The Coach's Corner

Archive for February, 2012

Is it better to be smart or to be lucky?

February 28th, 2012 // Tom Doescher //

As many of you are aware, I am fond of asking this rhetorical question, and often I go on to say that I believe I am a lucky guy. My partner, Barbara, likes to take issue with me, saying I am blessed rather than merely lucky. In 65 B.C., Seneca — a Roman dramatist, philosopher, and politician — said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Our experience has been that businesses that have a strategy and know where they are going recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. Although this opportunity may seem like a wild idea to many people, the focused executive can see that it clearly fits into the company’s long-term business plan. If an opportunity presented itself to your team today, would they recognize it?

The “Big Three”

February 21st, 2012 // Tom Doescher //

After years of observing leaders, reading about pathfinders and trail-blazers, and being a leader myself, here are the top three traits I attribute to world-class leaders. First, they have a high degree of self-knowledge. Socrates knew what he was talking about when he said, “Know thyself.” Second, they manage to stay focused. Most companies and leaders never reach their full potential because they spread themselves too thin and attempt to do too much. Finally, great leaders are able to have hard conversations with their fellow owners, associates, customers/clients, and others. Speaking the truth in love is a huge leadership differentiator. Which of these traits do you think you already possess? What do you think you need to work on?

Attitudes of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations

February 14th, 2012 // Tom Doescher // 1 Comment

If the founder of a business is interested in making sure his life’s work continues for many generations down the line, he needs to focus on mentoring the next generation early on, in addition to creating successful products or services. (When I say “next generation,” I mean the next generation of owners and associates.) In my experience, many founders do not take the time to teach the next generation what I call “The essence of the business.” In fact, the next generation frequently has different attitudes and opinions about the business than the founder — and these differences need to be discussed and dealt with before younger family members are put in charge. This is a topic of extreme delicacy, and many businesses fail in the process of making a transition because the founder hasn’t been clear about his vision for the future. If conversations aren’t held about the founder’s expectations and values, and transition plans aren’t put in place while he is still able to coach and nurture younger family members, chances are those left behind won’t really understand the critical factors that have made the business successful — and they won’t care for the business the way the founder does, either. Do the key members of your next generation understand why customers buy your products or services? Do they care about each and every detail like you do? Have you started the conversation? If you haven’t, today is a good day to take that important step.

Another owner story

February 7th, 2012 // Tom Doescher //

Last summer, my car windshield was the target of a stone that cracked the glass. The next morning I went to the grocery store and, in the parking lot, I noticed a pickup truck with a sign advertising “glass replacement” on the side of it. The service this guy provided was world-class. He told me to go ahead and shop while he took care of the crack. When I returned, he called the insurance company on my behalf — and a few minutes later, I was on my way. (Well, not really. You know me; I had to find out more.) As it turns out, this is a franchise business and the man who fixed my windshield is the owner. As the owner, it’s not surprising that he is willing to do whatever it takes to do the job well and make each and every customer happy. The question is, how do you get your associates to behave like you?

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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