Part 3 of Power Practices
From Article Published In Restoration & Remediation Online July 17, 2017.
This is the last step and source component for all the “power practices” is integrity. Personal and professional integrity. Without integrity, nothing works. Without the ability for your staff to give and keep their word, commitments can’t be met, projects can’t be delivered on time, contracts can’t be fulfilled, and customers can’t be taken care of the way you really need them to be. In short, running the business where the owner is the only person who is rigorously keeping their word every day is crazy and stressful.
Every owner I have ever had the privilege to work with had a commitment to overhead being paid, payroll happening on time, and contracts with customers being fulfilled. They did a great job of performing that month after month, year after year. Was it easy? No way. Did they fail a few times? Absolutely.
The Secret to Success
The secret to success: don’t stop. Keep going. Keep your eye on the prize. This is exactly what’s great about every business owner I know. They show us it’s not about how many times you fall down; it’s about how many times you get back up, recommit, and get the job done. Challenges happen every day. Being your word in the face of every day challenges is heroic. Making a commitment to do whatever it takes to the hard work that drives sales, closed work and higher margin is exactly the behavior that put every owner I ever worked with into business for themselves, and what keeps them there today.
The problem we have in our industry is that even though we have plenty of owners leading the way, demonstrating this highly functional and profitable behavior every single day, too much of the daily operations happen in a way that’s commitment-phobic. Key staff get stopped by their fear of giving their word to drive results. Why is that? Why is there so much misunderstanding around this? Some people are afraid to give their word. Some people think that’s too risky. Some think they can’t give their word to something they can’t control. Some are afraid of being fired or reprimanded if they don’t do what they said. Many are afraid of not looking good. I have heard many excuses over the years. One project manager told me it would be too stressful to give his word to how much work he would close this month….interesting…too stressful?!?
Yet everyone wants a paycheck right on time. How did we get to this place where so few have connected the dots that its commitment to results that drives paychecks? How did we miss that commitments drive everything important? I think it’s because we’re looking in the wrong place for how to motivate people. The all too common default is just pay them more, as if money is the only motivation that matters to people.
Decades of research done with millions of employees done all over the world says otherwise. Here is what we now know. For the world of business, and with regard to the actions of leading others, communication, selling, taking care of customers, working in teams, etc …success is by far more a function of emotional intelligence than mere IQ. People lacking functional integrity and emotional intelligence feel threatened in highly productive environments. It’s very uncomfortable and scary for them. They lack the ability to meet every day risks and challenges and prefer the comfort and security of operating well within their comfort zone. On the other hand, people with higher EQ welcome challenge; in fact the ideal environment for highly functional employees is one that offers risks, challenges, and a lot of autonomy. Therefore, the foundational key to all our Power Practices and highly productive behavior is how emotionally well each person is. How they feel about themselves, their self confidence, self worth, and self esteem is the key to their personal integrity. The higher their integrity, the more coachable they will be. The more coachable teams are allows for an environment of learning and continuous improvement. Teams that embrace continuous improvements and learning accomplish exactly that, leading to breakthroughs in performance and productivity. When productivity goes up, profits follow.