I began building a checklist for everything. Business coach principles regarding checklists and standardization were new concepts for me at that time; however, I was determined to implement best business practices so as to orient myself and my company toward success. I began putting copies of the sales scripts in each guy’s cubicle. I began creating detailed organizational charts, pay structures, and workflows that clearly documented each person’s job and how they were to do it. This did not sit well with many of the older dudes, but I was inspired to create a great enterprise, not a business uniquely catered to the odd needs of fifty individuals who each insisted on doing everything their own way. DJ Connection was going to become super standardized in every way, even if that meant we had to replace a few people. And with these new business coach systems in place, replacing people would be easier than ever before because now I could just teach a new guy how to follow his flow chart and his sales script, and he was off and running. In the past, a guy would have to shadow me for six months just to figure out where we kept our staplers and what the entire DJ lingo commonly used around the office actually meant. DJ Connection was going to become standardized, franchise-able, duplicable, and SELLABLE, even if it meant replacing an entire office staff of non-conformers.
After church one Sunday with business coach and standardization stuck on my mind, I approached Bishop Carlton Pearson to arrange a time to meet with him about building a huge organization. Brother Pearson (former pastor of Higher Dimensions church) founded a multi-denominational mega-church and a huge praise and worship conference called Azusa, which was held annually in Tulsa. I figured he would know a thing or two about growing and managing an organization. When we met for lunch over at Souper Salad, I was excited to meet Carlton in a one-on-one format. As usual, he looked fresh and clean, sporting his neatly ironed jeans, his brown sport coat, and his Carlton funk-soul-brutha aura. If you have not seen Carlton Pearson before, he dresses like a Christian version of Prince. Although I found myself disagreeing with him religiously from time to time, I always enjoyed his praise and worship service, his passion, his conviction, his singing talent, his speaking ability, and his ability to preach. He had the total package when it came to pastoring a church, and I knew he would be able to relate to my frustrations. Sure enough, he gave me the golden nugget of personal management when he said, “Clay, when it comes to managing people, YOU CANNOT EXPECT; YOU MUST INSPECT.” I almost wet my pants.
His advice rhymed, it was profound, and it was simple. Oh, I was fired up, so I boldly marched into the DJ office to tell the guys about my meeting with my business coach mentor from afar. I think they were probably slightly disturbed by his advice because it meant that their pellet-guns, lateness, excuses, under-performance, and their weakness were going to be things of the past. For Eric, Jason, and for DJ Josh, I think they were inspired by his advice because they realized that I was no longer going to tolerate the moron brigade. Henceforth, each day I fought the mini-battles to win the major cultural war that was taking place at DJ Connection. Each time someone showed up late, they got fined mercilessly. Each time someone failed to return an item, they got charged for it, and every time they did not deliver on their promises to a customer, they were fired, fined, or chewed out. Within twelve months, we had succeeded in replacing nearly all of the morons and underachievers. I loved the lack of stress and the positivity that emerged all from “inspecting instead of expecting” as Brother Carlton had advised. And as a direct result of inspecting rather than expecting, DJ Connection began prospering like never before. Bookings were at an all-time high, and our growth was nearing 30 percent annually. It was awesome, which is probably why I was being approached by nearly everyone I knew who was looking to start a business or be an “angel investor.”
Overall, I did a pretty good job of saying no to the shameless attempts by everyone to tap into the DJ Connection fund. I had one guy who asked me to invest in a racehorse. I had a teacher who wanted me to invest in flipping houses. I had every multi-level person in Oklahoma hit me up to buy and sell their energy drinks, creams, health supplements, and skin care products; and it was always pretty easy to say no. However, when I was approached by a self-proclaimed disciple of Napoleon Hill, my ears perked up. And to keep myself from getting sued, here on out, I am just going to refer to this guy as Dick Bonaparte. Dick talked the talk. Dick had the proverbial plaque on his wall stating, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He had the pretty Christian wife. He had the nice house. He had the high net worth real estate portfolio. He had the expensive suits, and he knew the financial language that I needed to hear (at the time) to impress me. We got together and brainstormed. Next thing I knew, we had decided to build a full-service wedding chapel called the Palazzo that was going to serve two financial purposes:
On paper, everything that Dick talked about sounded good. His financial statements were impressive, and his moral soundness was appealing. Unfortunately, Dick never disclosed that he was Satan. And thus, I didn’t discover his snake-like tendencies until after we partnered and after I had committed my life savings to a partnership with a procrastinating, double-talking, fake-wealth creating, Lucifer-stunt-double. To make this very long story short, here is a short list of the party fouls that this demon-amongst-men committed in our one-year history from hell:
The business coach point is this: I went through stress, anxiety, and business turmoil because of him, and I will never forgive myself for not researching him more thoroughly before investing my money and the investment dollars of my close friends and family with him. Eventually, I was able to pay all of the investors back and was able to get the party-rental company that was losing money up to a level of sustainable profitability, but I went to hell and back twice with that demon. I would not wish that experience on my biggest enemy (unless cloning humans was possible, then I think he should have to partner with himself).
During this time of stress and anxiety, I was virtually unable to sleep. My humor and the support of my wife was all that got me through. My belief that you can find a great learning opportunity behind every failure was being tested big time. I just kept looking for that monumental benefit. Then it hit me like one of Mike Tyson’s punches:
DJ CONNECTION’S SYSTEMS HAD BEEN TESTED. DJ CONNECTION WAS FORCED TO RUN WITHOUT ME, AND IT DID. DJ JASON HAD MATURED INTO A GREAT MANAGER, AND DJ ERIC HAD BECOME A LEADER. DJ JASON’S DATABASE SOFTWARE WAS NOW BEING FULLY IMPLEMENTED, AND IT WAS WORKING. IT WAS WORKING SO WELL IN FACT THAT I WAS ABLE TO LOSE OVER $100,000 IN A SINGLE YEAR (spent on personally paying back all the investors since Dick did not see any reason to pay back his half of the funds lost by the
partnership demonship); AND YET I WAS NOT HOMELESS. THE SYSTEMS WERE WORKING, AND NEARLY ALL OF THE FORMER MUCK-RAKING-TROUBLE-CAUSING-UNDERPERFORMERS WERE GONE AS THEY SIMPLY COULD NOT SURVIVE IN A STANDARDIZED ENVIRONMENT THAT REQUIRED THEM TO FOLLOW OUR PLAN.
The moral of this business coach story is this: Do not partner with Satan. If you do partner with someone, make sure that they contribute more cash (or as much cash as you do), and pay for a lawyer to set up everything legally before you begin anything.
“Knowledge without application is meaningless.” – Thomas Edison
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