Keith Lee on Management and Systems
by Mike J. Agugliaro
Keith Lee started as a sales rep in 1978 and worked is way up to the top of the business, eventually buying out the company and then selling it for millions a few years later. Along the way he started four other businesses.
Through the 1980’s Keith grew what would become American Retail Supply, feeling like he had become a slave to his business. As a business school graduate, Keith learned that business school is nearly worthless when it comes to actual doing business.
He built the Make-You-Happy Management System and now helps other business owners build better businesses and reduce their stress by focusing on continuous improvement, whether you’re there or not.
Main Questions Asked:
- Tell about the point when you were thinking about throwing in the towel?
- How should a business owner identify the problem they should be working on?
- What documentation should a business tackle first?
- How much value do systems add to a business?
- How do you make sure the systems are on track?
- How do we create an ownership style of management?
- What are some things you see changing in the next few years?
- What should every business owner think about for the next three years?
Key Lessons Learned:
- Most management philosophies don’t apply to service businesses, quality management makes more sense for manufacturers. You have to get buy in.
- Reviews are less effective than a personal development interview. Developing your team gets them empowered and invested. Personal development interviews should occur fairly often, more so if the position has a lot a space for improvement.
- Always ask what was broken, and how did you fix it.
- As a manager, your responsibility is to make the job easy to do right instead of easy to do wrong.
- There are three styles of management:
- X-Theory: I’m the boss, I know everything.
- Y-Theory: Management by objective.
- Z-Theory: I know a lot, but so do you. Problem solving together instead of top down.
- Systems empower people to help you. The systems should be structured by the people who are involved in the execution.
- Systems are simple, they are basically a written document about to do something.
- Systems begin with good customer service. The small repetitive details are what make up excellent service.
- Nearly 80% of the activities in a business a common to all businesses, most only require small tweaks to apply them to your business.
- Once your processes are documented, hiring and firing are no longer so much work.
- Exiting a business is essentially the process of creating systems that allow the business to run without you, once the systems are in place you won’t need a five year plan.
- If you encounter an issue, always ask what is wrong with the system first.
- Excellent customer service means servicing everyone involved in the business, internal and external.
- Systems and personal development interviews will be evergreen and always be valuable.
- Marketing will always keep changing as technology changes.
- Customer service will be the difference between being around for years or not. People will rarely give you a second chance.
- Build your team and make them feel important. Expect them to make things better and empower them to do it.
- Document everything, that’s how you build success systems.
- Get rid of reviews, start developing your team.
- Empower your team.
Links To Resources Mentioned
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