Scrooge’s Xmas

This is a seasonal one for July! I remember at my first network Xmas event in 2013 when I was proud to have our first seven franchises attend plus all my team from Diamond HQ. I was excited at the prospect of celebrating our success and getting together with what was now our national team of Diamonds to motivate and inspire them all so they could start 2014 with a splash. Compared to our Xmas dos from years previous, this was a lavish event – in a hotel with our own conference suite, lounge suits and a fancy dinner, and we had our first awards ceremony. I should have been stoked. Completely chuffed.

All the franchises were at a different stage in their journey and overwhelmingly they were positive – and they were 100% positive to me – and gave us great feedback on the support, the franchise and my team, which should have been really heart-warming. It’s this that normally makes my heart sing.

So why wasn’t I chuffed to bits? Because of one person. Who I knew was bitching, not to me, but about the Diamond franchise. One naysayer who didn’t have the balls to speak to me about his concerns directly but made a point of picking out all the franchise owners one by one and trying to infect them all with his cynicism and negativity. I am very glad to say that it didn’t work – they all reminded him that if the plan was followed then the Diamond franchise really did work, and that the problem was not Team Diamond but him – including his own sales person who was there at the event. Of course I heard this all second hand – because he didn’t have the balls to speak to me direct – but I knew he was saying it. And what was even worse was that I had nominated him, before this night, as our best franchise of the year! So our award winning franchise was also a naysayer. And it totally ruined my night. What should have been a celebration ended up with me leaving relatively early, and going home with a sense of doom and disappointment. I did not enjoy that night as I should have.

And why was that? Because I wanted EVERYONE to be 110% chuffed to bits with what Diamond did. I wanted everyone to succeed, and I wanted everyone to be happy. And I didn’t focus on the 95% of the people there that were absolutely chuffed with their progress, the Diamond product and the Diamond future. I focused on the 5% negative.

And isn’t that the way with us all? Whether it the one customer complaint you get, or the one bum team member, or the one negative Facebook review (often from complete strangers but that’s another story!) as entrepreneurs pursuing perfection we focus on the bad reviews – not the good ones.

It is important to highlight areas that may well need addressing in your business, which is why you should always encourage feedback. My message to you, my friends, is that as your business grows, regardless of how great your service or product is, someone somewhere isn’t going to like it, or you. You can’t please everyone all the time.

Now there is a fine line to be trodden between accepting you can’t be perfect, and not acknowledging where improvements can be made. Arrogance in service provision is not good at all. But it is typical for us as humans not to focus on the good, but to remember the bad – and this is bad for you and bad for business. And the more people you expose yourself to, the thicker skinned in a way you have to become.

That negativity, if you focus on it, can affect your future dealings with people. You can become cynical and lose hope and belief in what you are doing. But if you know the vast majority are happy you HAVE to focus on that – whilst acknowledging the feedback from the naysayers and using it as an opportunity to improve, if you believe their gripes have any foundation at all.

I know that Xmas I slunk back to my flat and stared into my cup of tea, thinking that this was not how I had wanted to the night to go. Worse, I wondered if my ‘product’ i.e. my new network would float at all. Eighteen months later we have over three times as many franchises, three times the turnover and that naysayer actually sold his franchise to his top client. So I know now he WAS wrong. And the 95% who were positive and believers were right. Now wouldn’t it have been a merrier Xmas if I had only been able to focus on the 95% rather than the negative 5%?

If you get bad feedback, be open to it and use it as an opportunity to improve your game if needed – but remember to focus on the positive majority, not the negative minority.

Trust that helps – go have a great week.