This is Super-Trainer Jana “Coach Jana” Holland, and this is part two of my blog post here in Super-Trainer. If you want to read the part one of my post, click here.
Yes, it is hard not to take personal things personally. But here is the fact: People are going to leave you. Clients are going to leave you. People are going to copy you. They will probably steal your best ideas. Some people will take advantage of you. Many people will disappoint you. Some of them will have been your friends. Most will have said that they supported you and wanted you to be successful. You will get shit on.
Here’s the thing – none of this has anything to do with you. You are the last thing on their mind. In our 15 years of being in business, we have had trainers leave with our client list. We have had our office broken into, personnel files stolen out of our office, had our work truck lit on fire, and been the subject of some nasty facebook rants. People we treated really well turned around and didn’t do the same to us. Because you are a nice person, you will not understand. Because you are a business person, you must not try to. Call it the “cost of doing business” and know that every second you think about it is a second you’re not thinking about your clients.
The saying “Trust but Verify” is right from the mouth of Ronald Reagan, and is heard frequently in the military. What it means – Don’t be jaded, and don’t be suspicious by nature. Assume people are telling you the truth, and be a cool person – but verify everything you possibly can.
As a business owner, it can be a delicate balance in the art of delegation. You’re a nice person. You like your coworkers. You don’t want to micromanage. You want to trust that people will follow orders, and do the right thing. But what we’ve learned over the years, is that by trying TOO HARD not to micromanage, we were actually MISmanaging, and it cost us a lot of failed and missed opportunities.
Once you’ve given someone a task, it’s on them to do it. If they don’t – it’s on YOU to follow up and assure that it’s done in a way that you can be proud to call yours. It is your job as a business owner, boss, and leader to come up with good ideas and get them implemented. You KNOW you can’t do it without help – but you also can’t expect it to get done the way you want it, just because you asked for it. To avoid a shitstorm of heartache – make your expectations in writing, make them 100% more clear than you think you should, give a deadline, and HAVE A WAY TO HOLD THEM to your expectations.
Trust me – you CANNOT go back after the fact and say “That’s not what I meant.” Or “That’s not what I had in mind.” Or “That should have been done better, faster, or differently.” If it’s not laid out in the beginning exactly what you want, when you want it, and what you will do if you don’t get it, you can expect to waste a lot of your own time, while frustrating everyone around you. They cannot read your mind. Having it “ASAP” is not a time. Saying “Do your best” is not going to get it done the way you want.
Have some cahones. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Ask for what you want. Be VERY CLEAR (and I repeat make it 100% more clear than you think you need to) and don’t be afraid to have a consequence if it isn’t right.
Learn from this: We recently interviewed a trainer for a position with our company. He gave us a great cover letter and resume. He had years of experience. He was a college graduate, college athlete, CSCS, and a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Arizona. He looked great. He sounded great. He told us he was great. We believed that he was. Until we verified.
During his first group training session, he started the class with a prayer (and there is seriously nothing anti-prayer about me, but REALLY??) and then he put our group class of middle aged women through a plyometric workout that resulted in embarrassment to every woman who had given birth. When someone excused themselves to go to the ladies’ room, he yelled, “Where are you going?” and then to get a client’s attention, he actually yelled, “Hey – YOU ON THE END!” And then said it again. Actually walked up to her (busy doing something ridiculously plyometric) and yelled in her face, “Hey, YOU! ON THE END! DON’T YOU HEAR ME?”
At the end of class, he pulled everyone together to do a “break,” making everyone shout, “Do Better!” to end the session. (Now, with a couple of months behind us, it’s kinda funny, and we can joke with our clients that he might has well have made them shout, “Don’t be a Loser!”) But it was clearly a disaster. OUR disaster.
Shamefully – as awful as that was, that was OUR FAULT as much or more than his. We had trusted without verifying. We had bent the rules by not making him do the mandatory 40-hour apprenticeship with us before hiring him. We believed credentials. Words on paper. And his pretty face. We ASSUMED that he understood the “rules” of how to treat clients. We ASSUMED that he would act professionally. We ASSUMED that he knew what we wanted and expected. But we had never explained – in nauseating detail – what TO DO and what NOT TO DO when working with our clients. And a lot of people, including us, him, and about 25 clients, left frustrated, pissed off, and misunderstood.
Don’t make that mistake!
About Anyone. About Anything. Ever. Don’t talk crap. Don’t gossip. Don’t be an a-hole. Don’t tell other peoples’ stories. And don’t “vent.”
People do not want to be on a sinking ship. They want solutions, not more problems. They want to be on a winning team with a coach who only sees potential and greatness. People want to hang around someone who makes them feel better about themselves, and their life in general. If that’s not you, then hire someone else to do your job, and spend your time running reports or something. Oh – And get a therapist.
Remember – What you consider harmless “venting,” always sounds like bashing. What you consider ‘being honest’ sounds insulting. What you consider “friendly banter” sounds humiliating and disrespectful. What you consider “sharing the facts” sounds like sour grapes. Telling “your side of the story” sounds like “That other guy is full of Shit.” And that doesn’t have any other result other than making YOU look and sound rude, sour, disrespectful, unprofessional, ungrateful, and jealous.
So one of the most important lessons you can learn, without having to spend a dime, that is SURE to grow your business and create good will in the world, is simply to make sure that you can be proud of the words that come out of your mouth, and that you represent yourself, your brand, and your mama in a way you can be proud of with the words you speak, and the way you act.
Jana Beutler Holland
Thank you for the solid advice Jana!