he is not interested in the win for the client, but if you take what he says carefully you’ll see that he’s interested in the win for the client as well as the win for your employee. A win for your client can’t come at the expense of a win for your employee.
How is your business doing? Do you have five wins? Is there an area where you’re struggling to find the win? Perhaps it’s yourself, perhaps everybody is getting paid but you. Maybe your clients are getting short shrift. Or perhaps your suppliers aren’t getting paid quickly and fully. Which one of these five wins do you need help improving?
Like I said at the beginning, it breaks my heart to see a business struggle or fail. I’d love to help you, please reach out and tell me your story.
Comment or email me and share your story.