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I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when driving to the office, I get cut off in traffic. No big deal. But there are times when it happens multiple times during my 25-minute commute. As much as I want to blame all the “other guys” on the road, I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing to cause people to cut me off. Surely, there aren’t that many idiots on the road—right?
Maybe there is just one, and it’s me. Same thing with business. Let’s say you have tried over and over to change something about your business. You’ve created a new story, a new tool, a new comp tweak—a new whatever—and yet, the results stay the same. Or, you keep hiring people to help in a certain area, and nobody can “get the job done.”
My question to you is simple: Is it you? Are you creating all this new stuff, but in the end, it’s really just the same old thing repackaged and called “new”? Perhaps because you are so close to it you don’t see it that way.
Hyrum W. Smith, Founder of Franklin Quest, calls it a “Belief Window”—it’s the way you interpret the world and the filters and input you have absorbed through your life that cause you to see things a certain way. And, until you change your Belief Window, you will continue to see and do most of the same things you always have.
Suggestion: Ask someone for input. Quit thinking that you have all the answers.
Seek outside guidance and input. Even if you don’t do the things they suggest, maybe you will start to see things differently.
It’s the reason this industry has a strong group of suppliers. There is a group of people who are great students of the industry, cutting through the clutter of input to see what’s really valid and working.
You may have a good group of executives and employees in your company who are—How do I say this nicely?—“yes” people. You’re the boss. You write the checks. You must be right. Question: What are they saying behind your back? Are you really always right?
If you find someone—anyone—who’d be totally honest with you about your views, as difficult as it may be for you, pay them whatever you have to.
Many great executives hire coaches to help them through these difficulties. Or they hire outside firms to help their team cross over boundaries of performance, marketing, strategy, etc. These are smart leaders for being willing to hire outsiders to assess and tell them the things they don’t really want to hear.
Great athletes have great coaches. They are already the best-of-the-best at their chosen profession, but they need constant tweaking and critical input just to stay where they are. And often, taking the step forward requires even greater commitment—and a more critical eye.
Love him or hate him, LeBron James, after losing in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks—finally, I got to work that into an article—went on a quest to become better.
He was already considered one of the top two or three players in the world, yet he hired the best coaches he could to help him with all phases of his game—a ball-handling coach in Cleveland, a shooting coach in Kentucky, a post-play coach in Houston.
As great as he already was, he wanted to win a championship and knew he needed to get better in order to do so. That’s why he hired people to tell him what he was doing wrong and help him learn to be better at all phases of the game.
You probably know the rest of the story—he and the Miami Heat won the next NBA Finals and he was, without question, the biggest reason why.
This makes me think of VideoPlus University, our two-day event that highlights best practices. Even after 24 years in this industry, it still amazes me that so many top executives in the industry are willing to share their reasons for success with others. The 500-plus executives who attend our event are treated to some of the best advice they could ever receive. In effect, it is two days of free coaching. Yet, I am sure there may be people in the room who will question the input received. It’s possible that in the next year their companies may not achieve the levels of success they hoped for.
So next time you can’t get things where you want, ask yourself: Is it me?
Paul Adams is Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing for VideoPlus, which is celebrating 25 years of partnering with direct selling companies.