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Checklists

In this episode, Clay Clark (US SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) and Dr. Robert Zoellner (Owner of Rockin' Z Ranch) discuss the importance of checklists on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Clay:    Let's say a week later, same conversation, okay? A week later, you've already had this one conversation. Now we are in the conversation number two.

Dr. Zoellner:    Okay.

Clay:    Sorry, I left the checklist in my car.

Dr. Zoellner:    Well, Clay I'll tell you what, why don't you go get in your car and drive some place and take your checklist out and go get a new job with it. I mean at some point you have to understand that ...

Clay:    At what point would that have to happen though? If I was your man secretary and I'm just ... I have to know this because people who are watch this. This is ...

Dr. Zoellner:    I've got to get serious now.

Clay:    I'm just saying because a lot of people are watching this. They are saying I hired an assistant and they didn't check the voicemail once. I asked them, they didn't check it again and so the owner is either left to give up hope and say, Well, no one will ever do your job. Or I mean, what do we say now that second time? What do you do? At what point do you say it's gone too far or?

Dr. Zoellner:    It's an excellent question and I get that asked probably about as much as anything. I look at everybody that asked me that question and I said, You know what you are going to do? You are going to put up with that as long as you want to put up with that.

Clay:    If I feel like it's too bad of an issue I'll probably just add up resourcefulness, find somebody else.

Dr. Zoellner:    Bingo!

Clay:    For the business owner that never just draws a line in the sand and makes that move, they are just stuck with what they are stuck with?

Dr. Zoellner:    Yeah. Obviously they have a high tolerance of being able to put up with it. They have a high tolerance for having an employee that doesn't do what they want them to do. There is a lot of people out there that put up with it. God bless them. I mean if they ... It's kind of one of those things where, but then there is also a lot of people complaining about why their business isn't growing and why they aren't making more money and what's wrong with it. I can go; Maybe you've gotten too lackadaisical in the things that you are putting up with from your own employees. The people you're paying money and trying to employ to help you build your business.

    The thing about it is if you did everything great and you forgot on your second time to check voicemails in the course of the day, I mean, yeah you probably have a bit of a grace or a little bit of ... But if you had a lot of other things you weren't doing well either on the checklist, you had a lot of other things you weren't doing for me that I told you to do then I would probably have less grace with you and you would be replaced sooner.

Clay:    In all your businesses, these active companies that you have, I mean you are seeing thousands of customers a day, and so there is a checklist for every position. Or if there is not, I mean there is at least a ...

Dr. Zoellner:    Categories of positions, yes, so yes.

Clay:    Okay, and because I've had the opportunity to work with business owners all over the country, I can confidently say that almost every business owner I've ever met with does not have a checklist for every position. I would also confidently say that the number one reason that businesses are failing is not because of a bad idea or a bad marketing or a bad way, but it usually has to do with poor execution. Poor delivering on those things, so I'm going read you a Michael Gerber quite here that's this huge quote here.

    He says, Just thing, what would you do if you honestly believed you were going to create 10,000 stores, 10,000 offices, 10,000 shops or 10,000 orchards, or 10,000 of whatever it is you have set out to do. 10,000 times! My goodness. Where would you begin? To me it sounds like with checklists.

You can learn more about checklists on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Dr. Zoellner:    Yeah. Well, you've got to build the first one. In order to build the first one then you want to replicate it. In order to replicate it then you have to have it in a box. That box is the checklist. That box is the things that are reproducible. The things that I can sit down with an employee and say, Here is what you are responsible for. Here is what I want you to do. I've spelt it out for you. Here is what you say when you answer the phone. Here is what you say before you leave for the night. Here is what you do.

    If you are going to do that 10,000 times you better get your handle wrapped round. Otherwise you are going to remember what it is every time you open the store.

Clay:    If I am watching the website right now and I have 20 employees and I have no checklist at all. I'm now going, Okay, I know I need to do this. So I am doing, I mean man I am bam! Let's go. Do you recommend, you just say it's not going to be perfect but just start from ...

Dr. Zoellner:    Absolutely. Start with the big stuff and you can get it as detailed as you need to get it for and always go back and check that list every now and then. Especially when you are bringing in a new employee, that' probably a really good time because then you pull all those out so to speak and you are going through them and you are freshening them up and you are looking at them and you are saying, That had no relevance now, take that off the list. Or actually that now some other department is doing that so that's off of your list.

    You are always constantly doing it but you've got to start somewhere.

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