As a lifelong-Cardinals fan, I was pleased and impressed with the team ownership in allowing the mighty Albert Pujols to walk away to greener pastures. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports the team offered him 10 years and more than $200 million. I thought that was way too much, a stretch. His body is already wearing down, and the second half of that $250 million contract will be a burden for his new team, the Angels.
And business owners can learn from the Cardinals owners in how they handled Pujols.
1. The owners had a number and stuck with it. The owners have a salary cap based on what their salaries can be as a percent to total revenues. Is your number 10%, 11%? Each team operates within their own budget constraints or their own salary cap. Do you? Do you actually look at your compensation percentages before adding employees, paying big bonuses, or offering other incentives.
2. Plan B. This is so important. The Cardinals have a Plan B and it’s in motion (which actually started two years earlier). They also have flexibility. To me, this is the greatest lesson for small business owners. Every year, I want to see all of my owners review their personnel listing and conduct what I call HR Contingency Planning. We do it for disaster recovery. Why not with our staff?
In short, go through each name. Circle your keepers, your best people. What would you do if you lost them today? Tomorrow? You need a Plan B. In bigger businesses of $20 million or more, that’s easier. That’s because your management team can be continually reproducing themselves through mentoring and coaching. That means people can step up if a key person departs. For businesses under $10 million, you do not have that luxury. In fact, you probably are the replacement if you lose that key person.
So that’s where you need a pipeline of resources you can reach out to if you lose a key person. Let’s say your top person is your sales guy generating $3 million in sales for you. Your Plan B probably includes several of the following:
1. Take over that person’s top 10 accounts. Spread out the remaining customers to existing staff.
2. Go to your files where you have been maintaining resumes over the year and identify the A Players (the approach Topgrading recommends).
3. Reach out to the contacts you have made over the years from conventions in your industry, various business mixers, and other networking activities.
Plan B assumes you are doing 2 and 3 above. If not, those activities need to be a part of your HR strategies.
For now, I’m anxious to see how Plan B works for the Cardinals. I wish Mr. Pujols and his family well in California. I hope he continues to play great ball and be a continued roll model for kids and his fans.
As Jack Buck, the legendary and former voice for the Cardinals would say, “Adios.”
So do you?
Do you manage your calender or does it manage you? Who is in control?
I believe the key is consolidating your discretionary time in as large of blocks as possible. During those times, no e-mail, phone calls, web surfing, etc.
The best coaching firm on the planet for executives is Building Champions. Below is the ideal week for the founder.
The message came from a man I admire and have grown to appreciate each day I’m around him. This man is successful, is mission and goals oriented, and just gets things done. But he’s also humble.
And here’s why. He sent a survey to his leadership team today where he asked two questions:
1. What are my strengths?
2. What are my weaknesses?
The second question takes guts, courage, and confidence. I happen to serve a few leaders that are unfortunately weak and insecure. This one is not.
Thank you (name withheld). And thank you for your example and your leadership qualities.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. C.S. Lewis
Last weekend, I was listening to the MU football game against Kansas. It was bad, really bad for the good guys. MU couldn’t do anything right. Three interceptions in the first half. One paper stated the MU quarterback wanted the offensive coordinator to quit calling passing plays (talk about a lack of confidence).
But here’s a great quote, a great story. Leave it to the MU coach to say the right thing at the right time to a key player:
“Hey, you know what?” Pinkel told Franklin. “You made some bad throws. But you’re a great player. You’re not the only guy that’s ever done this. So move on, get rid of it. Park it.” Souce: Kansas City Star
Great words. How many times have we seen situations like this where the coach tears into the player. Or a parent? Or a boss?
Coach Pinkel made some poor decisions a few weeks earlier, but the words of wisdom and encouragement above can teach us much both on and off the field.
And yes, the good guys won.
Most sports have their ranking systems – tennis, golf, NASCAR, NCAA Football and Basketball. Even Yahoo! Sports does their power rankings in pro football and baseball every week.
Suppose we had a ranking system for CEO’s. Suppose your city published its list of the top 500 CEO’s each week. Where would place? The top 10? The bottom quartile? Would you even make the list?
I know, this would be an impossible list to create. But what if it could be done? How would CEO’s be judged? Below is my view on how the best would be rated.
And that got me to thinking. Do the techs driving those vans sell? Or do they just do their thing? If they are just doing their thing, you need to change that. I’ll go as far to say that they should be your greatest sales person. Period. And if not, why not?
When the technician is in the field, who is the face of the business? Who is in the best position to up-sell? When the technicians are finished with service calls, what are they doing? What could they be doing?
In short, your technicians are driving a mobile store with cool gadgets just waiting to be sold.
If you are guilty of not focusing on teaching your techs to sell, here are some suggestions:
1. First, focus on the opportunity. What is it? An extra $1,000/week/technician? The opportunity will determine the resources you put into this initiative.
2. Develop a training program for the techs. Teach them how ‘not to’ sell, and then teach them the right way. Consider having you sales person ride along for a day or teach for coaching.
3. Measure the results (and have fun counting the cash along the way).
Could you use an extra $150,000? Below, I show a company with 13 techs. Each tech is worth about $134,000 in service revenue. If the techs are trained to up-sell, I show the assumptions where $540,000 can be added in annual sales, and note my assumptions are conservative. So think very seriously about training the staff to start up-selling. You can thank me later.
A world of thanks to Bob and Kathy Myers and the leadership team that hosted RKV Day (my term) at MU this year.
Great people, great fellowship, great food and a great win.
New Lessons Learned About a Special Man:
1. I already knew this, but Bob Myers is a leader. Period. End of story. I cannot add anymore. The man is not only smart, but he leads. That’s a rare trait for CEO’s with revenues under $50 million today.
2. He loves his people. I enjoyed just watching Bob roam the field house and the bleachers talking to staff, their family members, and their friends. That’s Bob — doing what comes natural to him.
3. Bob is charitable. He will not admit it and he seeks no glory for himself. He just does it as it comes naturally. 100 tickets, lots of food, and more. Awesome. Thanks!!
4. Bob has surrounded himself with great people including those that advise him. Greg and Nancy, you two are special. I wish every CEO had an attorney like Greg Robinson. If you need a corporate attorney, Greg Robinson of Chesterfield is your man. Intelligent, family man, integrity written all over him, and just plain smart.
Joel Kamil is a tremendous tax strategist and knows finance inside and out. Again, Joel is first class and if you are in the St. Louis area, consider touching base with Joel. He’s outstanding.
There are others that I have left out (one being Bob’s lobbyist in Jefferson City), and I’m sorry I do not have names of others.
5. Forgiving. Well, I don’t know that yet. Let’s just hope he is after reading this blog post.
Personal Message for Tim and Andrea
Tim and Andrea, great meeting you two. I hope you guys make it to New Zealand some day. Andrea, my wife was impressed with your kids. They behaved and spoke like adults. Keep doing whatever it is with your kids — it really shows.
I’ve read somewhere how Pete Rose used to look into a mirror before he left the ballpark after each game. He would then tell himself he gave 100% on the field that day. Pete, I believe it.
Employees, I recommend the same thing. Buy a mirror. Put it near your desk, on your machine, in your van, or wherever you spend most of your day. When you leave, can you actually say you’ve given 100 percent at all times during the day? If so, you will never be wanting for a great job.
1. Are you bored?
2. Are you lazy?
3. Is your head not in the game?
4. Do you not care about the job?
5. Do you feel entitled? Do you feel justified in texting while on the job?
Personally, I think people that text throughout the day are addicted to texting.
So here’s my advice. When you get to work, put your phone away. Better yet, give it to your supervisor or manager and grab it at lunch (skip the breaks). Trust me, you’ll live.
Just curious. If you owned a business, would you want your employees texting throughout the day? Why not?
In the meantime, read The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense.
My oldest and I were recently talking about strategic planning, and that’s when he brought up Dr. Burks, the President of Harding University.
Brock was reminding me of the great things Dr. Burks has accomplished during his term as President. According to Brock, it all started with a dream and then a plan. Execution followed. According to a public release about the retirement of Dr. Burks, the results have been astounding:
1. Harding’s enrollment has grown from 2,997 to 7,155
2. The school has completed projects totaling $250 million
3. The endowment has grown from $18.7 million to more than $110 million
Dr. Burks will not retire until the conclusion of the 2013 school year, and I know he will continue working hard t o complete the 5-year strategic plan that was started several years ago.
Dr. Burks, I truly admire you. Keep learning, keep growing, and keep teaching and mentoring others.