By Greg Dewalt, PRVCA Education Director
Businesses are defined by their leaders. A good leader is a good communicator. Someone who can get their point across in a positive manner and show their employees the proper method to perform. You know them when you see them in action or hear them speak. You can recognize them by the team they lead and the business they conduct.
Among all the leadership traits and attributes a person can have, I find that the following five are essential to the business process. You should strive to make sure that they are part of your daily processes. I was recently visiting with some business associates and we were discussing the business process. How does the process become a successful process? What are the attributes of the successful process? How does a leader engage in that process? We found that there are five common attributes that should play into every successful business process.
- Detail– “The devil is in the detail,” my father used to tell me. I asked him what he meant by that and his answer was “if you missed the details, the devil is what you will get.” What he was teaching me was the more detail I put into my process, my plan, and my day, the better prepared I would be for the unexpected. I would create a plan for the day with the best details I could. What customer was coming in? Who was going to work on it? How much time I expected is needed to complete it; the cost, the parts needed, tools, additional help required, and the list can go on. What I found out was that the better planning I did, the easier my day would go. The unexpected did not happen as often, and when it did, the disruption was minor. Planning in detail and creating a process in detail allows you to better communicate your plan and your process to your people. They will have a better understanding and be able to make better decisions with detailed guidance. Practice being detail-oriented in everything you do.
- Discipline– It is the conviction to follow through, to stay the course. Create your plan consistently and then work your plan. Have you developed a process to achieve a goal ‑ service production, the sale of a unit, or the ordering of parts? Follow through with the process. Maintain a high level of detail within the process or the plan. Stay focused and keep your eye on the goal. Do not lose track of your goal, process or the plan. Don’t take shortcuts.
- Positive Attitude- A positive, can-do Attitude, always brings a smile to a team. It promotes a sense of accomplishment. A feeling that the team is unstoppable. In the eyes of adversity, the positive attitude will help push the team toward the goal. Always check to see if your attitude is positive and keep it there. I am sure you have met a person who is like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Their negativity is constant, and they can only see the worst of things. These people make it difficult to accomplish goals. You will spend a lot of time just overcoming the negativity. If it is your attitude, you may never accomplish your goal and your team will suffer and disperse.
- Versatility – You’ve probably heard of “Murphy’s Law.” Murphy’s Law states: “If it can go wrong, it will.” Be prepared for Murphy’s Law, the curve ball, the unforeseen. The way to be prepared is to be versatile in the application of your plan or process. I know this sounds like a contradiction to Discipline above, but you must be the person who recognizes when it is time to change the plan. In processes, you need to leave room for the unexpected. Allow your team to make decisions within the process. Build versatility into the process. It will enable you to train your team to think for themselves, giving them confidence and accountability. It will empower your team to accomplish the goal.
- Strive for the next level – Continue to build on your processes. Do not stop! When you stop learning, improving, building on, you become stagnant and everyone else passes you by. Continue to challenge your team to make the process better. Try looking at it from a different perspective. Seek out other methods, observations, and recommendations.
This is really a way for you to continue your growth as a leader and your team members’ growth. Take the time to plan for your next goal. Many teams use this point as a team building exercise as well. Evaluate where you are as a process and as a team. Identify what the next level looks like, then plan how to get there.
Great leaders possess these five attributes to lead their teams at the highest level.
Greg Dewalt is the Education Director for the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle & Camping Association. He has more than 37 years of experience working in the RV industry on both the dealer and manufacturer side of the business. For the past 20 years, he has served as a trainer and a consultant for the industry.