Transcending Legacy. What does that mean? It means we inevitably outgrow our traditional work style, organizational structure, and aspects of our Leadership Tool Kit. It is NEVER that we led, managed or supervised wrongly in the past. Rather, as we grow in volume in a location or as we add locations on the way to becoming a larger, more developed, more complex company we tend to hang on the way we were when we were less developed.

It isn’t that we are WRONG!
It is that we MAY have failed to grow as leaders
at the same pace our business grew.

Let me give a scenario, tell you a story that illustrates what can and does occur:

So, your Grandfather started a Lumber Yard. Maybe even your Great-grandfather did. He began with 3 employees. His Self and a couple helpers, likely a brother and your Great Grandmother doing the books. Company volume is less than a million bucks a year. Way less in fact. Even so, with just a handful of employees EVERY PERSON must wear many, MANY HATS. One minute a shelf is being stocked. The next minute on the phone with a vendor ordering stuff. Then customers come in. Ticket after ticket is written. Suddenly, out to the warehouse to load a truck. Then on many days your Great Grandfather – or another of the relatives working in the business – is driving the truck and delivering stuff. Over and over again, HARD WORK is the call of the day. Every day. No time to really think. No time to proactively design HOW to work. JUST DAAMNED HARD WORK.

Time passes and more people – usually more relatives – come into the business and are swiftly and effectively swept into HOW we WORK around here. Everyone does EVERYTHING with a lot of HARD WORK ahead. Still no planning. Just many Generalists, working hard and getting stuff done. Daily. Every single Day.

And this business model actually works … or kind of works, year after year until ONE DAY the business passes a milepost of volume, ticket count, touch points where the generalist model of business actually no longer serves. BUT it is all we know. It is what we have always done. A map moving forward where more SPECIALISTS play “One Base” on the ball field will get us ahead, but we are STUCK, for generations in a Legacy we have actually outgrown.

It is not any different when a company has grown by adding locations. You started with one. Then bought another. Then another. Finally ending up with 6, 12, 24 or more locations; each with different purchasing paradigms, different cost structures, absolutely no integrity in product mix or pricing. Certainly, NO FIRM TARGETS for Special Orders. Simply WORKING HARD only ever achieves average (or less than average) Gross Margins and anaemic bottom lines in the P&L.

WHY Do We Do This?

It is what we have always done.
Been fragmented. Undisciplined.
Largely void or very weak in STRUCTURE
so more MUSCLE is required
to keep up and move forward.

Then we tout ALL THIS by saying “Oh but we are proud of our De-centralized Organizational Structure.” Honestly, most – NO not All – but MOST who are operating inside those “Decentralized” cultures are NOT in the TOP ACHIEVERS CIRCLE.

It produces Weak Margins, Underdeveloped Cultures, Hard Working IN THE BUSINESS and very little work ON THE BUSINESS for less than desirable returns. Again, NOT ALL, BUT TOO MANY dealers are living THIS STORY.

What Can You Do?

Transcend Your Legacy Habits!

  • Transcending Legacy requires that we Envision a more Structured Organization with Top Leaders wearing FEWER HATS and being more THOROUGH in all things.
  • Transcending Legacy means LESS situational and extemporaneous action and MORE ‘Rules of Engagement” in each area of your store or company – Sales and Operations alike.
  • Transcending Legacy calls for intentional Time Blocking to work ON the Business – Visioning, Planning, Creating “Rules of Engagement,” Coaching Team Members, Time in Recruitment Activities, Margin Stewardship and more. Working IN the business, frantic, overworked and over stressed is NOT a viable business model AT ALL.
  • Transcending Legacy requires us to EVOLVE! We HONOR how we started and GREW as a business THEN we allow for OURSELVES to Evolve, Grow, Advance in our capacities as a Manager and as a Leader.
  • Transcending Legacy MUST include Fewer GENERALISTS in our staff map and MORE SPECIALISTS doing fewer tasks more completely and with greater mastery.
  • Transcending Legacy MEANS Structure and Systems…… more Structure and Systems…. Did I mention Structure and Systems? You bet I did. Aren’t sure what that means for you, reach out to me and we will map a way forward that WORKS!

Let it NEVER be said that ‘Uncle Kenny” here is dismissing or dishonoring all the hard work, blood sweat and tears that it takes to start and build a successful business.

Nope. Not at all. What I am saying – without reservation – is that what brought us to our success may now in fact be so outdated it actually limits our healthy business operations and profitable growth.

There comes a point at which Hard Work will no longer serve.

In fact, More Hard Work may actually harm us and keep us from the stunning levels of victory we WANT, NEED and DESERVE.

If old legacy habits are limiting your leadership and your company growth, it’s time to be bold and make lasting change in 2024. Stay tuned to future blogs for how you can transform your company’s legacy habits one step at a time.

Life Favors the Bold!