Because of Me

My wife and I are natives of Kansas.  There is a debate across the nation on the merits of barbeque from Kansas City, through Memphis, to North Carolina and back to Texas.  I personally like them all, but Kansas City is my favorite.  I grew up with it.  When we moved to Texas almost 14 years ago, I had to find some great Texas barbeque.  I settled on Rudy’s as one of my favorites.  Not because it’s the best food- it’s good, but not my favorite by taste, but because of the great service.

For those of you who have not been to a Rudy’s, they are located in upscale gas and C stores in Texas.  I recently visited the one at 620 and 2222 and took this photo of their mission.  I love this mission statement and I believe it permeates through the staff at Rudy’s.  They are extremely helpful and knowledgeable.  They want you to be delighted.

I’ve read about a phenomenon that takes place in crowds. If someone needs help when a crowd is present, they are less likely to get it.  It seems that in a group of people they assume someone else will help.  It works that way in business and in life.  It’s not my responsibility, it’s someone else’s.

In our consulting business, we see this frequently.  When we identify new opportunities and build go to market strategy, the client teams are apprehensive about the change.  We have around 20% of the population in a client’s team that sees the vision and moves forward to execute on their own.  An additional 50% straddle the fence, do nothing and wait to see if the new strategy is going to work.  Finally 30% of the population actively resists the changes and fights to keep status quo.  Our leverage point is the 50% who are waiting to see if it works.  We encourage them to act.  Don’t wait on the strategy to work, drive it to work.  Don’t depend on others- if it is to work, it is because of me.  Just like Rudy’s.

Look at your life, your business.  What are you looking for others to do before you take action?  What can you do to delight the “customer”?   What can you do to “guarantee that every customer is delighted because of me”?

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The Power of Not Knowing

I just spent a day with two sales people who are new to their roles. They have sold in the past, but not with this company, and not in this type of industry. We typically think that inexperience is a bad thing, but I disagree. Inexperience can also mean that they have not developed the self-limitations we put on ourselves.

I hear limitations often; “I can’t ask that question” or “I’ll never hit that goal”. The beauty of inexperience is that we don’t know what we can’t do.

Why do we limit ourselves? Most of us do it without thinking about it and typically without ill intent.

Files are formed through our experiences and we make assumptions and take actions from these files.

As an example, I know that Camilla is a very detailed person who has a structured approach to the way she completes a task. Therefore, when I ask her to complete a task, I know it will be done with attention to detail and in a timely manner. That is a positive file. However I believe she is not comfortable in reaching out to people she does not know, hence if she is given such a task it may not to be completed as fast as I expect, or she may try to avoid it. That file may be true, but it may not. Those are the filters I see her through. If I need someone to work on a spreadsheet, she is the one. If I need her to contact someone, I could see her resistance to reaching out as an inhibiter to her being effective in her role. In truth, She may be terrific at making that contact. I could have a negative file that says she can’t have a conversation with a potential customer without me. Files can be limiting.

We can also see ourselves through files we have created. I may have had a bad experience with working in a particular industry. Therefore, I limit my exposure into that industry because I have a file that says I can’t be successful there. What am I missing because of the file? Perhaps I’m missing opportunities to learn. I may be missing opportunities to grow our business.

Not all files are limiting. Recognizing when we have a file that is limiting is challenging. Self-assessment usually is difficult. That is why I work with my coaches and I would suggest you find a mentor or coach to help you assess your use of limiting files. Understanding when you are limiting yourself is critical to opening up possibilities for you and your business.

The sales people I worked with this week were learning how to create an annual plan to reach their goals. They have no preconceived notions, no files, which keeps them from looking at the process as an opportunity to win more business and support their customers. What they delivered was fresh ideas on how to work with the customers and great ideas on how to improve the process itself. I benefited from their inexperience.

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