Power has always been about relationships, trust, influence, and control. Until now. Control is gone. Information, data, and learning is fluid, instantly accessible, and high quality to anybody who has an internet connection and half a brain. If you try to put yourself in a position of control, people will just work around you.
I was at a community motorcycle show ‘n’ shine last weekend. I approached a local, respected builder to see if he was interesting in being in an upcoming “hand built” show. Our Motorcycle company is sponsoring one this fall. He’s the kind of guy that gets invited to Sturgis. He sells his parts internationally. He’s good at what he does. But his response made me think he is an self-important ass.
He wasn’t interested, he said, in competing “against crap assembled out of catalog parts. I hand forge parts. I’d fabricate my own bearings if I could. Any custom shop that doesn’t own a lathe shouldn’t call themselves custom.” He pooh-pooh’d the local motorcycle building community. He wasn’t interested in sharing what he does, his passion for his craft, or what “hand-built” means to him. Apparently he’s better than that, and the rest of us aren’t worth his time. Presumably because we don’t work to his standard.
He was more interested in sitting on his sofa and holding court. Literally, he had a purple velvet sofa under his booth’s awning.
This is the problem with making your craft (business, cause) your religion. Of having only “one true way”. People that want to learn, to build their skills, to give and create, be included – they get turned off. The tribe loses when these eager novices wander away after being scolded. These novices (who may very well have their own experience, perspective, and unique skills) go apply those talents elsewhere.
We all lose, and we’re all diminished by association. We lose the opportunity to make a lasting contribution beyond our own existence by being true leaders. By influencing and teaching others. By sharing our vision, and seeing others’.
The solution? Easy. And this is why I love my sweetie and partner: we’ll just bring in somebody bigger from out of town. There’s always somebody better somewhere else. And in today’s connected world they’re easy to find. She’d already been talking to a guy on the coast who teaches others how to weld their own frames. He’s more than happy to come out and share. And that was just the first guy we’ve reached out to.
So if you’re feeling like you’ve got things locked up, if you feel as if nobody can take your market away from you because it’s yours, that you’re entitled to something, then I’d like to back your competitors. Especially the young, upcoming ones that are creative, original, and inclusive.
You are never entitled to your market or your reputation. You have to earn it every day. Get off your velvet throne.
Bernie works with small, medium (and sometimes) large companies, start-ups, and volunteer organizations to help them set a vision that is executable, to be effective, and to surround themselves with people who will help them succeed. I believe the workplace is a place to thrive, not just survive. Call me if you want help transforming your business.