“Prepare to be re-woken,” warns Neil Ducoff, even if you’ve been a subscriber to his three-year-running Monday Morning Wake-Up blog series, which starts business owners' weeks off with practical strategies to get their businesses on the course to success. Now Ducoff, the founder of Strategies and the author of No-Compromise Leadership, is repackaging the collection of posts into a fast-read book packed with great business-building ideas.
On the eve of his book launch, he sat down with Stacey Soble, editor in chief of SALON TODAY to talk about the new book:
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ST: You’ve become a little famous for not only inspiring leaders, but also removing their blinders and making them confront the tough issues. When it comes to salons, what’s the number one issue people need to wake up about?
Ducoff: “The thing that I encountered most often is a term I called ‘Intolerable Toleration,’ where you see things that are happening in your business and are driving you crazy, but you’re not engaging in doing anything about it. For example, when your people arrive late, or don’t recommend product, or take 15 minutes too long to do a service, or don’t show up for meetings—when you allow it to go on too long, it becomes normal. It becomes acceptable. Then it’s really hard to change.
ST: You have a section in the book called “The Pressure Test, Manager Meltdown.” Tell us more about that.
Ducoff: “I always ask owners, ‘On a dial from one to 10, what’s your sense of urgency?’ And, they’ll usually respond with an 11 or 12. Then when I ask where the rest of their team is, they’ll say five or six. You’ve got to rock the boat and pressure test your business. For example, we all know the key to selling retail is a professional recommendation. But stand in front of your salon and see how many clients come to checkout without a recommendation and without making a purchase. So the pressure test would be: Can you hold your team accountable that a recommendation is made both verbal and written, that the front desk team understands the recommendation and is scripted to ask the guest if she want to buy. Are you holding them accountable? The pressure test is: pick a system, implement a system, and stick to it with the right accountability.
ST: Your new book is full of what you call ‘use-them-now’ strategies. Can you share one?