Kenny Chapman: Three powerful questions to build success
When was the last time you took the opportunity to examine the all-encompassing focus and feel of your company? If you are like most business owners, it’s probably been a while.
Most likely — and hopefully — you set some financial goals for the business at the beginning of the year, monitor your actual results against these goals, and then judge your overall success based on these numbers. Numbers-based goals are great to focus on, don’t get me wrong, but there is more to examine regarding what really contributes to building your company to reflect and represent your personal vision.
Though we are all wired differently with our unique DNA and life experiences, there is a strong chance we share some core ideals about how you would like your business and life to work and play together.
Most of the clients we work with at The Blue Collar Success Group desire steady, ethical business growth while maintaining a sense of personal freedom that systematization and training provide. Focusing on numbers and profits is only part of this much larger equation.
When seeking growth, there are a number of underlying and often overlooked factors that form the foundation upon which to build success.
Three powerful questions
Recently, I was onsite with one of our incredible executive clients, and as we worked through a long-term accountability plan, it reminded me of three powerful questions that can set you free when asked effectively and followed with dedicated implementation. These three questions immediately drive perspective and remind us of aspects of the business we sometimes push aside during the daily grind.
We get so caught up in putting out fires and dealing with issues that arise that important things get overlooked if they aren’t a point of focus in our everyday operations. It’s important to remember that as a leader it is not only your opportunity, but also your responsibility, to build your unique ability-based company that serves your life, your team members, and community at the highest level in the way you desire.
Here are the questions I’m referring to:
What do I want my business to look like?
How do I want my company to feel?
Whom do I want it to serve?
The purpose of these questions is to elicit an honest, heartfelt response from the owner and/or top managers. When this happens, a business, and the lives impacted by that business, will inevitably improve — it just takes focused intention and action. We see it all the time. When all three of these questions are answered truthfully and thoughtfully, then massive action plans are put behind the answers, and growth and freedom become synonymous.
If your business and life are a struggle, it is because you allow them to be a struggle. If your business and life are fun and profitable, it’s because you don’t allow the insignificant things to get in the way of what is truly important to you and your company.
So many owners struggle with systematization and finding the personal freedom from daily operations. It’s because they aren’t clear about exactly what they want, failing to take the time to reflect upon what’s really important personally and professionally.
The real key to positioning yourself for freedom and growth is clarity. The positioning begins with these three questions.
1. What do you want your business to look like? When you arrive at your office, what type of environment do you want to see? Whether it’s your current office as-is, remodeled, or a brand-new space, what do you want to see? Working environment is too underrated in the home service industry. So many shops and offices are lacking personality and just feel like a bland warehouse. Feel free to add some individuality, paint walls fun colors, etc. If you ever have clients come to your location, think about what they see when they walk into your building. I know it’s hard to see it objectively because you probably don’t notice office décor on a daily basis, but try to look at it from a different perspective, focusing on what the environment represents and is saying to you and others.
2. How do you want your company to feel? My team and I visit many different companies each year, and every single one of them has its own unique feel. There is a certain underlying energy and vibe that is present in every office setting, which is an aspect of the overall culture of the organization.
Ideally, it should be an upbeat, progressive, positive atmosphere where your team members enjoy spending time and feel supported. Unless you become clear and set the plan for how it feels to be a part of your business, your team members will collectively, unconsciously decide that for you. You want to have a great feeling when you and the “right fit” team members cross that threshold and begin their day, and you get to decide exactly what that is.
3. Who do you want it to serve? One thing that immediately takes away the perceived struggle of business is when it truly becomes an organization of service. Most people think of this question and begin answering it based on client demographics, geography and types of products and services offered.
Partially correct, but not complete. This isn’t about targeting a specific client, it’s about a different level of service.
Think about it this way: Your company serves your clients, yes, but it also serves your life, your team members’ lives, their families’ lives, and your community as a whole. If you’re a member of a group of industry peers, you are also serving your peers’ lives when you share knowledge that can help them succeed, and on it goes.
During the recent onsite visit I referred to earlier in this article, I went deeper into this specific question with the team. Who does this company serve on the inside? Regardless of your current number of team members, your circle of influence surrounding your company is probably bigger than you realize. When you make changes based on growing your team, making a positive contribution in the community and operating based on the Golden Rule, freedom becomes a way of life.
Carve out some time, clear your mind and answer these questions about your business: What do you want it to look like? How do you want it to feel? Who do you want it to serve?
Your company is a reflection of you. The planning, actions, effort, leadership, collaboration and everything else that’s gotten you to this point represents you and your vision. If it’s not exactly what you want it to be, that’s ok; use these three questions to gain more clarity about the direction you want to go from here.
You have the freedom to choose — use that freedom and take action today!
This article was originally titled “Does your company represent your vision?” in the April 2018 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.