Establishing a Culture of Success

Dec. 22, 2005

A large auto manufacturer did a study a few years ago that showed most people talk to themselves all day long. The study found that if people train themselves to say positive things, they will be much more successful in business and in life. Everyone chooses their own words. Successful people wake up eager to get out and work. They spend their entire day looking for the opportunity they know is coming. Others, often less successful, just seem to know they are going to have a bad day before they even get started.

Owner/Employee Relationship

Over the last few years, we have noticed that many dealers impede their efforts to recruit and keep great employees by repeating phrases and information that get employees down instead of motivate them.

For example, we did some work for two companies where the owners told everyone they had lost their life savings in the business. Would that make anyone want to work there? Not too likely. Employees want to be part of a successful business that will be around for a long time and take care of them.

Another dealer we met told sales applicants that all the previous sales staff at the company had failed. Would anyone want that job either?

Promote Success or Failure?

Business owners need to establish a culture of success to promote success. A culture of failure only promotes failure. Dealers must ask what message they are sending out to their employees in what they say and do.

If dealers don’t establish a culture of success at their companies, the sales staff will establish their own culture and priorities. Business owners should not run their companies based on the employees’ priorities.

Dealers can find out if they are on the right track by examining the phrases that can be heard daily at their companies. Here are some phrases all dealers should avoid:

  • We just can’t get good people anymore;
  • Our competition is killing us;
  • If you guys don’t start selling, I’m going to close this money pit;
  • Big Boxes are wrecking the market;
  • The water here is just too soft to sell this equipment; and
  • The economy has really slowed sales lately.

People will emulate what they hear repeated often. Think back to childhood. Some parents repeat phrases and concepts like: “Turn off those lights. Do you think I’m made of money?” While others say: “You can accomplish anything if you are willing to work hard at it.”

Whatever people repeat time and time again becomes more or less part of their belief system. Dealers should ask their staff what phrases they repeat most often. The answer may surprise many, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. The culture of the company will steer owners toward success or failure.

We have even seen companies where the corporate culture degrades customers. We bet everyone has heard some form of the following comment:

“You wouldn’t believe the guy I ‘demoed’ last night. After two hours that cheapskate still needs to shop around!” This type of comment disrespects the customers and does not motivate employees.

Phrases that Work

One way to promote a culture of success at a company is to repeat key phrases and words every day until they become absorbed by the team. When the staff begins to repeat these words and phrases, dealers will know they have made progress. Here are some key phrases we feel will lead to success:

  • Sales is our priority;
  • If we don’t sell, we don’t eat;
  • We help people by improving their water;
  • We will not go home until we meet our goals; and
  • We are the best value—bar none.

These are just a few suggestions. Dealers can use some of these or make up their own; just be sure to repeat them often.

Recall the study we referred to at the beginning of this article. People talk to themselves all day long. When dealers talk to their employees, they should make it a habit to use positive phrases and avoid negative talk.

Employees today are looking for a confident leader to follow. They don’t want to be part of a sinking ship. Take a look at the talk around your water cooler and see what message you are sending.

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