The Cost of Not Getting It

By Nick Fisher, Portfolio Manager and Rick Thomas, Business Advisor

While I am not a fan of reality TV, I have to confess my devotion to a couple of shows that have an entrepreneurial bent – ABC’s Shark Tank and CNBC’s The Profit

In Shark Tank, aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their products to a panel of successful investors, aka the sharks, to hopefully gain their investment.

In The Profit, Marcus Lemonis, billionaire CEO of Camping World is brought in to assess the viability of a failing business. If he determines it is worth saving, he invests in the business and proceeds to implement a rapid turnaround employing his principles of people, process and product.

As you might imagine, the interesting TV is when he encounters resistance to his efforts to change how the business is run. Reality drama aside however, both shows are a study in competency, business model execution, and commitment of the business owner or would-be-entrepreneur. What I have noticed from watching episodes of both shows is a common description Lemonis and the Sharks use to describe someone who is failing; they are someone who just doesn’t get it.

At some point I adopted the use of this phrase and have used it to label a condition where the business owner or employee is clearly failing. But what does it really mean, to not get it? And more to the point, what if I’m the one not getting it?

In the case of the TV shows, the price is high. A savvy investor will smell out someone who doesn’t get it in a heartbeat, leaving the entrepreneur failing to gain the investment in his or her venture or turnaround. What about for us? What is the price we pay by not getting it?

We have to look no further than where we are repeatedly failing due to the same mistakes being made over and over. Whether it is continuing to make bad hires in the organization, finding the business constantly faced with litigation, or repeatedly surprised by a lack of cash flow, each of these ongoing failures are a pattern that indicate how we are not getting it. And in most cases our ego will not allow us to see the problem for what it is, while to the outsider, it is as obvious as a bad smell in the refrigerator.

How much do we ultimately pay for not getting it? It depends on what the goal is, but it is safe to say the impact is the most profound on a growth business. The areas of repeated failure impact the business in substantial ways, ranging from a marginalized valuation to the potential of business failure.

If this is beginning to feel too close to home, take heart. You are not alone. Make the commitment to do something about it. Start with being clear about what the ultimate goal is. Behavior change without knowledge of the “what” and the “why” at stake is, is virtually impossible to do. Then be willing to ask for feedback from a trusted advisor or confidant. Being willing to have your blind spots pointed out is not easy, but will help you do the heavy lifting required to correct bad habits that are deeply entrenched in your neural pathways. It is a humbling experience, but worthy of the desired outcome. Suffice it to say, the humility you gain today will be the valuation you will gain tomorrow.