Run Your Company Like a Honey Badger, Not a Washrag
When you find success and make a bit of money, suddenly everyone wants a piece, and they’ll use intimidation to get it. This includes your employees, customers, and partners. One of the biggest challenges of running a business is learning to handle confrontations without letting fear dictate your decisions.
Consider the scenario presented in last week’s article Do You Live By the Code?. Imagine you’re the owner of the lawn care business, and you’ve just learned one of your employees is poaching your customers. What should you do? “Fire him” is the logical answer, but logic often takes a back seat to fear. What if the backstabbing employee is your best worker, and your company will suffer without him? What if he threatens to take more staff with him unless you keep him on, or worse, give him a raise? In either of those scary scenarios, many business owners would give in and let the employee go unpunished.
When you let fear win, you become a washrag. You set a precedent that anybody can come in and wring you out. Give in when an employee demands a raise or a customer pressures you for a discount and they’ll keep coming back until they’ve wrung you dry. To solve this, you need to learn how to control your fear. As Warren Buffett said, “You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.”
When you’re facing a confrontation, take these three steps:
1. Identify your emotions.
The first step to overcoming your fear is recognizing it. Once you do, you can check yourself before reacting on impulse.
2. Breathe. During a confrontation, never speak or act out of emotion.
Instead, take a deep breath and count to 10 before you respond.
3. Outlast the opposition.
You can control the situation if you simply refuse to play ball. Let the other side threaten, beg, and bully you until they run out of ammunition. Then, make the logical decision.
I use these techniques, and my friends have nicknamed me the Honey Badger after the most fearless critter in the animal kingdom. Next time someone confronts you, channel your inner honey badger to take them down.