Most of my blog posts on Leadership and Entrepreneurship come from two types of personal views: running a business and being a customer. Each time I teach EntreLeadership Master Series here in Nashville, I always stress the importance of walking through your own business as a customer.
I feel until you do, you don’t really understand what’s truly working and what’s not. You might be doing an amazing job selling your widget. But at the same time, you’re missing out on opportunities you didn’t know existed. The other day, we were eating in a burger joint in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, when one of the restaurant’s team members stopped by our table. She was really nice and wanted to see if there was anything we needed.
While she was there, she also informed us when they feature live music and recommended we come down and hear it sometime. We thought that was cool and asked her a few questions about how they are doing as a business. I was actually surprised the burger place wasn’t really busy. The team member said they had a great summer when traffic was high, but now people just weren’t coming their way.
She also told us her ideas on bringing customers to the restaurant. Now, this is a 17-year-old high school girl who is giving us great ideas on how to get sales into the store. Seventeen! And the concepts were really good. I asked if she had shared her thoughts with the owner. She had, but they weren’t up for it. You could see her frustration that they weren’t going after business. Instead, they were just sitting around waiting for things to happen.
OK, talking to us, the customers, about bad processes at the store technically goes against one of my pet peeves. In Stop Talking! I share how you shouldn’t discuss negative things about your business with customers. Sooooo, shame on her, and shame on us for asking. Now that’s out of the way, here’s the other pet peeve I have—LEADERS NOT LISTENING TO THEIR TEAM MEMBERS AND TAPPING INTO THEIR TALENT!
This girl not only wanted the company to succeed, but also had ideas of how to do it. Believe me, they would work. (One was handing out coupons to people walking around downtown.) And all of them involved her doing the work. The crazy thing is she will be leaving for college soon, so she doesn’t have to care. But she does.
So why in the world is this owner not only not listening, but also not acting? I don’t know. But I can tell you from the tons of coaching sessions and thousands of conversations, I see this type of leadership all the time.
Don’t let your ego, pride, knowledge or whatever get in the way and stop your business from growing. Be intentional and consistent about racking your team’s brainpower on what they think will help the business. After all, you hired them. If you didn’t think they were good enough for ideas, why are they there?
Question: Can you relate to this story from either the team member’s or leader’s point of view? It’s OK to be transparent.
- Stop Talking! (ChrisLoCurto.com)