Most Business Books Are Doo-Doo!
Pitbull of Personal Development
Before I make my point, let me be clear: there are exceptions. Not all business books are big ol’ buckets of doo-doo. There are some good ones. There are even some great ones. But if you have read as many business books as I have and know the people who are writing them as I do, then I’m pretty sure you would come to the same conclusion I have: most business books (and I’ll toss in business speakers as well) are selling you a bucket that is absolutely full of doo-doo.
I know more motivational experts and success teachers and coaches than I can count (not really – I can count pretty high). But I can assure you that most of these folks are anything but successful. I know many of the world’s leading customer service speakers and writers. If you call them you will be lucky to get your call returned. Many of our best-known leadership speakers can’t keep employees working for them because they are such lousy leaders. And you would be amazed at how many sales gurus can’t sell their own sales training. The relationship experts aren’t usually in a successful relationship. The financial experts are broke. I even know so-called experts on ethics and integrity who don’t pay their bills. These people clearly are not experts or shining examples of what they talk about; they are mouthpieces for a topic that is trending in the marketplace and they are capitalizing on the world’s willingness to be duped.
It’s not that they are malicious or ill intentioned. Some are, but that’s not the bulk of these people who are writing the books, giving the speeches, holding the webinars or filling events. It’s just that they don’t know what they are talking about. They haven’t lived it and don’t have much personal experience to know if what they are saying works on a practical level. Or they haven’t done the research to find out if facts back up their premise. But they are amazing marketers and social media experts and Internet wizards building a following based on their own hyperbolic resume and selling the razzle-dazzle with nothing below the surface.
People who don’t know what they are talking about create the big ol’ bucket of doo-doo. They lack practical experience and have done little or no research, and are selling ideas that make absolutely no sense.
Yet people still clamor to throw money at them and dip from their bucket of ignorance (doo-doo) simply because it’s new, sounds sexy and is sold as some secret recipe for success. That it’s wrong never enters their mind. Sadly, too many people are desperately searching for a magical guru like the Will Smith character in the movie “The Legend Of Bagger Vance.” They want someone who will hand them the right club every time and whisper in their ear that they should trust their instincts so they can birdie every hole. As a result, people end up paying these bozos with the hope of finding something new to fix their life or business, rarely giving pause to whether it makes sense or not.
There was a bestselling book on the market that had a chapter that said, “nice managers get better results.” Doo-doo. Being nice has nothing to do with results any more than being mean has anything to do with results. Results are never about being nice or mean. Results come from clearly communicating what is expected from employees, training them to deliver on that expectation and then staying involved enough to make sure the job is actually being done. When it is, you reward the employee; when it isn’t, you discipline the employee (i.e. positive and negative consequences). In a nutshell, that is the job of a manager. And while you should always be a nice person, whether you are a nice manager or a mean manager is not the point: it comes down to doing your job. Managers who understand what their job is and then do it, get better results.
There was another book out there at the top of the bestseller lists from a chef who said the key to leadership is to forget making sure your customers are happy and instead focus on making your employees happy. Doo-doo. You should focus on making your customers happy because it is their money that keeps you in business. How long is Chef going to be able to keep his restaurant open with happy employees and unhappy customers?
How about some ideas that don’t come from the big ol’ bucket of doo-doo? Following are five solid ideas based in common sense.
- Apathy is killing business. Employees don’t care whether they serve the customer well or even if they serve the customer at all. Fire them and they will have another job tomorrow. Managers don’t care enough to make sure employees are serving customers or doing their job and are afraid to fire someone for fear on being sued. Customers don’t care enough to complain because they are confident not much will change even if they do. Want things to change? Care. Care enough to speak up and do the right thing every time.
- People don’t do the right thing because they don’t want to, not because they can’t. We spend way too much time trying to get people to do what we want them to do, not understanding that ultimately people always do exactly what they want to do.Think of someone you are paying money — whether it is an employee or a contract person — who isn’t doing their job the way you want them to. Know this: it’s because they don’t want to. How insulting is that? How do you feel about that person now? You hired them to do it, you know they have the skill to do it and yet they don’t respect you or your money enough to do it.
- Not firing people is a cancer on your business. People don’t do their jobs. We all see it every day. I go into businesses where I have to beg people to answer a question or pay any attention to me. I have to break up conversations between workers in order to get them to take my order and my money. People take breaks twice as long as they are entitled to. They come in late. They call in sick when they aren’t. They do these things because they want to and there are no consequences for doing otherwise. If an employee isn’t doing his job, isn’t earning his money, isn’t doing what he is paid to do, fire him.
Keeping a bad employee destroys your credibility with your good employees and communicates to your customers that you care more about a bad employee than their money as a customer. Is that the message you want to send?
- Do the right thing no matter what. Ethics is a matter of black and white – not grey. It’s right or wrong, good or bad, hello or goodbye, and you are either in the way or on the way. How will you know whether something is the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do? If you have to ask, it’s the wrong thing. You always know the right thing; you only question when it is the wrong thing. So do the right thing — even when it is unpopular or might cost you money or be embarrassing. In the long run, consistently doing the right thing will pay off every time.
- And Larry’s all-time best advice for business success:
“Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it.”
You won’t ever get any better life or business advice than that, I promise. It’s an idea based in honesty, integrity and respect. It will work with your employees, customers, friends, spouse and your kids. It will work in every single situation, every single time.
Be there when you said you would be there. Deliver when you said you would deliver. Call when you said you would call. Be a person who can be counted on to keep her word every single time no matter what.
There you go: five solid, time-tested, proven ideas that are rooted in common sense. No big ol’ bucket involved. No doo-doo either!
Larry Winget is a six-time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author. His newest book is What’s Wrong With Damn Near Everything: How The Collapse Of Core Values Is Destroying Us And How To Fix It. He is a member of the Speaker Hall Of Fame.has starred in his own television series and appeared in national television commercials. Larry is a regular contributor on many television news shows on the topics of money, personal success, business and parenting. Find out more at www.larrywinget.comand follow him on facebook at Larry Winget Fan Page and on twitter @larrywinget.