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Mike J. Agugliaro

Keith Lee on Management and Systems

by Mike J. Agugliaro

Keith Lee on Management and Systems

Keith Lee on Management and Systems


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:

Management Styles

  • 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.

Customer Service

  • Excellent customer service means servicing everyone involved in the business, internal and external.

The Future

  • 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.

Final Tips

  • 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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P.S. – Are you SERIOUS about no longer treading water and MOVE your business forward WARRIOR STYLE? Find out more about Mike’s Warrior FAST TRACK Academy!

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