While other people are watching “The Voice” or “Game of Thrones,” I watch business shows. Call me a nerd, but, hey, it’s a passion. One of my favorites is “The Profit,” where serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis tells us he “invests his own money” into business that need his help.
I love this show because he features companies, most of them small and family owned, to show the problems they have and how he helps solve them. It is the ultimate in relatable.
I also enjoy, shall I say, meat-and-potatoes, common sense approaches to problem solving. There is a lot that sort of problem solving to be learned by watching “The Profit.”
The other day, as I was streaming the new NBC Peacock network, I was delighted to see that the entire series is available for streaming, and without commercials, even. I will not watch anything with commercials. I am willing to dish out literally hundreds of dollars a month to never see a commercial.
The episode I watched last night was a retrospective, where Marcus highlighted some of the episodes from the first four years of the program, using them to demonstrate his “Top 10 Rules to Success.”
I thought it would be interesting to share those rules here, along with my own annotation.
From “The Profit” are Marcus’ Top 10 Rules to Success:
- Don’t be an ass. Sorry, that’s a direct quote, and it makes sense. There are some people who you just cannot work with so don’t bother. If you are kind of a jerk, then stop it. Nobody wants to work with a jerk, especially these days when people have a choice of whom they are going to work with. You don’t want to be the guy who people won’t even follow across the street for a free buffet.
- Make the employees number one. Treat your employees as you want them to treat your customers. It’s as simple as that. Happy employees make happy customers.
- Know what you don’t know. Hire people smarter than you. Hire people who know how to do something better than you know how to do it. The most dangerous thing a boss can be is the “smartest” person in the room.
- Accept the crazy. As Steve Jobs once said, “It’s the crazy ones who change the world.” Listen to all your employees and learn how to motivate them to get the best out of them. The key word here is “empowerment.”
- Be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to show your human side. Let people know you have a heart, and you care. Be a little less George Patton and a little more St. Francis.
- Be authentic. Be yourself. Show people who you really are, not only in what you say but most importantly with what you do. People can spot a phony a mile away. Be real and authentic.
- Be transparent. Always be honest with your team and with your customers. Never hold back and of course, never lie. Part of being authentic is being transparent; be open and honest with everyone, even when it hurts.
- Follow through. Do what you say you are going to do. Keep your promises. Once again, by walking the walk and following through on what you say you are going to do, you will motivate your people to do the same, thus creating a follow through culture in your entire organization.
- Know your numbers. If this rule seems obvious, it is. If being obvious means that people know their numbers, many times they do not. Especially if their numbers are bad, then they enter the “denial zone” and really don’t want to study their numbers. Another negative facet of not knowing your numbers is making the assumption that you do know your numbers. I see this all the time when someone will tell me that “they are losing a fortune on this job” or “making a fortune on this job” when they don’t even know their numbers and are relying on their “gut.” In the end, relying on your gut will just get you indigestion.
- Quit whining. You know what he’s talking about. In our own industry, and we are no different from other industries, we hear whining all the time. Whining about everything from China, to IPC, regulations, tariffs, vendors, equipment, and employees. To paraphrase Marlon Brando in the “The Wild Ones,” when you asked an owner what he’s whining about he’ll probably answer, “What’ve you got?” Stop whining.
Here’s one more (because even Marcus adheres to the adage of under-promising and over-delivering):
Take a chance on good people. Very simply, if you find and hire good people, even if at first glance they are not a perfect fit, in the end they will work out. Good people find a way to make it work. Give them a chance.
And may I presume to add one of my own:
Hire for passion. Look for people who are enthusiastic about whatever they do. You can teach the product, but you can’t teach passion.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.