I recall a fantastic book by author Harvey Mackay entitled We Got Fired! – And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us back in 2004. While his book focused on celebrities like Baseball Manager Joe Torre, Governor Jesse Ventura, TV Host Larry King and former Notre Dame Football Coach Lou Holtz, I believe there are some applicable lessons for each of us in our businesses.
Each of these individuals had been fired at some point in their careers, but they also were able to “bounce back” and take their leadership roles to new levels. While I’m fairly certain that none of them had immediate financial concerns, I think it’s important that we zero in on what else they had in common with us, in the event that the same thing happened to us.
They all claimed that this event was the best thing that ever happened to them. While they had regrets about losing their jobs and the paychecks that went with them, they also realized that it was not the end of the world if they used this as a learning experience. They focused on three questions:
- Where did I go wrong?
- Was I actually “off track?”
- How can I do better, moving forward?
Now, let’s take this concept one step further. Can you apply these lessons before you got fired?
Let’s pretend you are getting fired from your current role. Kind of a scary thought, isn’t it? Regardless of whether you are operating a dairy, a vineyard, a service business or a bank, what “justification” could your “Board of Directors” find to justify letting you go? What are the areas where you could do better?
Yes, I know it’s “tough out there,” and we all have a million excuses for why our business wasn’t more profitable, but as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”
What areas do you need to improve in your business? Is it management of your labor force to boost efficiencies? Remember that employees need some development programs, too. Are you working with them to educate them & boost their efficiency levels? Recall my prior conversation with a bank manager who claimed there was nothing worse than spending money on training people and having them leave for other jobs. I’d assured him there was one worse outcome – that was not training them & having them stay!
Do you need to improve on cost controls? If you measure it, you can understand it. If you understand it, you can control it. If you can control it, you can improve it. This is true for Cash Flow and Cost Controls, too. However, if you look back several lines, you’ll note that the key was to measure it. I’ve been doing that with Clients for 22+ years, and it pays huge dividends!
What about development of your company’s future direction? Many factors are changing, so are you staying on top of these changes? Does additional automation have a place in your operation?
The ultimate key is to turn over as many stones as necessary to make sure you understand the following points. Why do we do a task this way? Is it because it’s the most efficient approach, or is it because we’ve always done it this way? Should we change?
I recommend that you undertake this “thinking process” without the pain of actually experiencing being fired. Take a moment and ask yourself, “If I was being fired, what specific reasons could they use against me?” If you are willing to complete this task, you will have identified the areas upon which you should focus your “improvement programs.” Better yet, you will be headed to higher levels of success, without the pain.
Want to learn more? I’d like to invite you to join me for our upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops later this year, within which, I’ll continue to focus on the benefits of this type of proactive thinking. We’ll be doing portions of this process through Zoom Group Sessions, with monthly follow-up calls on an individual basis. Watch our website for more details.