For today’s business leaders, spare time is often an elusive luxury. These small tips can be implemented into your business quickly yet can offer big impacts.
Tip #1: Giant Killers and Ham and Eggers
Which is Most Valuable in Your Organization?
The boxing world has never been short on colorful colloquialisms. One such idiom is the term “Ham & Egger.” It refers to a prizefighter whose skill level isn’t quite good enough to land him one of the large purses. They don’t have their eyes set on winning the big prize money. They are content knowing that they can make enough money to buy ham and eggs the next morning. In fact, the Ham & Eggers probably fight ten times more bouts than a Giant Killer, certainly catching more leather than they throw.
A Giant Killer is one of those rare individuals who is able to have the right combination of skill, wit, talent and strength to take down a giant. In fact, they NEED to take down giants. Do you ever wonder why any famous prize fighter always has an incredible record like 26-1 or 35-2? It’s because as strong as they are, their egos are frail. Defeat to a Giant Killer is demoralizing and they take it very personally. Within every organization, you need both Ham & Eggers and Giant Killers. It won’t survive with all of one or the other. They also need to be in the proper proportion to complement the strengths of each other.
The Giant Killers are the account reps or sales gurus that you turn loose on your biggest clients and biggest accounts. They need the thrill of landing the giants but may be easily distracted or ineffective when confronted with the day-to-day details of running your business, something in which the Ham & Eggers thrive.
In Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering, he explains that God places us in roles that we may not understand, but if we have faith and are obedient to our calling, His greater good will be accomplished. He offered the example of Billy Graham’s parents. “The only thing of any consequence that they did was to keep the family together, put food on the table - and raise Billy Graham.” They were obedient in their roles; raise a godly son. That godly son went on to be one of the greatest evangelists ever, reaching millions of people.
As a leader, you need to know who your Giant Killers and Ham & Eggers are and put them into roles where their skill set is maximized. Additionally, you need to evaluate their performance and recognize the value of each accordingly. Both are valuable and fulfill a critical role and your role as leader is to recognize the purpose and value of each.
Tip #2: 10 Minute Rewind
Are you Building Prudent Leaders or Professional Apologizers?
As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. It’s almost a given fact that when a problem or crisis occurs in your business, if you were to look back, you could probably identify a critical event that, if changed, would have avoided the problem entirely. The problem is, as leaders and managers, we get so wrapped up in conducting damage control that we miss the opportunity to turn problems into learning tools.
There is an unbelievable amount of untapped knowledge that can be gleaned by looking back at the situation to see where things got off track. The next time a problem occurs in your business, take the time to have a discussion with the person responsible, and ask them to think back and give you their assessment of where things went wrong. Then ask the sixty-four thousand dollar question: If you could have ten minutes back, what would you do differently?
The amazing thing about this exercise is that it does two things: it helps to educate your leaders and managers, and, depending on how they answer, will give you a good indication as to whether they have the character that you want for somebody in their position. If the answer you receive is an honest assessment of where things went wrong and how the situation could have been handled differently to avoid the problem, you’ve got the makings of a good leader.
If you start getting the same old apologies right off the bat, you have what is known as a “Professional Apologizer”. Being a Christian leader doesn’t mean that you don’t require accountability. Receiving apology after apology from the same person indicates that they haven’t been learning from their mistakes.
The key to making the “Ten Minute Rewind” work for you is self-discipline. You have to commit to taking the time to ask the questions and encourage your leadership team to do the same. In the process, your team and whole organization will be stronger and will avoid making the same mistakes twice.
Tip #3: Value Reminders
Are your Clients Forgetting About You?
One of the last things that you want your clients to do is to forget about you. When they do, the voice of your competition gets louder and louder in your clients’ ears. Maybe the relationship with your client is strong enough to fend off competitors, maybe it’s not. But why risk it?
One of the best ways to consistently stay on the front of your clients’ minds is to implement a process called “Value Reminders.” Value reminders are ways of re-enforcing with your clients the value that they are receiving as a result of doing business with you.
Often, it is as simple as sending an encouraging email or a note. For example, a computer networking company may send a note to a client such as:
“I was reviewing some old notes and noticed that it’s been three months since we installed your new routers. Since then we haven’t received any reports of problems or downtime. I’m sure it’s a welcome relief to the problems you have experienced in the past.”
Depending on the business that you’re in, you may include a photograph that you’ve taken. For example, a builder can take photographs during the construction of a commercial building or residence and send them to the owner with a brief note on the construction progress to reassure owner that they are being taken care of.
The value reminders should always relay a positive message. One thing that they shouldn’t be is a sales gimmick. Never ask for anything in return. Over time you’ll be amazed at the response that you get!
By: John Faulkner
John is a Co-Founder of TwoTen Magazine and is active in his community, currently serving on the board of Digital Lightbridge and Sealund and Associates. He is presently a member/alumnus of The C12 Group, Lifework Leadership and Grace Family Church.
John is a U. S. Marine Corps veteran, author, blogger and frequent speaker on culture, leadership and his personal testimony.
John resides in New Port Richey, Florida. He has been married for over 30 years to his beautiful wife, Julie, and is the proud father of an exceptional son, two beautiful daughters and four way-above-average grandchildren.Read More Articles by John Faulkner