In this episode, host John Laurito wants to talk about things that slow down your business. True to John’s nature of making lessons digestible, he will not only give you three things that will hamper the growth of your business but also share an example of each. These things might creep up on you when you least expect it, so make sure you take time and check your processes and organizations for any of these three.
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[1:01] Too many steps in your processes
[4:15] Focusing on too much data
[7:44] Fear of making a mistake
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host today and every day. So I wanted today to talk about some of the things that are slowing your business down that you have no idea about and you would be surprised to hear these. I might actually give you three specific stories and examples of businesses that are being hampered. They’re being slowed down. Their sales are going down simply because of something that they would never guess is slowing down their business. So some free advice for those businesses out there.
John: So let me start off with the first thing, which is an easy thing. It’s a really basic thing, but it’s an avoidable thing. And I’m just going to give a quick specific example. I had a doctor’s appointment set up this past couple of days ago, and it was a really quick, like follow up to a blood pressure check. I have my blood pressure machine at home. And I think on a prior episode, I said, you know, I’ve gotten some higher readings, higher end of the normal range up into the area that you got to look at it. But the blood. So they had me come in to do a follow-up anyway. I totally forgot about it. I came back from vacation. It was like the day I got back and I completely forgot about it. Didn’t have it in my book.
John: Well, as it turned out, they had sent me a reminder. But the reminder was actually in a database. It was one of these patient gateway types of things. So you get an email that says, hey, you got a new message in your patient gateway. So I get a message telling me I got a message. Now I’ve got to go. I get a message saying that I’ve got a message. I’ve got to go to log in to this site, and then I have a site that I go into once I log in and I’ve got to look up my password because it’s probably different than all my other things. And then I go into the website. I’ve got to find where the messages are, the mailbox. And there I’ve got to find the mailbox. I got to pull up the email that I got to read the email that is reminding me that I have an appointment.
John: Needless to say, I did not do this, OK? I just, you know, like every other human being out there, you get a zillion different emails. And if it involves any more steps than really is necessary, I just don’t do it. And most of them are sales emails. But in this case, even though it was from my doctor, I just figured, OK, let’s see it. I did see it before the appointment. I totally forgot it was an appointment and I just figured, OK, it’s probably one of these even doctor’s offices and some needless messages sometimes.
John: Bottom line is, I didn’t go into the system. Now, had they sent me an email that just said, hey, confirming your appointment for Tuesday at nine a.m., whatever it is, awesome. Great. I would have been there. I would have shown up in this case. I know I felt horrible about it, but they lost business. Now, that’s really bad on my part because it really hurts me. I
will go back in. I’ve got another appointment scheduled. But the bottom line is, if this was another business, any business out there, you’ve now potentially lost a customer simply because there were three steps for something that was really easily could have been just one step.
John: Bottom line is to examine your processes. Is it clunky? Do you have too many steps in there? It may seem like, OK, well, it’s no big deal. What they are going to do is go right to the website and it’s there. I’m just here to tell you it’s the path of least resistance for 99.99% of human beings. And that little tiny extra step can be all that you need. That’s going to be just I’m not going to do it. People, in general, have a lot of things going on in their life or they are just lazy. All right. Hey, lazy, I don’t want to go through another step and they’re reading an email. Just send me the email. Anyway, that’s number one. That’s a basic one. An easy one. I’m going to get to some more specifics here, but that’s one of three things I’m sure they’d never know that slows down their business. I will tell them at some point when I get back into the office to change their system.
John: Second thing, OK, here’s another one. Now, I’ve worked with a lot of organizations that say rightfully so. We need to track a lot of data. We just need to get our arms wrapped around. I think one of the biggest problems organizations have is they don’t track stuff. How can you improve on stuff you don’t track? Do you know how many customers are coming into your shop? Do you know how much your average cost per unit is? Do you know what your average revenue is as your purchase sale per client that comes in our customer that comes in whatever your business’s you got to track stuff? I see a lot of organizations that just don’t think that’s a major problem. That’s another episode.
John: But I want to talk about that organization that almost tracks too much stuff or clearly attracts too much stuff. And sometimes they track the tracking, they have a tracker to track the tracker track tracker to track what they’re tracking. And truly and I mean that they’ve got
so many different things that they’re looking at that they just get like a brain freeze and nobody can really quickly access the data that they need. I’ll give you an example.
John: When you go into an airplane and you’re on a, you know, airline and you can see them as you walk into the cabin, the door is open to the cockpit. And you can see in there you see like a zillion different controls in there, which is really cool. I’m always fascinated. I’m like, how do these pilots know how every control works? And I’m like, do they? I don’t know. They must. Well, for those of your pilots out there, you know the answer to this. Of course. Yes. You know what? Everything on there means what it does. Some of this stuff you never really touch. It’s just warnings and all this kind of stuff.
John: But if you ask a pilot like how do you, you know, decipher all these buttons and knobs and buzzers and dials and everything that’s on a cockpit in the cockpit, they’ll tell you that, you know why this probably three things that we look at 90 percent of the time, and I don’t even know enough to tell you what it is, the altimeter and a couple of things. But the bottom line is, their airspeed, I’m sure it is one, they’re looking at three of these things 90% of the time. And that’s what flies the plane. They look at the most critical things.
John: So what I find slows down organizations or causes them to not grow as fast as they can. It’s not that they’re focusing on the wrong stuff. They’re focusing on too much stuff which prevents them from focusing on the right stuff. So what I’d ask you to think about is
what are the three pieces of data, maybe five at the most, but what are the three pieces of data that are most critical for you to keep your eye on, for your organization to reach its goals, for you as a leader, to reach your goals? What are the three things that are most critical for you to keep your eye on?
John: If you can’t answer that question, go back, sit down, go with your teams and figure that out and then put those three pieces of data in front of you all the time. All the time. Know what your goal is? How are you going to move the levers on that? What do you need to do? What key activities do you need to do to drive this number here and then back it into, OK, what are we doing on a daily or weekly basis to make that happen? OK, I will tell you, if you figure that out, you will see your organization start to move in the direction you want it to very quickly. OK, so that’s problem number two. Too much data and not doing the right things with it. Here’s what I think I said. Number two here is number three.
John: This was brought to me by a friend of mine who thought this was a really interesting situation. And I honestly never thought about this until he brought this up, his own frustration. And this was with a company that is working on bringing recruiting people to their organization. And it’s very competitive. This industry is very competitive. Industry urgency is very key to timeliness because you’re always competing against other firms. And this individual friend of mine had brought this up and said he had in order to try and recruit this individual, he had to get several people in his own company to agree and buy-in because they were going to invest a lot in this person.
John: And so there were multiple people involved in this decision. And again, keep in mind, the sensitivity in this is urgent, and that’s so critical as every day is so meaningful. And my friend was so frustrated because he had a meeting set up. That was this morning at eight o’clock in the morning that ultimately got canceled. Got canceled because people on this call felt like they were not prepared to go in front of the major decision-maker who was going to be on this call. So this was a call to make the decision and ultimately get the decision made so that they could go make the offer to this person and do it in a timely fashion.
John: Now, that meeting got changed because people on the call felt like they were not ultimately prepared to go in front of that decision-maker now. That’s normally a good thing, but they had already done two calls before to prepare. So this was now going to be three calls to prepare. Now, when you peel back the layers on this, here’s really what this comes down to. The individuals on that call were so afraid to be caught off guard and they were so afraid of the consequences of making a mistake or not having an answer to a question that instead of dealing with that and potentially making a mistake or not having to answer to a question and doing this in a collaborative way and ultimately getting to this customer soon, which is important and nothing matters if this ultimately doesn’t happen with the sale, so to speak, they instead, because of their own fear, that was now, you know, through the I’m sure the culture of the organization, they postponed this meeting now another week and a half.
John: So now they’ve lost, you know, a week and a half in the sales cycle simply because the leader was scaring the crap out of people or because people let themselves get scared of what it would feel like if they were unprepared for that meeting. I hope you can appreciate this as much as I could because I’m like, OK, I’m scratching my head. I’m like, OK. And my friend was beating his head against the wall saying, I’m going to lose this sale because the
people in my organization are afraid of a leader in their own organization. So far in an organization it is a really unhealthy thing. People need to feel it’s OK to make a mistake and it’s actually OK if you don’t have all the answers.
John: This individual happened to be a super-smart person that they felt would just be asking questions they didn’t have answers to. Hey, listen, that’s why they’re in the position. And if that’s what you need to go through to work collaboratively to get to an answer, that you can then go back to a client so that you can get the sale done, then do it. In this case, they’re probably going to lose business simply because there’s just too much fear in their organization of getting something wrong. Not good.
John: So I hope these three things were surprising to you. They were surprising to me, but I’ve seen them more than many, many other examples of stories of this that are in the same categories here. But hopefully at least one of these might be something you say. You know what? Yeah, OK, I’m guilty of that. Let me take a look. Maybe I get to simplify things, maybe my process has too many steps. Or maybe, you know, I don’t know. Do people feel it’s OK to make a mistake? Are they prolonging the process because of being afraid to make a mistake in front of me? Am I inducing that much fear? And that’s unhealthy and that’s affecting the business that we’re doing with clients. That’s not good.
John: All right. So hope you got something out of today’s episode. Of course. I love your feedback. Let me know what you think. Subscribe. Sure. Thumbs up, all that kind of good stuff. Go down below, give a five-star review. I got more good stuff coming. Stay tuned for now. Thanks. Have a good one. Take care.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!