In a complex world filled with technology, complicated systems, and ever-increasing speed, top level companies and high performing people rely on checklists to minimize errors and increase quality. Learn how you can too.Sign Up to Watch
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-I'm not-- I don't think there's any trust, though. And I'm not going to satisfy, because I'm going to continue to be a bad driver. But OK. So now we're moving--
-I know. People change, tell them. That's why we've got to get you a driver.
-So now we're moving on here to the service profit chain. Another quote from the Harvard Business School professors, they said-- these guys, by the way, studied UPS, Southwest Airlines, they're studying companies like Disney World, and they're saying, how do these companies build successful businesses? That's why there's so many successful people that are coming out of Harvard Business School, because they know what they're talking about. And this is the quote, he says, "The perceptions of priorities were quite different at the second and third levels of management than at the top."
They went into these companies and researched them, and they said to the boss, what is the objective of your call center? And the boss says, to book speaking events. They go to the low-level guy. Just to make calls. I'm just trying to make calls.
If get 500 calls, and I put my name on this list, I've won. I put my name on the list. I put the tally mark on the board. I've won. They go to the boss, and they say, what's your job? And he says, our job is for every Dairy Queen to produce at least $1 million of gross revenue and $200,000 in profit. They go to the front line guy, uh, my job is really I just have to punch in and punch out. I got to make sure I'm here, physically behind this thing.
And so as you go down the food chain, the people who have the wrong perception tend to stay there. And the people at the bottom that have the right perception tend to move up. But there's always a big disconnect between the guy at the top and the guy at the bottom. So I want to know from your-- How important is it from your perspective to communicate to your managers what your expectation is, from you?
-It's almost a daily-- It's almost a daily grind. It's almost a daily occurrence, if not weekly. I mean, I say daily. The thing about it is, you can't overload them with everything, but I think every time you're talking to them, you're always highlighting. You're always talking about-- you're trying to put your DNA into them is really what it's about.
And you do that by spending time with them. And you do that by taking them to lunch. You do that by talking with them. You do that by coaching them up. You do that by sharing with them your dreams and your views and what your goals are. And you're just trying to take your DNA and put it-- You're trying to clone yourself as best as possible. It's about the only way I can say it.
-And I want to say this for somebody who's watching, who maybe doesn't understand what's going on here, what Dr. Z is saying is people change seldom in terms of their character traits, but somebody who's coachable is coachable.
-And so if you're coachable, you can impart your DNA. So an example, we had a young man who came to work for me years ago, who had no discernible skills, but he said, what can I do better? I remember that. What can I do better? And you just don't hear it. Well, years later he's out doing his very successful company right now.
And he's into industries that are way above his pay-- way above his degree level or his certifications, or I think if anybody said, well, Dr. Z, but you're an optometrist. How do you have any business racing competitive horses that are actually winning? How do you run-- I mean, how are you qualified Dr. Z to go out and run an auto auction? I mean, what is your pedigree? But if you're coachable, you're coachable.
-And so you're looking for that coachable person.
-And then imparting your DNA.
-Yeah, and that's what it's really about. You're trying to impart your vision, your dream, your passion into that person, and you can't do it completely, but you try to do it as best as possible. And that is that replication. That is duplication. That is that if I'm not there today, I know that they are doing things the way I would do it.
One of the questions that gets-- people come to me, my manager team comes to me with a problem, and say, Dr. Z, we have this problem. And they outline the problem, and when they're done, I look at them, and I go, that is a problem. Now, what I do to fix that? And they look at me and they go, well, you probably would do XYZ and I go, you're right. Now do XYZ. And they're like, OK. Cool.
-Now I want ask you this. Do you then write down on your list somewhere what those people are supposed to do so you can follow up with them later? Or how do you keep track of it with all the different companies you have?
-Well, if it's a big thing like that, I mean, I don't typically write that down, but I do follow up on it. It's a part of my-- I have my checklist. It's a mental checklist that I go through. It's part of my-- people say, what you do every day? I go, whatever needs to be done for that day. And that's a lot of it.
And the other thing too is that coaching people up like that and then having them do that, and then following up with them on that is kind of my comment, my stuff, that's my job, and that's what I do. So every now and then I will write it down just to jog, because if it's a long term thing, it's going to take a month for that to happen. It's going to take a whatever to happen. On my big calendar on my desk, I'll circle back around to it, but as a general rule of thumb, those are the things that I do on a daily
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-I am absolutely obsessed with this next quote from the service profit chain to the point where if I was a tattoo guy, I'm not, but if I was, this is probably the tattoo that would go ahead and get on my arm.
-You know why I don't have a tattoo?
CLAY CLARK: Why is that?
-I mean, would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?
CLAY CLARK: Oh. That's true.
-That just happened.
-But if you did put a bumper sticker on, we hope that it's a good one. When you're committed to it. So let me read this to you real quick. It says, the service profit chain quote, "In God we trust. For all others bring data." And I just thought that was such a-- I read it the first time, I thought, "In God we trust, all others bring data." And I'm just kind of marinating like what is this.
I'm starting to realize that it's so true, because if you as an owner begin to trust without verify. Ronald Reagan was famous for saying, "Trust, but verify." If we ever just blindly trust, and I talked to a gentleman the other day. And I said hey, when you're making calls for our company just on Thrive, what we do when someone subscribes, we want to make sure we're taking care of you. That's just it. So somebody called in and had some question. And I knew about it. And it was a big client and I said, did you call? Oh, I forgot. Well, call him. And don't forget, write things down.
But if I would have just assumed that they would have done it, the whole line you would make an ass out of you and me, you assume. But do you believe that, though? In God we trust, and for everybody else, bring data or bring some sort of proof that you did it?
-Absolutely. I think that that's-- Here again, you just holding people accountable for it. I think that you want to make it. And then you want to celebrate it. You want to say, hey, great job, good job. I think that that is one of the things in managing a lot of people that they have to come to learn to expect that if they know they're going to be held accountable for it, they're going to be followed up on. They're going to be a lot more likely to get it done, because they don't want to enter the ire of their boss being mad at them or upset with them or not happy with them.
-And I can say this. People, if you're watching this and you're going, well, I can't fire him. Get over that. We're not talking about firing every single person if they make a mistake. What we're talking is holding people accountable. And people, if they know you're following up relentlessly, a lot of times, people are like, I'd rather just have it done than to deal with that confrontation every Tuesday.
DR. ROBERT ZOELLNER: Yeah, exactly.
-Now I want to ask you this here, because this is a big thing. When you're making these checklists, do you walk around your office? When you have a problem of something that's not done, do you immediately grab one of the checklists and write on there like, OK, this is how I need to update this? Or how do you make your checklist, because you've got a lot of entrepreneurs. I know it seems like a simple task, but for your auto auction. Let's just say one of the cars goes out, and it's not cleaned the way you want it to. When you first started the auto auction, did you immediately go, OK, I need to add that to a checklist. Or is that on a checklist? Is that how your mind kind of works?
-Absolutely. And I was a big fan back in the early checklist forming days. I was a huge fan of sticky notes. I carried sticky notes in my pocket. And I would write notes throughout the day on stuff. And I would then compile them. I mean, it was like around the office was, did you get a sticky note today? How'd you do? Were you sticky note free today, because I didn't get a sticking note today.
So one of the things about it is that a lot of times, if I didn't write it down right then, when I was back really working in the business like taking ups as we call it. Seeing patients and grinding and doing all this stuff. If I thought, OK, I need remember to talk to them about the checklist on emptying the trash, and they used to have this little thing where they'd take a cotton ball and take alcohol and wipe off the machine. And then they'd throw it, and it would, oftentimes, hit the wall and stick to the wall and then go in the trash. And it just looked like a snowball, like a snowman ran against the wall and smashed himself.
So you think like that it sounds silly, but I'd be sitting there looking at that going--
-What is that?
-Put it on my sticky note. And make myself a note, because then at the end the day, I could add that to a checklist. I could talk to someone about it. I could say hey. Because if I didn't, you see ten things a day. It's hard to remember all of it when you're in the heat of the battle.
-I think it's so important, because if you think about going to Disney World, think about the choreography. Let's just go there mentally for a second. When you go into Disney World, the pathways are clean. There's a certain music playing. Who hit play on the music? Who cleaned? Then you walk in , it smells a certain way. I found out there's actually smells that are kind of pumped in to create that smell.
Then there's a certain, when you walk in, the ticket guy, he has a certain system. Where he checks your ticket in, he checks your ticket out. There's somebody over here selling tickets. This person's letting you go through the turnstile. Somebody else to saying, "Hey, how are you guys? Do you need any help?" It's all this choreography. All this is the symphony of commerces. It's orchestra, and it all has to work.
-Now I know some of the footage that the guys got of your auto auction in operation, it is a controlled chaos.
DR. ROBERT ZOELLNER: Mm-hmm.
-But how many cars would you sell at one time?
-Well, see, we have five lanes going, we have five cars being sold the same time. And say they drive them through here, and each car's a minute, if that, and in a given day we'll sell upwards to 1,200 cars--
DR. ROBERT ZOELLNER: Yes, and then in a couple three hours.
-It's so hard for me to get it, because I-- and it's again, that's why I love learning from you guys-- I felt like a boss, 4,000 weddings a year. Can I get a little boom?
-1,200 a day--
- --in my face, it's unbelievable. In like three weeks, this guy's selling more cars than I'm selling-- and the thing is, I just want to say this, because no matter how awesome we think we are, we can always learn to thrive and play better. We can always learn to improve our skill, it's huge.
Now I want to ask you this, now we're getting into the money. One of our companies-- and I say one of them, all of our companies have cameras-- and I always tell people, smile, you're on camera, just so people don't feel the need to steal things. And one of the businesses that I'm involved in-- I'm very passive in these companies, where I help do the marketing, and help them get up top on Google, and then I kind of step aside.
And I said, hey, we're always short on cash by about $100, watch the tape. What do you-- just watch the tape, I mean, we have a motion sensor thing, just watch the motion moments. Well, that will take like two hours. Yeah do it.
Well, you see somebody taking money, working there, putting money in their pocket, putting money in their pocket. You watch a customer taking a product, you watch-- and the thing was, I was most frustrated with and we fixed it since then, but I was-- this person is somebody who you know their character's not that awesome, and I get we can't have a genius at every position in our business. I realize that the American work ethic is something that needs to be addressed. But I would also say that somebody has to be in charge of following up with whoever handles the cash.
-There's got to be a daily checklist for who handles the cash.
-And in any business, there has to be accountability.
-So I don't care if you own your own business, I mean, if you own your own business, you need to have somebody who follows up on the cash, you can't just-- yeah, I trust people. And it's amazing how-- so I'm going to get into the cash issues, because I think these are the ones where it gets really personal to entrepreneurs. And these are some of the rare areas where you can end your-- you can go out of business real fast, if you don't do this like right away, so I'm going to get into this.
In a small business, such as yours-- not a small business, a medium sized business, where you're selling a ton of cars, who handles the cash at the end of the day, and is there a checklist for you had the cash, you signed off on it, it went here. What's your end of day cash process-- not to say where does it go, but I mean what's your process to make sure the cash is not being stolen?
-Well, we have a checklist, we have people that handle it, and then we have and we have multiple counters. Obviously, some days we get a lot of cash that comes through here. We have cameras, and we have people that are responsible for that.
So the bottom line is that we don't have a lot of employees here that handle cash, number one, and number two, if some of it comes up missing, we pour into it and figure out where it is and what happened to it. And we hold people responsible for it. So if you've been given $1000, and it shows up missing, you're responsible for it.
-So let's talk about responsible. Let's just say I'm responsible for-- let's say I'm at your optometry business, and a customer pays $200 of cash and I go, I don't know where it is. I mean, I was there, I don't know where it was, I mean, I thought Joan was the one who cashed out.
-Yeah. Well, we would know. So first of all, you have the key that has to open the drawer attached to your wrist.
-The key that opens the drawer is attached to your wrist?
-Well, because you are then responsible for-- during your shift that day, whether it's noon on, whether it's all day-- you're the only one that can open the door to mess with the cash. So guess what, it was you.
-So you're responsible for it, and that's one of the things that we've done. We've got a camera on you, you're the one with the key, and you're responsible for it. So whenever we're counting down or counting up-- now mistakes happen, people hand out wrong change, we-- there's human error involved. But you are responsible for it, because you're the only one that had access to it.
And that's what you do, you try to eliminate-- you try to look at your system, and you say to yourself, I need to make it as difficult as possible to steal, and then I need to limit the number of people that can do it. So therefore, let's say you're the only one-- it was me and you that work there, and I'm in the back working and you're upfront taking all the money, and the money's short, guess who's responsible for it? You.
-So you limit the number of people that touch it.
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