There will always be times of uncertainties when making business decisions. When it feels like this entire cycle of questioning and doubting solutions seem unending, you can always count on your guiding principles to get you back up. That is one of the main focus every company should have. Sharing the second of the four guiding principles in his company, Ken explains why it is important to “feed the head or the body is starved.” He applies it to the important relationship bigger companies should foster to their smaller ones. Ken teaches the importance of imparting knowledge and learning.
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Guiding Principles 2
This is number two of a four-part series. I began sharing in episode 294 something that is core to my beliefs. I don’t like podcasting on theory. I have done a few podcasts. They’re what I call hyperbole book reports where I sat through a situation and I was a third-party observer, or I heard a powerful message from stage or from a mentor. I regurgitated what I thought they were saying. That’s theory, that there was not even 5% of the podcasts on this channel, our theory. 95% of what I deliver is physical case study that we’re doing inside our company or the consulting we’ve given to any of our 3,100 clients in 25 years. There is almost physically no theory here.
We are in the middle of a series of end-of-the-year meetings. They’re called summit meetings. Some spring up spontaneously, some are planned. They’re not optional. What ends up flushing out are the directives of what we should do the next year. Undermining, underpinning, and undergirding our company are four guiding principles consciously and subconsciously during times of challenge, during times of decision, during times of indecision, especially indecision where somebody can’t reach their boss, their manager, Kerri or I, they need an answer, but the reality is they can’t reach someone. They lean on these guiding principles to help them make quality decisions.
I covered previously the first of our four in that our website partners are family. In your world, whatever you do, if you treat your client as family, every client is your brother, your sister, your mom, your uncle, it doesn’t matter. You make every decision about the quality of that product, the quality of the delivery, the quality of the service as if it was truly your dad. Does that change decisions? Does that change actions? It’s much easier said than done. However, I’m being transparent. That’s one of our four guiding principles. That’s a tough one but it is one of the reasons of what I’m going to cover in the next episode. For this episode, the second guiding principle our company runs on and is definitely a mantra of ours. You feed the head, or the body starves. Let’s talk about it literally. An animal, a human, a mammal, anything, you feed it through the mouth. I guess you can feed intravenously, but if you feed the head, the body doesn’t starve. When we look at most companies, we have 3,100 traditional consulting clients since March of 1992. Some are big, some are small. We’ve done Harrah’s Casino, McDonald’s, MCI WorldCom, many publicly-traded companies and then tons of mom and pop’s and tons of middle-sized companies.There is a direct correlation to input and output. Click To Tweet
The concept is this. There is a direct correlation to the bigger the company, the more they understand this principle. The principle is this. Smaller companies get confused that activity equals accomplishment. Bigger companies, they can’t get anything done without activity. The bigger companies understand because of time, wisdom, and experience that if all employees, management, executives, even the board of directors are not continually feeding the head, each individual head of that company, each individual employee with ongoing, continuing education, they know that company can’t truly grow. It will stay the same.
What’s the concept? Could you imagine if we stopped all children in the US in fifth grade? Would we ever do that? No, we’ve got to continually feed that child through eighth grade. For those that choose through high school, through college, through masters and PhDs, it is what it is. There is a direct correlation to the more you feed that brain to production in a literal dollar amount value. You can get political and you can get whatever. The reality is there is a direct correlation to input and output. If it works for children, why would it be any different in a company?
Our guiding principle number two is I don’t care what your title is. Kerri and I, we’re freaks. I’m still, to this day, reading a book a week. I’ve got a book in front of me, Leadership Axioms by Bill Hybels. I’m also in the middle of another Bill Hybels book upstairs. When I’m done, I’m at The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels. Why Bill Hybels? He happened to build the fastest-growing and most well-sustained church in the United States, Willow Creek. “He’s a pastor. I don’t want to read that. That’s about religion. I don’t know.” It’s Leadership Axioms. Bill Hybels counsels some of the biggest companies in the world. He’s a leadership guru. John Maxwell, 25-year pastor, is considered one of the greatest leadership experts the world has ever seen.
Kerri and I have known since 1992 that we have to feed the head. I don’t mean the head of the company. We have to feed the brains of every division, every employee, every level of our company. It is not an accident that four of the last five years, which are years twenty through 25 of our company. We’ve hit the Inc. 5000 list as one of the US fastest-growing companies. The only reason we missed in 2014 is I was a week late submitting the paperwork. It was our fastest-growth year. We really would have hit the Inc. 5000 list each of the last five years.
The concept of how serious we are about feeding the head and continuing education is as a company, we have never sent a person. No members of our management team have ever even attended the Inc. 5000 conference to get our awards. They’ve mailed them to us. Why? For some reason, we always choose to pay for our management, even Kerri and I, to attend other conferences that we believe are more important that same weekend. For some reason in that month, there are powerful conferences that I know our team has to be at. We choose adding education to our heads and not going to get an award for our vanity. Guiding principle number two, feed the head or the body will starve. I hope that helps.