You Are Being Lied To
Does this really surprise you?
At this point in your life do you actually still believe that people are telling you the truth? Please!
Business writers and success gurus are not telling you the truth about what it really takes to be successful. They don’t care whether you are successful or not. They want to sell books or programs or whatever and will say what it takes to do it – even when what they are saying makes no sense at all.
There are simply no secrets to being successful. When you see the word “secret” you should run! And when you hear that someone has a brand new concept for how to be successful, beware.
You don’t need anything brand new; you need to go back to the old and simple stuff that makes sense. Instead of 500 books about the secrets of customer service, try this: Be nice. Sadly, that seems to be the biggest secret in customer service.
Instead of 600 books on the secrets of selling, try this: Ask. Just ask people to buy. Ask, ask, ask, ask, and ask. Become a master asker.
Instead of reading 700 books about the secrets of leadership, try this: Lead. Get out in front of people and give them something to follow.
“So, Larry, are you an expert? How do we know you are telling us the truth? Aren’t you just trying to sell us a book, too?”
All I really am expert at is being stupid and learning from it. In fact, I could be the poster child for stupidity. The key is that I learn from my stupidity. I pay attention to my mistakes. I have become an expert at not making the same mistake twice, and learning from every stupid thing I have ever done. And I have become pretty good at communicating it.
And of course I want to sell you a book. Hopefully, lots of books. I am a businessman. I do this to make money. I wrote this article to eventually make money because of it. Everything I do is to make money. I don’t do this out of some overwhelming need to change the world or to change people’s lives. Everything I do is to make money. The world doesn’t want to change or it already would have changed all on its own and without any help from me. People change their lives when they want to, not because I want them to. No book ever changed a life and no speaker ever did, either. People have the power to change their own lives and no author or speaker should take the credit for it. That statement alone should answer your second question: Am I telling you the truth?
In fact, I am totally addicted to the truth. The cold, hard, ugly, ‘like-it-or-not truth’! At least the truth as I see it. That’s all any of us can really do: Tell the truth as we see it from our own experience, our personal perspective and in our own style. So I will tell you the truth – my truth.
Here are my truths about business. See if they make sense to you. If they do, give them a try. If they don’t, give them a try anyway. Chances are what you are doing might not be working, so give my ideas a try. After trying them, if they don’t work then move on and try what someone else has to say. And know that you are a little closer to discovering your own truth. If they do work, throw yourself a little party because you have learned something that works.
Larry’s Truths About Business:
Apathy is killing business. Employees don’t care whether they serve the customer well or even if they serve the customer at all. Managers don’t care enough to make sure employees are serving customers or doing their job. And customers don’t care enough to complain because they are confident not much will change even when they do. Want things to change? Care.
Attitude doesn’t matter. Motivational gurus have made trillions of dollars telling us that having a positive attitude is the key to success. Wrong! You can be positive all you want and still be positively wrong, positively lazy and positively stupid. I don’t always have a great attitude. In fact, many times I have a really crappy attitude. That makes me a real human being. Things go wrong and affect my attitude. Luckily, I am not paid to be positive. You aren’t paid for your great attitude either. You are paid to do your job. I’ll take Mr. Crappy Attitude who gets the work done, and you can have Mr. Positive who believes that there are no problems, only opportunities.
Who cares if your employees are happy? I have employees and I don’t care whether they are happy or not. I don’t pay them to be happy. I pay them to do the job. Know what? They don’t care if I am happy, either. They just want me to do my job so they can get paid. It’s not about being happy. It’s about getting the job done. Besides, I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t make another person happy. I can’t be happy enough to make them happy.
You don’t have to love your job – but it helps. Too much has been said about loving your job. Even I used to fall into this trap. You don’t have to love your job to be good at it – but it helps. I don’t love what I do. Oh wait, you think speaking and writing is what I do? It isn’t. I only spend about 100 hours a year on stage. That’s two weeks work if you put it all together – barely enough to count. That stage time is the part of my business that I love and it is the payoff for what I really do for a living. I travel for a living. I pack my crap, go the airport, put up with the security stupidity, and the abuse of the don’t-give-a-damn flight attendants, only to get there and wait an hour for my bag that statistics say has probably been pilfered, then get in a cab that smells like crap driven by a guy who can’t speak English and drives out of the way to pad his bill, then check into a hotel where they can’t find my reservation so I can order up some room service that will be late and cold and wrong. Then I go on stage, love my hour I’m up there and start over again. That is the reality of what I do for a living. I don’t love what I do most of the time. I put up with it because I love those hundred hours. And I’m not complaining – the hundred hours is worth the trouble or I wouldn’t do it.
The good news is that none of us are paid to love our jobs. You aren’t. You never got a check notated in the notes section, “Because he loves his job.” You got your check because you did your job, not because you loved your job. If you love your job, that is a bonus.
Not firing people is a cancer on your business. People don’t do their jobs. You see it every day. I know I do. 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. And they don’t get fired. Why? Why do we let people by with not doing their job? Fear. We are afraid. We spend so much time and money worrying about the rights of the employee that we forget about the rights of the business. If an employee isn’t doing his job – isn’t earning his money – isn’t doing what he is paid to do – he has no rights. Fire him.
Keeping a bad employee destroys your credibility with your other employees. This is inexcusable because ultimately the person who suffers most is the person who should suffer least: the customer.
Do the right thing no matter what. Ethics is a matter of black and white – not grey. It’s either right or wrong, good or bad, hello or goodbye, 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.
Larry’s all time best advice for business success:
Do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it, in exactly the way you said you were going to do it. You won’t ever get any better business advice than that.
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 by keeping his word every time.
“If I do all of this, Larry, will I be successful?”
Beats me. Success is a funny thing. Sometimes you can do everything right and it still all goes wrong. If you don’t understand that, then you are naïve. So I can’t guarantee your success. However, don’t do any of these things and I can guarantee your failure.
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