The Oval Table Year-End Review
.58 We Proudly Present a Retrospective on Our First Two Seasons
We present to you our over arching message as presented by our guests who have based their comments on their years of experience. Enjoy this Year-end buffet of business wisdom from experts, and if you've missed any of our shows, you may want to go back and catch up.
Our goal is to present you with a varied set of principles and practices that will help guide you and your business to a high-performance state. Having a dream you believe in. Working smart toward the accomplishment of that dream, is what we have been all about during this whole show series.
Our initial question: How should a business owner or manager be looking at their teams and how should they interact with them?
People, Processes and Tools
Jesse Stancarone – Identify what you are trying to achieve, start with the needs of the end user, start at the beginning with the people
Bill Macfarlane – There are certain enablers. The first thing is people, talent. You have got to have the right people, those who will not be awestruck by the numbers of stores or the top line revenue growth.
Dr. James Hearn – When leading in a cris9s or chaotic situation, the first thing you do not think of it as a crisis. It sets up a negative attitude. It is a business problem, and what are you paid for? Solving business problems.
Dr. James Hearn – Many leaders can encourage their staff to give them proper feedback on any situation. But you have to listen. Often the staff has great ideas that can come out if you use The Oval Table. But when a leader thinks he is the smartest guy in the room, that can be very dangerous if you don’t listen to others.
Robert Simon - The world is separated, very clearly, into two different casts of people. We call it people who get it and people who do not, and it is really that simple for your staff. The staff that cares beings that with them whatever they are doing.
Michelle Kuei – I realized you just cannot be doing things by yourself, period. We are never on this earth, on this planet alone and so, along the way, you are always going to find your guide, your mentor. People who can share their wisdom with you.
Our thoughts – We feel, that in any healthy business, the elements should work in the following order, first people, then process and then tools. How can you design a tool to support a process, unless you understand what it is? How many times have we seen in our separate careers, someone say they have a tool, that you must have to support your business, when in fact it does not support the process at all? You terrorize your people when you tell them they have to work differently to support the tool.
If it is people first, then why do you start by talking about tools without first knowing how people in the business work. If you are faced with a crisis, it is the people who will get you out of it, not the tools.
And if you are faced with a real crisis like a pandemic, how do you keep you people employed so their families stay intact, and the restaurant survives? Do your people work with you or for you? You can’t teach people how to relate well with others, they either get it or they don’t.
There is a skill to managing a manager just as much as a manager managing people.
Your people are your currency, with them, you don’t have anything.
In the end, you have to walk faster than the donkeys who might knock you off the path you are on. The employee team is the power, but you have to let it run. But that is where The Oval Table comes in.
Mike Hansborbough – I remember driving to work one day. And I figured out I was spending two man-months driving to and from work. I suggested to my partner, let’s save the money on the office. Let’s go virtual. It was a little bumpy at first. We pulled the trigger, put out a press release, went virtual, and the rest is history.
Maria McHolland – Was management putting roadblocks in the way of his people? I don’t think he was putting roadblocks in the way, but he was not knocking them down either. He was not helping where he could help, maybe he did not know how.
Randall Reeder – In terms of sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere, climate activists should love that, if we adopted regenerative agricultural practices on all the cropland that is now growing the major crops of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton in the US, and especially around the world, we would take more carbon out of the air than all the automobiles and diesel trucks even put into the air.
Changing an industry is hard but getting agriculture to adopt regenerative practices will not only reduce farmer costs of growing but will also produce a better product for the consumer.
Jolene Brown – And that is the fact that a conversation is not a contract. With family more, not less, needs to be in writing. And if it is not in writing, it does not exist.
Our thoughts – There are all types of change and changes in a closely held business. You don’t have to keep doing things the same old way we have been doing things before. The change can be fundamental and all encompassing. The response to covid has proved that.
Make your employee dreams a reality, let them have their success and they will make yours true.
Forming an operating partnership with your vendors helps you and them.
Although dealing with cultural constraints is a problem, you can work through them anyhow.
Business transitions are difficult, especially in family businesses. If the plan is not in writing, there is no plan. The best way to transit a business is to make it worth owning in the first place.
How Small Business Can Change Society
Joe Moore – Our former general manager used to say, “If there is no margin, there is no mission.” And that is absolutely true. Just because you are a nonprofit does not mean we can operate in the red. You have to have a strong sense of mission and the bottom line.
Gary McKinsey – The legislators, all of them believe they are helping. They go with the intent that they are helping. Yet the majority of them have never ever ran a business. They have never made a payroll or signed the front of a payroll check. As a result, they pass legislation without really digging into or studying the consequences of how it impacts small business.
Karon Wright – It’s that beautiful pebble that spreads out. It’s basic capitalism on a tiny scale. She created a business, which grew and grew, and she employed other people. Those women that she’s employed now have more money to spend with other businesses. It uplifts the whole community.
Our thoughts – A small business does affect society. Even a nonprofit must operate like a business if you have to have a margin, or you don’t have a business. Broadcasting does affect society by present different points of view.
Even though government legislation often has unintended consequences with lingering effects, good things can happen. Case in point, the increase in the estate tax exemption that has saved many a family business, especially the family farm.
Within many a small business, and the Simon restaurant is just one example, where there are multi generations of employees working in that business or whole have worked in that business. If the business closes, those jobs go away with it.
Successful businesses make communities successful both on a world scale and on a micro scale. Their success effects positive changes in the communities in which they live.
Sales, Marketing and Relationships
Patricia Fripp – The key to connection is conversation. The secret of conversation is to ask questions. And the quality of the information you receive depends on the quality of your questions.
Mike Zarella – We do demographics. We try to be initiative-taking and reach out to our customer and offer that customer something we think they will accept and stay with us.
Leah Ferranzzani – I told my husband, “I thought I’d start a dry pasta business. I still can’t find what I want.” And he said, “What do you know about making and drying pasta?” I said, “Absolutely nothing.” He Said, “Oh, that sounds like a good idea.”
Derek Arden – I got thrown out of the UK’s biggest retailer for not reducing my price on a million-pound contract. It made me wake up to the fact that I was quite a good negotiator, but quite good wasn’t good enough.
Susan RoAne – Have your own self introduction and I might add, because I am a small-business person, it is not an elevator pitch. But what you want to do is have a comfortable, confident, self-introduction that is conversational, not a pitch. No one gets into an elevator to hear you go on about yourself.
Our thoughts – Many people think I am starting from a low point, and I don’t have many resources, so wo is me. Patricia starts as a shampoo girl in England, moves to the US with little money, develops a business as a hair stylist for men and becomes an advisor to speakers and CEOs of major businesses.
It is interesting that all of our guests, despite their success, have started from much the same level of resources and yet became successful in different ways. And when we invited them to The Oval Table, we did not even consider that factor. You can do things, but you have to do them.
Always have a mentor and to get the most from them, ask great questions.
You keep customers by understanding them, what they want, what they need, what they can afford to pay and then providing that to them. Be constantly innovating to meet the customer’s desires.
There is a market for premium products sold at premium prices. They are bought by customers who want premium products, and they are willing to pay for them. Know your customer.
Not knowing how to do something is not a stopper as long as you are willing to learn how. You can do it so long as you are willing to do it.
If you expect to be a master negotiator, study a master. Do your homework, have you support team with you. Aim for a win-win outcome. If you always try for a win-lose, you will end up paying for your mistake over and over again.
Establishing a relationship with someone new, starts with a conversation. You introduce yourself as a person not as a business.
Change the game when you meet people at an event. Don’t go as a guest. Instead go as a host and introduce people to each other and play the job of host. It is so much easier and mor worth while for both of you.
When you show up, in a meeting or a zoom call, you have the chance for the incidental connection to be made. When you find something in common, you can build a relationship from there. When you do show up, show up dressed appropriate for the event. Know the organization you are going to, research them ahead of time.
All of our guests have said much the same thing. Know your audience, know your customer, know what they want. Know what your next question is going to be to get the most information.
53.15 Our Final Thoughts
Having a dream you believe in. Working smart toward the accomplishment of that dream, is what we have been all about during this whole show series. This show was built at our Oval Table. We hope you will use it as an example of what you could do.
We want to thank each of our guests who have joined us at The Oval Table. We are better off for them having been here.
We also want to thank our listeners as we seek to bring you insights and information to help you run your business and empower your success.
We Hope to See You Next Season!
If you want to build your business one of the best ways is to empower your people and yourself to think differently. We recommend you look at these resources:
We Are Alpha Dogs – How Seven Dogs Become Business Legends
The book is available on Amazon and directly from us. Also available in bulk.
Also available on Audible
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