What Will You Do to Make a Difference?

I attended a Leadership Conference this past summer and one of the speakers was Marcus Lemonis.  I had not heard of him before, but he took the time to share a lot about his personal story which has really driven the purpose in his life.  He is now a self-made multi-millionaire who is the CEO of Camping World, Good Sam Enterprises and Gander Outdoors to name just a few.   He also has his own TV show on CNBC called “The Profit.”   In the show, Marcus invests his own money into struggling businesses to help them get back on their feet.  He is smart from a financials, marketing and business standpoint.  He is also smart when it comes to the people side of things.

The businesses may be struggling because the business owner isn’t strong at actually running a business.  They are losing money, holding lots of inventory. lacking in direction about what they are doing and struggling to explain why they are in business in the first place.  In other cases, it may come down to letting go of control, decision making and people management.  Here are some of the things that I have learned by watching the show:

  • Ask For Help
    • These business owners know that they are at a point where they need help.  Marcus can come in and very quickly help them get back on track.  As I have talked about in this blog, it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, but a sign of strength.  These business owners are putting their heart and soul into their businesses.  It takes a strong person to not only ask for his help, but to be willing to let go of things to ultimately get to a better place.
    • Where do you need to ask for help?


  • Know Your Why
    • Marcus helps the business owners get really clear on their “why.”  What is the purpose for what they are doing and how is that driving the messaging that they are sending to the customers.   For many business owners that may start out strong, but get lost somewhere along the way.  Having this clarity as a business owner or in your own leadership is key.
    • Do you know your why?


  • The Leader Can’t Do It All
    • The leader should be setting the vision, trusting their people and letting them execute.  If you are the only decision maker, then you become the bottleneck.  You can see when you watch these stories, how emotionally invested the people are in what they are doing and they don’t want their businesses to fail.  They put so much pressure on themselves and the stress is enormous.  Learning to delegate letting other people bring their ideas to the table and empowering them to make decisions can help the leader focus on leading the team vs doing all the work.
    • What are you doing that you should be delegating to someone else?


  • Build the Best Team
    • ​​​​​​​Ensure that you have the best team around you and that everyone understands their role. Marcus coaches all of the team members to realize their potential, not just the CEOs. Some of these businesses are run by families which may have a broader impact when things aren’t going well.  The best teams are built with people who have the capabilities that the leader lacks.  Your team is only as strong as the weakest link.
    • Is your team the “right” team to help you reach success?


  • Do The Right Thing
    • ​​​​​​​Marcus is doing this to help businesses succeed, but he is also in it to make money.  Having said that, he really does care about how the people are doing in the business.  He can see that there are a lot of emotions at play sometimes and he helps people look at things differently.  He has the tough conversations in a direct, but respectful way to help people move forward when they are holding themselves back from the success that they could be having.
    • Are you doing the right thing and having those tough conversations?


  • Leverage Your Network
    • ​​​​​​​He finds the right connections in his network to help these businesses simplify, get more exposure, design better packaging, create additional partnerships or be distributed on a larger scale.  He has a broader perspective from his experiences and connections that give the opportunity to help the business owners think bigger too.
    • Where could you be leveraging your network to help you or help someone else?


  • Reflect on Lessons Learned
    • ​​​​​​​Although he has had a lot of successes, there have been some partnerships that did not succeed.  Even if they don’t work out, he strives to make sure that the business is better than where it was when he started working with them.  There have been many situations where he believed that change could occur, but ultimately did not and he lost money.  He continues to reflect on why those things happened and what lessons he learned from those situations.
    • Are you taking the time to reflect on lessons and learn from them?

I have learned a lot about business by watching the show, but also about leadership.  He coaches these business owners and their employees to have a higher level of success.  You can see that they move from a place of stress and fear to a place of hope.  They are energized, excited and motivated by their businesses again.  Here is a link to information about Marcus if you are interested in learning more about him.

The lessons above are applicable no matter what type of role you have.  What have these lessons taught you?  Think about the questions in each section and how you could apply the answers to your own leadership.

What lessons have you learned by reading this?  Are there things that you would like to work on in your leadership?  Remember the first lesson here….Ask for help!  Reply to this note and let’s talk about how coaching can help you move forward where you may be stuck.


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