Remember 2009’s so-called “Cash for Clunkers” federal program? The idea behind the initiative was that car owners would bring in their crappy cars – their clunkers – and receive incentives to purchase a shiny, new ride.
There was some argument as to whether the program was a success or a failure. There’s no argument that my 10 favorite business sayings – my “Klunkisms,” if you will – will help your business move toward cash and away from clunkers.
Here are the 10 phrases that will help motivate you, your team, and your investors to seek better results.
1.) Don’t worry about the horse being blind; just load the wagon.
Just as good ol’ Dory says in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming.” There are a million of things that can go wrong at any given moment. No matter what happens, just keep moving.
2.) When you’re up to your neck in alligators, don’t forget you came to drain the swamp.
Day-to-day problems aren’t going to go away – that would be too easy. Don’t let these obstacles distract you from your ultimate goals.
3.) If you’re going to guess, don’t take a day.
Your business is still building – there’s no time like now for a simple mistake. Make your mistakes early and often, while the impact of these mistakes is relatively small.
In his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, Colin Powell talks about the devaluation of information over time. Nowadays, if you wait for “sure,” the information ends up having very little value – and it’s no longer sure at all.
4.) If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
I see this happen way too often when a poor salesman resorts to price as the only point to negotiate. If the only differentiator in your product or service is price, then you’re a commodities trader – not a salesman.
5.) Fish where the fish are.
If a lot of people are having success doing a certain thing, don’t be shy. You have my permission to find out what they’re doing and do it, too. There’s a reason it’s working!
6.) It ain’t like you’re stompin’ snakes.
One particular event from my childhood has stuck in my head. One of our horses came upon a snake in the pasture (if you aren’t aware, horses hate snakes…really hate them). The horse went berserk and stomped that snake for hours. Every muscle, hair, heartbeat, and drop of sweat went toward eliminating any evidence of that snake.
He stomped and stomped until the piece of earth where the snake had been was void of any form of life – grass and insects included. It looked like a three-foot patch of dusty concrete.
When I go after my goals, I ask myself, “Am I going at these as hard as my horse did?” At the end of the day, you want to be able to say you put everything you had into achieving your goals.
7.) That’s like picking up a turd from the clean end.
Not every job is going to be a clean job. Some are just going to be unpleasant, no matter how you go about them. Don’t put them off – muscle through them and get them over with. You’ll have more energy to do the important things on your list once the dirty work’s off your plate.
8.) Treat people with dignity and respect, and help them land on their feet…somewhere else.
When someone is failing in his role, do everything in your power to help him succeed. Sometimes, you’ll find the person is simply in the wrong role or his skill set doesn’t fit what the position calls for. Sometimes, you’ll realize he’s just not that good. The rest of the team will be watching how you treat this person.
More times than not, I’ve helped someone find a fulfilling new career. I’ve found that being brutally honest is the best policy – one time, I asked a guy, “Do you really want to spend the rest of your life doing a job you suck at?” Together, we made an exit plan. I helped him network; now, he has a career he loves. Better yet, we still keep in touch.
9.) “Bad” is not like wine – it doesn’t get better with age.
Bad news is inevitable. When it reaches your ears, share it quickly. Reassure yourself and your team that you will take care of the problem, and promptly follow through. Whatever you do, don’t let your customer find out first.
10.) You’ll either die or get better.
Things are going to change, so stop complaining.
By remembering these 10 truths, you’ll better protect yourself – and your company – from clunkers that won’t pay you back. Don’t waste your time stompin’ snakes; you’ve got bigger things to do.
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