No matter what industry you’re in or what kind of business you’re running, the old adage that “time is money” is a non-negotiable law. Today host John Laurito shares another food for thought that leaders can reflect on: what’s slowing you down? It can be your tools, process, or people, but it is your job as a leader to know what it is, find a solution to it, and ensure your organization is not at risk.
[0:38] For today’s riddle…
[4:40] Understand what’s slowing you down
[8:55] Do an audit and ask the right questions
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over 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. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leaders so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John All right. Tomorrow’s leaders. Welcome to the show. Great to be back with you once again. Okay. So today’s riddle is we’ll start with this. I do not have a winner from the prior one yet because I’m recording on the same day. I just recorded it like 5 minutes ago. So hold your horses. Okay. Um, the riddle for today is I am full of holes, but strong as steel. What am I? Once again, I am full of holes, but strong as steel. What am I? That is today’s riddle brought to you by tomorrow’s leader. Okay. So recently I was at a gas station filling up my tank of gas, filling up my car. And I don’t know if this has happened before. This drives me freakin nuts when I. And I never seem to be. And I know maybe I’m just an impatient person in general, and I think I’m. I don’t think I am, but I think with a lot of things, I tend to be I don’t think in general I am, but certain things I tend to be and getting my gas is one of them. I just want to I somehow want a fuel tank that fills up my car in like 7 seconds.
John I know that’s not possible, but I don’t want to sit there while this thing is taking forever. I don’t know if you ever had those fuel tanks where I don’t know what the problem is, but it doesn’t go the normal pace. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know what the average time it takes to fill up a tank of gas. But I don’t know if it’s 4 minutes, 5 minutes. But this thing was going like, I mean, an inch every I mean, just it was rolling so slowly I don’t even know what to compare it to. But it was like, I’m sitting there, I’ve just got to squeeze gas coming out. I turn away. I’m just whatever, not paying attention. And 3 minutes goes by, turn back and it’s it’s like fill up a gallon and a half of gas. I’m like, what? And I’m looking at this thing. It’s so slow and I’m squeezing. I let it go a squeeze it again. Nothing is speeding it up. Bottom line is, I sit there for a second and I’m like. Forget it. I’m out of here. I’m not going to sit here and wait for this thing to fill up the tank of gas. And I left, and I. Now it’s inconveniencing me because I could have sat there and just probably saved time. Because by the time I go somewhere else and get out of my car and fill up that gas I probably have wasted, it’s taken me more time than it would have taken had I just sat there and let it filled up. And, you know, I might be exaggerating a little. I wasn’t God, you know, inside along law, but it was going just painfully slow. So I left.
John I went somewhere else. And what would just struck me was how, as a society, we’ve become very impatient. People want what they want. They want it right now. They don’t want to wait till tomorrow. They don’t want to wait. I want it when they request information. They want it now. When they want to set up an appointment, they want it now. They want to be able to have access to something now. They want to finish something now. Some of you have heard me talk about a study recently where they did a study to see how long it took people to visibly react when they’re streaming video. Their Netflix or whatnot was not coming on and the average person took 6 seconds before there was visible frustration that was sensed in the study. 6 seconds. We expect things right now. Now, think about there was a period of time where we real Netflix model was you’d rent something and it would show up two or three days later. And we thought that was fast. Wow. It’s unbelievable. Now, if we don’t get our Amazon package that next day, we feel like something might be broken. Right. I heard my sister talking about the fact she ordered something at 11:00 at night and it was on her front desk that very next morning. Unbelievable. So our expectations have changed dramatically. So if you’re a leader and your business is not responding to that. Now, you may not realize it. You may not know that your business is slow or slower than the competition, but that’s your job as a leader. You’ve got to figure that. I’ve got to know that. Right. But but part of it is understanding this gas station may not have known that pump number four was operating like incredibly slow.
John But it’s their job to know that, right. They’ve got to inspect it. And I don’t know, maybe all the pumps were working fine and this was the one that wasn’t maybe all the pumps were slow, maybe they knew it and they didn’t care. They didn’t do anything about it. Maybe they knew it and they were in the process of fixing it. There was a problem that needed to be fixed, but bottom line, it was impacting their business significantly because I can’t be the only one that walked away from there and I don’t even want to go back. I’m not going to go back because I’ve got other choices of gas stations and I don’t want to I don’t want to deal with that. I don’t wanna go back there and have that tank still be slow again, which is a shame because I probably should give another chance. But just we’ve got choice. We’ve got tons of choice in the companies we use and the places we do service that serves us. So the key is as a leader, we’ve got to understand that right? And people need things quickly. The consumers are demanding things quickly, fast. And as the leader of organizations, you are in charge of ensuring that’s the case. If not, you’re losing business that ultimately will be so costly over the long run because you’re not operating in a fast pace. That’s the type of thing that puts businesses out of business. That’s the type of thing that runs them into the ground eventually if they are too slow. So the key thing is understanding what is causing what is to slow. In some cases, it’s a piece of equipment that’s operating too slowly. In this case, it was something the pump at the gas station and the the regulator in the gas pump, something was operating.
John Something was not working that should be working better. Okay. In some cases, it is a piece of equipment. Some cases it’s other technology. Sometimes it’s a person. So there might be someone who is operating very slowly, which is clogging the whole process, in which case that might be an easy fix. If it’s one person that might be a training issue, that might be communicating expectations, it might be ultimately change in the person, it might be the fact you’ve got too many people in a certain step of a process. You may have too many decision makers. You’ve got maybe have too many people that are involved in something when it should be fewer. Maybe you don’t have enough people operating something. I think about a pit crew for a pit stop, like they’ve got a whole team of people. They couldn’t operate with less people because each person has a very specific role. If this ten person pit crew went down to two, they would never be able to do what they’re doing as fast. So maybe you have too few people on a task. Maybe you need more hands in it. Maybe it’s the process itself. Maybe you’ve got extra steps in that process that are slowing down delivery to a client. Right. Maybe it’s just taking too long because you’ve got ten steps when it could easily be six or five or maybe even four three. That could be part of it. Maybe it’s a lack or inability of making decisions fast enough or decisions at all. Maybe it’s someone in the organization that needs to make a decision, approve something. Whatever the case is, press a button, give the thumbs up, give the green light, and it’s not happening fast enough. Maybe that person’s afraid to make a decision because they’re afraid to.
John The consequences of making the wrong decision. In some cases it might be due to perfectionism. You know, you heard me talk a little bit ago in an episode about the beauty of setting expectations around a fast B being better than a slow way. Sometimes as a leader, we need to communicate that. Listen, the importance here is getting this done fast. We need a fast B over a slow a k. That could be slowing it down. Maybe you have perfectionist. Maybe that’s you. Maybe you’re the perfectionist and you’re operating so slowly because your desire to get everything perfect and reality, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Okay, so the key thing is, what I want you to take away from this episode is, is do an audit on your company, on your business, on your division, of your process, on your product, whatever it is. How long are things taking? And ask your customers, observe, watch, ask your consumers. Ask the people in your organization what parts of our organization are working too slowly? What does not happen fast enough that needs to happen faster? Okay. I’ve got a meeting with people in the next couple of days of leaders that I’m going to ask that question to. What in this organization is not operating fast enough? What do we need to do? Better, faster? What’s clogging the system? And there’s a lot of great things that come with that because people some people have the answer. They’ll see in that gas station there might have been a worker there that knew that pump number four was really slow. Maybe he or she didn’t say anything. I don’t know. Maybe that just wasn’t a topic of conversation. Maybe they thought it was okay. Maybe they thought the owner knew about it.
John I don’t know. But if you don’t ask the questions, ultimately, you’re not going to come up with the answers. All right. So that’s today’s topic. I hope that gives you some food for thought that gets the wheels turning and gives you something to focus on this week. If I can be of help, let me know. Please let me know. Your specific situation, your challenges, your issues. I really would love to to to learn about that. See if I can help, but more importantly, share that with the audience. Just who might be doing the same thing you are. That’s exactly how these topics come to me. Hey, if somebody says, Hey, here’s something I’m dealing with and I decide to share that with the audience, that’s really, really valuable. So in the meantime, as always, like share, subscribe, go down below, and give a five star review. I appreciate you. I appreciate you listening. Tune in next time. Got more good stuff coming up. Thanks. Bye.
John 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 John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!