The Coach's Corner

Archive for May, 2012

What happens if you get hit by a Buick or a bus?

May 28th, 2012 // Tom Doescher //
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A lot of people seem to think that they are going to live forever. But just in case you don’t, do you have a plan? We have advised so many business owners on this subject, and have noticed a distinct trend. Typically, they will say, “I don’t know whether I want to sell or continue the company.” To which we respond, “Either way, you are better off if you have a potential successor in mind.” Identifying a successor can be very difficult; in fact, it may take a few tries. But once you find someone, you can focus on what we discussed last week — being involved in creating and developing new products and services. You won’t believe the pressure it will release once you know there’s a definite plan for the future. You’ll lift a huge burden from your shoulders, which means you may even live longer. So, why not take the risk?

Do you personally invest in new products and services?

May 21st, 2012 // Tom Doescher //
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You are the one who knows your company and its capabilities best. You also probably understand your customers/clients best. So how engaged are you, really, in developing new products or services? I believe both Steve Jobs and Bob Lutz would say the customer doesn’t know what they want. Of course, neither of them was big on focus groups, either (and that’s saying it politely). What do you think? We have talked before about Blue Ocean Strategy, and the basic theory behind that concept is this: Don’t focus on your competitors; rather, concentrate on what you believe would delight your customers and/or clients (which isn’t necessarily easy, and that’s why you need to be involved). If you aren’t personally engaged in developing new products/services, consider freeing up some time and helping your team create the next iPhone-type product in your industry.

He will never make it being that focused

May 14th, 2012 // Tom Doescher // 1 Comment
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On February 21, I posted a blog entitled “The Big Three,” in which I named the three traits world-class leaders must possess. The second of those traits was focus. One of my favorite stories about focus is this: A young CPA moved from New York to Detroit, and he struggled to find a job in his new city. Eventually, in 1981, he started his own firm, which was exclusively focused on turnaround consulting. Most informed professionals predicted there was no way he would survive, being that narrowly focused. Well, he stayed the course (I am sure there were bumps along the way) and 25 years later, when the firm was sold, public sources put its value at $800 million. Who knows? Maybe that CPA got lucky. All I know is that not many CPA firms are worth that much. Recently it was reported in the local financial news that the firm is for sale again, this time for $1 billion. Although there are often risks involved, I have observed business after business that has had what many “experts” say is too narrow a focus — yet they have all outperformed their peers. How focused are you?

Service, service, service

May 7th, 2012 // Tom Doescher //
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I am becoming obsessed with great service, and am increasingly intolerant of bad service. I recently received great service in a completely unexpected place — the T.G.I. Friday’s in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. (You know what airports are like — crowds, lines, cranky people.) When I approached the hostess and gave her my name, I was told there would be a 10-minute wait. My wait, however, turned out to be less than 10 minutes. That was the first pleasant surprise. Then, when I was seated, the waitress politely asked for my order. My food arrived in less than 10 minutes and it was fresh, hot, and delicious. Surprised, I asked my waitress, Monique, “What is going on here?” She replied, “Our guests need to get in and out quickly, so we have to move fast to get them to their planes.” (Monique also said she has worked at other restaurants but this place has been, by far, the most financially rewarding.) My overall experience was refreshing, especially considering I had just left a pricey Florida resort where, poolside, we waited almost an hour for our food. I guess the resort staff wasn’t overly concerned, maybe because no one needed to catch a plane.

Do your customers/clients feel like I did at T.G.I. Friday’s? Are your associates, like Monique, working hard because they’re proud to be affiliated with your business?

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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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