Is it time to put your knee kicker away and shelve the way you view your work? Do you need to move from “doing” business to “running” a business? Is it time to break the chains of your current mindset and shift to another mode of thinking? In short, are you an installer with a floor covering business, or a business owner who started out as an installer?
Many of us grew up in this industry. I started helping my father install floors at around the age of 8. When I was installing floors, I thought like an installer. I watched my dad’s installation business evolve from just installing to installing and selling. When I started selling floors, I thought like a salesperson who installed floors.
When I opened my own store in the early seventies, I continued thinking like an installer who also sold carpet. That was my problem. Since our experiences and our thinking shape our actions, thinking like a salesperson or an installer didn’t help me succeed as an owner or manager running a flooring business. That thinking helped me do – sell and install – but it didn’t help me run or build the business.
I had made that most common of flawed assumptions: “If I can sell or lay floors, I can run a flooring business.” It takes different thinking and skills to move from “doing” the business to “running” a business. That’s the very reason many flooring retailers stagnate and their business growth plateaus; they find it difficult to make the transition from selling or installing to owning and managing.
Change is difficult. And human beings resist change. So how does one change his or her thinking? As with any journey, it begins with a single step; in this case, self-awareness. No one changes unless they know they need to change. Like the man said, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Your beliefs are the foundation of your thoughts, just as your thoughts are the foundation of your actions. A false belief is not considered to be knowledge, even if it is sincere. A sincere believer in the flat earth theory does not know that the Earth is flat. Let me offer you some false beliefs that keep you stuck in your old way of thinking. And the best way to eliminate a false belief is to replace it with a new one.
Belief No. 1: I am IndispensableHow often do you think, “This place would fall apart without me.”? That belief causes owners and managers to try to carry the business on their shoulders. Therefore, the business functions well only when the owner or manager is present!
When that happens, the business saps life from you and your family. Quick question: Do you work to live or live to work? Quick test: when you are out of town on vacation with the family, do you call your business every day to see what’s going on, and if there is a big decision you need to make?
If your business won’t work without you, then you don’t own a business, you own a job. The purpose of your business is to give you more life, not take it away. Every time you pass by a cemetery, remind yourself that it is full of the remains of many “indispensable” people.
Try and reset your thinking as follows: If I build this business properly, it will work well even when I’m not here.
Belief No. 2: I Can Do it Better Than Anyone ElseHow often have you muttered, “If you want a job done right, you have do it yourself”? This thinking sabotages employees’ self-esteem and causes them to refrain from taking responsibility, making a decisions and taking the initiative to make things better. When they see you take over or redo their work, they give up and let you handle it. Even worse is when you lose a customer because your employee won’t make a decision to please that customer. Have you ever overheard them saying things like, “I don’t make the rules” or “There is nothing I can do;” or “I don’t have the authority”?
We can’t all be as capable or extraordinary as you, but remember, it is impossible to produce a consistent result in a business that is created around the need for extraordinary people. To get people to do each task like you would do it is a relatively simple process: document how to do it, develop a policy and procedure manual with that documentation, create standards of performance for each task and then train each employee to perform up to standards.
Your business and its systems must work with people with the lowest possible skill level. The average McDonald’s franchise makes double digit net profit with 16-year-old kids and 300% annual turnover of employees.
Try and reset your thinking this way: I can teach my people to perform the way I would. I can duplicate myself through them.
Belief No. 3: No One Cares or Works as Hard as I DoYou work hard because your heart is in your business. It’s true that you can buy an employee’s hands, but you can’t buy his or her heart. The heart can’t be demanded; it can only be granted.
The research is conclusive; a good leader can create an environment in which an employee will volunteer his heart to the business. It starts with hiring the right people and then creating a work environment conducive to peak performance. If your employees aren’t giving their all, then you don’t have an employee problem, you have a leadership problem and the problem is you!
Try and reset your thinking this way: I am the leader, if my people aren’t following or doing what I want; then I need find a more effective way to lead.
Belief No. 4: I am Too Busy“I am too busy to plan, coach, study my financial statement or improve internal business systems.” This belief makes you a victim. It says you are not in control and that your business is running you. It will keep you in the doing mode; selling, installing and servicing customers. It makes you feel that you have no choice.
There is always a choice. No matter what is happening, you always have choice. Let’s face it, you will never run out of things to do. You have to choose to do the things that will bring the greatest results to your organization. By the way, most of those things aren’t urgent. Doing the urgent all the time is stressful. It’s better to do the important. It’s the essence of Stephen Covey’s Habit, “First things first, second things hardly at all.”
Try and reset your thinking this way: I have good people, they can take care of the day to day operations, so I can and will plan, coach and train my employees, and improve my internal business systems.
So what do you think? Are you stuck in the doing mode, thinking like an installer or sales person? Are the chains of your previous positions holding you back? Maybe you need to consider new beliefs and start thinking like an owner.