Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Are You a Half-Hearted Kamikaze?


This term “Half-Hearted Kamikaze” comes from Tim Elmore a Christian Pastor and Speaker. I think it is relevant in today’s service business. First let’s look a definition of Kamikaze. As Tim Elmore puts it,” A Kamikaze is someone who (whether for good or evil) puts everything into one purpose.” Wikipedia defines the Kamikaze, literally: "God wind"; common translation: "Divine wind", were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy warships more effectively than was possible with conventional attacks. Numbers quoted vary, but at least 47 Allied vessels, from PT boats to escort carriers, were sunk by kamikaze attacks, and about 300 damaged. About 14% of kamikaze attacks managed to hit a ship.

So what is a Half-Hearted Kamikaze? My definition as relating to business is a service business owner who talks the story of improvement, change, and full commitment but does not consistently strive to achieve the goal of an extremely successful business with time for the owner to enjoy life.
So why are so many service business owners half-hearted? My observations of dozens and dozens of service businesses demonstrate several reasons.
  1.   I often see is the owner has little or no experience to run a business. They are great technicians but have little skills to operate a business. They fail to hire the skills needed to operate profitably or to get the skills themselves. It could be as simple as working with an expert consultant to help him.
  2.  Another reason is the owner just does not have the drive to take the business to success but is satisfied with a paycheck equal or less than they could make as a technician for a successful company. Perhaps their spouse works and provides the additional income and even benefits for the family.
  3. Often an owner becomes distracted by the technical side of the business and shies away from the hard decisions, the “books”, margins, waste, and the changes needed to more the business to the next level. Not necessarily larger but more profitable.
  4. Sometimes the distraction is something too big and too close to overcome easily. This could be a sick spouse, parent, child, or his own health. This is understandable and the owner needs to find an individual to operate the business while he gives his attention to the health need.
  5. One last one I’m going to mention here is burnout. The business owner is just worn-out from the grind of business. If the business is barely making it, the stress and pressure is great. He needs time away and a regular plan to get some rest and relaxation. If he does not, the business withers away, or he relieves the stress with alcohol, gambling or other diversions to forget the stress and pressure.

The owner probably has little or no retirement fund when he retires. He may take cash under the table thus compromising his integrity. His business may be supported by his vendors who provide credit too easily. He owes more than the business is worth. He may have stress related illnesses such as heart trouble, high blood pressure, diabetes or another health issue. He retires to a life much less than a business owner deserves, if he is able to retire. Perhaps he works at a big box store like Walmart or Home Depot instead of enjoying retirement, hobbies, and the grandkids.

So what’s the answer? Either become fully engaged or work for someone who is and avoid the downside of being half-hearted. Don't be a Half-Hearted Kamikaze, make the decision today!

Dan has been in the service industry for nearly 50 years. He has operated a large plumbing, heating and air conditioning service company and for the past 12 years has helped small companies in the service business to grow and prosper. 
Contact him @ Dan@SayYesToSuccess.com.

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