Ending the anecdote on incompetence, Ken shares to us the final three business obstacles his company went through: management problem, relationship problem, and customer problem. He imparts the importance of the golden rule of growth, which is “we can only do what we can do.” Every person is equipped with something that they can excel. Stretching yourself too thin will only make things worse, so do what you can do best. Trust your employees and clients as much as you trust yourself.
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Obstacles Four Through Six
This is number three of a three-part series on Incompetence and Picking On Ourselves as you’ve learned in Episode 259 and Episode 260. We’re filleting ourselves open and sharing with everybody what our challenges were in the last ten years. Even though we grew like a weed, four timing Inc. 5000 company, we definitely had some obstacles that hurt when we bumped our head significantly.
This episode is sponsored by Digital Footprint. That’s our annual event where we bring in speakers that have global businesses. They come in and do us a favor and share what’s moving and cooking for them. What are the mistakes they made and corrected and why are their companies still growing like a weed as some of you know. We had Jeff Hoffman, the Co-Founder of Priceline. We also had Brian Smith, the Founder of the billion-dollar brand UGG boots. Ryan Moran from Freedom Fast Lane is going to jump on the stage again. We had nine other speakers, and all have national businesses. All of them coming very close to doubling every year, so we’re very particular of who we lead on our stage.
In episode 260, I talked about three different areas we bumped our head between 2009 in 2013. In these last few years, we could have grown considerably faster had we not bumped our head into these last three. I’d like to share with you 2013, 2014, Kerri and I came face to face with a management almost crisis in which I was very nervous. Kerri was apprehensive of bringing certain people in. Later we found out that we did not have a management problem. The probable cause of our management problem, we found out later from a mentor of ours, was a faith problem.
The golden rule of growth is “we can only do what we can do.” Click To Tweet
We had lacked faith in other people and we did not realize that the only shot we had of growing was to release responsibilities we were currently doing to other people. We were not following the golden rule of growth, “We can only do what only we can do.” Ken Courtright can only do 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, what only Ken Courtright can do. Kerri Courtright can only do what Kerri can do. If Kerri’s doing anything that we can pay someone else to do, she is a terrible leader, delegator, and manager. If you are doing anything that someone else can do, I don’t care what your budget is, there are virtual assistants that can work for $2 an hour. If you are doing something and it isn’t something that only you can do, shame on you. After this podcast, if in six months or three months, you’re still doing something other people can do, shame on you.
The first step of all success as you learned in episode 260 is to stop lying to yourself. Eighteen months ago, a company with 100 employees with 1,100 different inbound revenue streams, I, the CEO-Founder, was still doing the monthly wires to site partners. The control freak that I am, I was still going into the bank account, double checking numbers, pressing a button, and making sure someone got the right amount of money. How stupid is that? That’s what accountants do. I have since released that. I got over my faith problem and I removed the blinder that I had a management problem. I didn’t have a management problem, I had a faith problem. Now, we have great managers in the accounting department and I only do what only I can do.
About a year later, Kerri and I were bumping our heads on the relationship category. What we didn’t realize, I’m going to say this in two ways. I’m going to say it first more to the norm, most of you reading this have a relationship problem with other affiliates, mentors, people, and even other competitors. You don’t understand relationships are the greatest leverage. The reason you can’t seem to get relationships going is because you’re an askhole. What does that mean? It means you’ve read the book, Think and Grow Rich and you’ve read the other famous books that you are going to be the product of the five people around you. Your checkbook, unequivocally, this is a law not a theory, is going to be the balance of the collective people you hang out with the most.
You read these books, you know these lessons, and you know them to be true. Your checkbook might be $80,000, so you want to hang around with people whose checkbooks show an average income of $300,000. You start running around asking people to hang with you and you’re asking and you’re asking and you’re asking and you’re not getting anywhere. You’re frustrated because you’re like, “All the books say you got to ask someone to mentor you.” That’s true. The bottom line is relationships are like an ATM. An ATM is an extension of a bank. You cannot take money out of an ATM if you haven’t previously made a deposit in a bank or that very ATM. You have to deposit first. The rule of thumb with relationships is six to one. You must make six deposits before your first ask.
If you bump into someone at an event and they are definitely your superior in a couple of different ways and you’d like them to mentor you, you have to make six deposits relationship-wise before you can ask them to mentor you. “How am I going to do that? I may never see them again.” Meet them, get their business card, and then email them three weeks later, not two days later. You wait a few weeks. You let them calm their life down, they might have stuff when they got home. Then you reach out to them and say, “I’ve been following you. I’ve been reading your blog and your podcast and following your videocast. That’s amazing. I just wanted to say hello.” There’s one little deposit. That was a deposit into their ego.
About a month later, you say, “I was listening to this podcast. I heard you do a podcast on such and such. I didn’t know if you knew this, but they’re holding an event very similar. It happens to be in your town. I don’t know these people, but I was thinking of you. I know you live in this town. There’s an event on the topic you talk about a lot.” That’s deposit number two. You build yourself up, you find a way to add value to these people and all of a sudden, they’re going to crack. You’ve made so many deposits, you’re going to wear them down and they’ll say, “You’re awesome. How can I help you?” If you do it right, you don’t have to ask.
Never stretch yourself too thin. Click To Tweet
Ours was a little bit different. We were stretching ourselves too thin. Kerri and I were flying all over the world. We were speaking in Dubai, Canada, Colombia, everywhere. We were not sowing the seeds of the relationships properly. We made a conscious effort nine months ago to cut out half of our speaking and build the relationships of the stages we were speaking on and the partner agreements we were doing. When it comes to relationships, ask yourself, “Am I an askhole? Am I dumping in major deposits first?”
Final one for us, we’re in the middle of a customer experience obstacle. Every single person reading this, at some point is going to bump into a customer experience obstacle. The probable cause of why you have that situation is you’re afraid to ask your clients and customers, “How is our service?” We didn’t start asking until just two months ago. We’ve only asked about 5% of our folks and we have 900. We’ve asked over a hundred, but we have a long way to go. It’s going to take us from what we calculate one to two years to convert us to what my wife calls Disney Service.
Every time we’ve had an obstacle, we turn that into one of our greatest strengths. We had a sales problem, that’s a great strength. We had an R&D problem, it’s a great strength of ours. We had a branding marketing problem, that’s a great strength of ours. We had a management problem, that’s tremendous strength of ours. We had a relationship problem, that maybe our greatest strength. We are going to be known as the company with incredible customer experience. For this episode, those are the three obstacles we’ve come face-to-face with and the probable causes. I hope that helps. Take care.