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The Secret of Success in Business

Mar 28th, 2014 | By | Category: Nick Kemper's Blog

Nick KemperThere are about 70, stuff 000 bestselling books out there that will help you in your business or in your career. Maybe more. I’ve read about 70 of them. So there is a whole industry out there that produces self-help books for your business or your career. It’s kind of like consulting in print.

Here’s my problem with the consulting industry in general: If you are an expert at (fill in the blank), about it why aren’t you doing it? If you are a financial consultant, and you are an expert at it, why aren’t you just investing your millions to make more millions? Why are you calling me to ask me to set up an appointment to review my budget? If you are an expert at running a production facility, why aren’t you running a production facility? Why are you trying to get a consulting gig helping someone else run their production facility?

The thing is, if you are a financial expert, you are just investing your millions to make more millions. So the financial consultant who calls you to help with investing your hundreds is no expert. He’s just another schmoe working a very mundane job and he probably has a good system that will help you because it’s helped a lot of people like you.

Similarly, if you write a book about how following a particular goal-setting process will turn around your business, you are not an expert at goal-setting or at turning around a business. You are an expert at writing and selling a book. Well, you’re only an expert if you succeed at writing and selling a book.

That’s why I’m so wary of unsolicited advice. Why are you soliciting me to give me advice? Because you need my money, or my cooperation, or my support or something else that will help you. Sorry if I sound so cynical. Heck, I’m giving you unsolicited advice right now, and it’s probably so you’ll keep reading my blogs, and maybe you’ll tell someone else to start reading my blogs, and someone might send me a nice note telling me how clever I am, and maybe someone will buy some parts from TowPartsNow.

This week I am covering for one of my co-workers at a sister company. He has a lot of responsibility. There is no way I could do everything he does even if I didn’t have my TPN gig. His employees, his boss and his other co-workers know this so they are helping me with this temporary job expansion. We are all coping with his absence and I think it’s going well.

But here’s the deal: it’s the end of day three of the week and the amount of extra work I have done so far adds up to about six hours. Does that mean that his work could be condensed down into 10 hours a week? I hardly think so. He puts in over 60, maybe 70 or even 80 hours a week. Many things he does I am not even considering doing — they are on hold until he returns.

So why is it that one person can often do two jobs more efficiently than two people?

I am going to give you the secret of success in business right now. You might find this somewhere in those 70,000 books, I don’t know. I don’t focus on it 100 percent of the time because I am weak and get distracted, but I know that it is the key to efficiency and effectiveness — my two favorite words that describe the value of a worker. What you should always do, if you have the freedom to choose what you do in your work, is to try to make your position obsolete. This is no joke.

Here is an example: one of the tasks I was given this week while covering for my co-worker was to obtain a wireless remote air system for a Vulcan carrier winch. A Vulcan carrier was being built as a demo unit and while it was in production, it was sold. That meant that some options for the build were changed and one change was adding the air remote system for the winch. And the sales manager wanted these new options added right away to get the product to the consumer as quickly as possible. So the tech building the unit collared the sales manager, and they collared the warehouse assistant to try to find one of these systems in the parts warehouse. Then I wandered out into the trap and got collared myself. So now we have four people not producing anything of value.

The thing is, not only do I not know if we have the system in stock, but I don’t even know what the correct system is for the truck. The tech and the sales manager thought that a Chevron system would work, but I was highly suspicious of that theory, and we didn’t have the right one of those in stock anyway, so I shooed them off to find other work to do and told them I would straighten it out in the morning when the guys at the carrier plant in PA came on-duty.

Turned out the Vulcan did have a specific system and I ordered it to be shipped overnight — and I let the tech know it was coming — and everyone relaxed.

So the challenge is, you have a scenario that can occur without warning —a customer wants to buy a $100,000 carrier and you can’t get it ready right away because you’re missing a $1,300 remote system. So what’s the solution? Have one in stock. Just one is enough — you won’t encounter the scenario often, and when you do, you order in a replacement (shipping regular ground) and you utilize your inventory software to let you know when you need to do that, if you aren’t aware that the one you had in stock got used. Because, you see, if you have a system that can work without you, that item could actually be installed on a truck without your knowledge. Which is good. That function — running around in emergency mode with three other workers — is now obsolete.

I hate emergency mode. My use of the word “hate” indicates how much I hate it, because I never use that word. What I generally try to do, as I move throughout the workday, is to take a look at everything I’m doing and ask, “Is this valuable enough to be done?” If the answer is “yes,” then I ask, “Is there a way for this to get done without me doing it?” If I can make that happen, my efficiency and effectiveness with regard to that task is now infinite. I can do something else that has value and then try to find a way for that to get done without me doing it.

The more people that do this, the more efficient and effective our entire business structure becomes. It’s the people who horde tasks and responsibilities, who want to always seem utterly indispensable because they have so much to do, who kill the progress the rest of us are making. The tragedy is that sometimes you can be so good at making your position obsolete that your boss decides that you are obsolete. He or she is confusing the two. But if that happens, you’re better off. You don’t want to work for someone who confuses a person and a position.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper