In between seminars at Bowl expo I struck up a conversation with a gentleman at the same hotel who was attending a convention of the Society for Human Resource Management.” We exchanged pleasantries and, after a while and to my surprise, he invited me to attend a seminar being given by the noted author, NY Times columnist, Middle East authority and advisor to Presidents, Thomas Friedman
It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was a little out of the bowling world, or so I thought, but afterwards I realized how much of it was appropriate to our industry and therefore I wanted to share it with all of you.
The main theme throughout his presentation was “It’s really going to be difficult to be a worker or own a business in this hyper connected world because the single most important fact that it created was that average is officially over.”
It is no longer acceptable to say we’re good enough, we’re routine. According to Freidman you have to be non routine, highly adaptable and present a highly unique value. Whether you are an individual or a business, you have to justify why someone will hire you or buy your products and why you should either be promoted or be worthy of loyal followers.
No doubt this may create some anxiety (as if we need more!) amongst my fellow proprietors even if they haven’t spoken about it in this way before. And because every available piece of information about you, your company, your employees is now available on the Internet, anyone can check you out before buying your product or even coming to work in your center.
So what’s going to set you apart? Here are some ideas/recommendations:
First, you better be innovation ready. You have to foster a culture of creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking by instilling motivation in your new hires as well as existing employees.
Second, you must, absolutely must hire self motivated employees. the best employees you can hire are former HS or College athletes. They understand team work; they understand winning; they understand competing; they understand discipline and of course their DNA is wrapped up in self motivation.
Third, think like my grandfather or your grandfather; like an immigrant who came here hungry and was eternally optimistic. They came from somewhere so bad, that it could ONLY be better here so they were always afraid it whatever they got could be taken away in an instant. Some paranoia, I believe, is actually healthy. (Who said that!?)
Fourth, you’re a work in progress. ALWAYS having to learn something new or relearn or re engineer your business. Complacency is a killer and can be one of the leading causes of health issues. Fat, dumb and happy is no match today for a lean, mean driving machine.
Fifth, be entrepreneurial every day. A waitress in the hotel gave me an extra large serving of a fruit cup and a refill. Guess who got a big tip from me today? You betcha, the waitress! She didn’t control much, but she sure controlled the ladle for the fruit cup.
Now go to the center and look at everything you do and see if what you do is average. If it is, put a stamp on it that says, “Average" - It's Over!