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One Big Idea won't do it - here's a better way

One Big Idea won't do it - here's a better way

June 24, 2012

'Just one big idea. That's all we need!"

How many times have you said those same words to yourself?

Many of our clients tell us this. The Big Idea would be like striking oil. Like winning the lottery. All of a sudden, everything would be ' different.

Sorry, but that rarely happens. You'd be better off grabbing a shovel and a pan and prospecting for gold in the hills of California.

It's a myth to think that you're one Big Idea away from happily ever after. Instead, we've found a lot of little things add up to a Big Zig that can make a dramatic difference in a company. I'll show you how one of our clients is creating a Big Zig in his company and I'll also give you our two most popular tools to help you build your own'

Last week, I told you how important your Grit Factor is to determining success because I believe it's the single, most important thing you need to achieve your goals. Keep in mind that grit is determined by two ingredients:

(1) Perseverance of interest.
(2) Perseverance of effort.

Without those ingredients, you'll jump from one shiny bobble to another, frustrating your staff and customers ' and most likely never get anywhere!

Sound familiar?

First things first. You need a mission, a vision, values and a purpose ' what I call your MV2P. But that's the easy part!

Next comes the tough part and that takes (you guessed it!) perseverance of interest and perseverance of effort. Without it, all you have are just some ideas that will never amount to much.

Seth Gortenburg won't let that happen -- and neither will we!

Seth is like a lot of our clients. For years, he thought he was just one Big Idea away from building something special. Since we've started working with him this year, we've been helping him build a lot of little things that are adding up to a Big Zig that will make his company unlike any other in the market.

It's exciting. But it's also a grind that can take months to implement, testing business owners like Seth who find themselves constantly repeating their vision to their managers, employees and doubters.

One client's story and how he's creating a Big Zig, a little bit a time

For Seth Gortenburg, owner of 3 truck and accessory stores and winner of the aftermarket industry's Retailer of the Year Award in 2010, he knew he had to do more to compete. That vision has led him to a dramatic culture change that will make ChuxTrux unlike any other in the market.

Seth is owner of ChuxTrux, a 4-wheel truck, jeep, car accessory and installation company with 3 stores in Missouri and Kansas, and winner of the 2010 Retailer of the Year Award by the industry's trade association, SEMA. He came to us because for 20 years he always wanted to build a company that wasn't like every other auto parts and accessory store. Like many businesses today, someone always has a lower price (especially online) and everyone brags about their customer service.

To compete, Seth knew he needed to do more. And that means putting into place several counter-intuitive principles you can use to leverage your Grit Factor...

Counter-Intuitive Principle #1: It all starts with you

Today, Seth Gortenburg is more concerned about having managers and employees who are as passionate about his company's values for customer service as they are about cars, jeeps and trucks. Selling aftermarket products can be taught. Values can't.

Everything begins with your vision. Why did you start the business? What's your passion? What are your values?

For Seth, he always wanted employees who had a passion for customizing cars and trucks and had experience in the aftermarket business. But it's the values that will set his business apart ' values that include a unique experience, making sure customers are greeted within 30 seconds, and making each store visually appealing.

To make it happen, he's taking out the traditional counter you see in most auto parts stores that the sales people stand behind. Instead, he's installing comfortable chairs for customers and work stations for salespeople so customers (some of who are spending up to $7,000) can relax and talk about their options.

To help reinforce the company's values, managers will award 'Chux Bucks' to anyone on staff who goes out of his way to help a customer. Employees can use their 'Chux Bucks' to get free accessories for their own vehicles.

Why is this so important? Because as Seth discovered, employees who share a passion for custom vehicles -- and the company's values! -- are far better than disengaged employees with more experience. That brings me to my next point'

Counter-Intuitive Principle #2: Manage them in or manage them out

Will everyone get onboard with your vision? No. There will always be a few people who aren't willing to change.

That's when you need to follow the principle we call, 'Manage them in or manage them out.' Give everyone the opportunity and training they need to be successful. Your intention is to keep your employees as you pursue your vision.

But your vision and values may not appeal to everyone on staff. That's okay. The people who buy-in to your vision will stay. The others will either leave on their own or you'll have to let them go. IMPORTANT: You must have clearly defined roles and goals for your employees so they know what's expected of them as you make the changes.

For example, at ChuxTrux, tenure with the company or in the aftermarket business is not as important as passion and a shared sense of the company's values serving customers.

And some felt long-time employees felt the 'entitlement factor' was more important, Seth says. Those that didn't share the same values were managed out.

The hierarchy common in most organizations based on seniority is gone. In fact, salespeople will become 'Chuxperts.' Each one will be known as an expert in wheels, towing, lift kits, lowering, etc. They'll be encouraged to attend trainings, become certified in their area of expertise and cross-train the other 'Chuxperts.' Soon, each person will have his own page on the website. As you can see, these little things can dramatically change the culture of a company for both the employees ' and the customers.

Counter-Intuitive Principle #3: Slow down 10% to speed up 50%

Change doesn't happen quickly. We often tell our clients, 'You need to slow down 10% to speed up 50%.' What does that mean? It means creating systems, processes, checklists and documenting everything that needs to happen the way YOU want it to occur.

So many times people create their own way of doing things because that's the only way they know how. But it may not be the most efficient. And most importantly, it may not be what's best for the customer.

Here's the secret formula we use: simplify, codify and multiply. Simplify the process, codify it so anyone can do it and multiply it by documenting the process so others can follow along in a manual or checklist.

WARNING: Many employees feel threatened by having systems others can do because they feel they can be easily replaced. We want our people to replace themselves so they can focus on the things they're best at and they're passionate about! Result: Employees are more effective and they're able to work more quickly following a proven process.

At ChuxTrux, the sales staff had different systems for delivering vehicles to their customers, which often meant simply handing over the keys.

Today, they have a delivery system that includes checklists for the post-installation, making sure all bolts are tight, paperwork is in the vehicle, and that it's clean for delivery.

At delivery, the salesperson also has a checklist: how to use the new accessory, features and warranty. As a result, Seth says, the quality of installations has increased and he gets fewer questions from customers after delivery.

'We're learning that there really is no such thing as one big thing,' Seth says. 'There are a thousand little things can add up to one big thing and that's made a big difference for us.'

What's your vision for the company? What are your values?

And do you have the perseverance of interest and perseverance of effort like Seth to make it happen?

To help you get started, go ahead and download two of our most popular tools ' the MV2P Launcher and the Grit Factor Assessment together ' so you can build your Big Zig a little bit at a time. GO HERE to get your tools now.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman, President