As I reflect back on the last seven months or so, I think about the lessons I’ve learned as President and CEO of SP Home Run. I think about the ups and the downs we’ve experienced during the first two and a half quarters of this year as we look ahead towards how we choose to round out this year. And I do believe it is a choice.
I think about the people who have come and gone and the education I’ve provided to so many. As a company, we’ve gained new clients and parted ways with other clients. We’ve had smart, driven employees, and we’ve had mediocre employees. We’ve had bad days and great days. Who hasn’t, right?
As I advance in my career, I’m thankful for all of the experiences that have helped me grow professionally, even the tough lessons learned. So as I look back, I think about how this all comes about from surrounding yourself with good, positive people.
So I’ve whittled this down into eight tips I’d like to share with future clients and future employees.
- Be a good person. Know who your clients are -- before they become clients. Know who your employees are -- before they become employees. Think about a scenario like a road trip. Is this a person you could spend hours with on a long drive? Do they surround themselves with good people? Do they have a positive outlook or are they getting dragged down by negativity in their lives? Are they honest with you? I will do a better job getting to know people earlier in our relationship.
- Get there on time. Show up on time for meetings. Show up on time for work. Others are waiting for you -- you’re wasting time and money by being late. If traffic is an issue every single day, leave earlier. Google Maps is an amazing invention - use it! I should have been more insistent with some clients and more forceful with some employees.
- Respect those you work with. If a client is doing something wrong or inconsistent, discuss it with them. Don’t call them out on it. If a client adds you to their email list, understand they are not “spamming you”, they want your input -- especially when you’re their marketing firm. This is a sure fire way to ruin a client relationship. I will manage employee expectations better.
- Take pride in your work and be accountable. The only way you get over fear is by doing. The phone won’t bite your ear off. Texting is not the only way to communicate. It may come across as a surprise to some, but business still happens over email. Get the job done in the time allotted or talk in advance if expectations are unrealistic. I will set reminders and better manage tasks for those who need help.
- Leave your entitlement at the door. You’re not entitled to “buy me coffee” to get free consulting. I’m a consultant -- that’s how my business makes money. Sure a few comp’d minutes here and there are fine. But there are limits. Don’t roll your eyes at me when I tell you something you don’t want to hear -- or you get an assignment you don’t want to do. This is not grade school, it’s real life. I will call this out when I see it happening.
- Stop whining in the workplace. Chronic whining and complaining is simply a negative behavior that tends to come along with a lack of professionalism. As someone who is not a whiner, this drives me nuts. Not only do you have to listen to the whiner’s complaints, you hear complaints from those around the whiner -- more whining! I’m setting up better systems and procedures to handle complaints.
- Refuse to work with those that lack empathy. If they’re not a narcissist or a sociopath, but still lack empathy for others, they’ve likely had everything handed to them or done for them. The only experience they have is being on the receiving end, rather than the giving end. I will explore empathy and compassion more thoroughly when I first engage with a new client or new employee.
- Integrity is the foundation for success. Honesty, kindness, generosity, and a good morale compass are traits I value in myself and those around me. I believe in doing for others, setting a good example, and speaking the truth -- I believe in the powerful effect of Karma. I refuse to spend any more of my energy with dishonest people. I will surround myself with people who have integrity and do the right thing.
What lessons have you learned this year in your business? And what will you do differently for the balance of this year?
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