Are you running your business or are you letting circumstances run it for you? Stay with me here because I know that at first blush, it seems like a ridiculous question. Of course you’re running your business. You’re large and in charge—making decisions left and right and keeping the operation running smoothly. I get it, but based on my experience, there are some things that leadership teams need to consider about how much they are focusing on circumstances rather than on their people, processes, and presentations. Where members of the leadership team spend energy and time when they want to achieve different results indicates whether they are leading their business or whether circumstances are leading them.

I listen in on a lot of company calls with owners and senior leadership and there’s a pattern I hear when companies don’t get the results they’re looking for. They almost always ask what’s wrong and respond with a discussion on the circumstances (XYZ builder across the street lowered prices, the traffic wasn't there, or the weather was bad, for example). Next, they talk about how to change those circumstances, whether by matching XYZ builder’s price, increasing the marketing budget to drive traffic up, or holding up and waiting for a sunnier day. There is absolutely a place for conversations about circumstances. What concerns me, though, is when they stop there. Occasionally, they might mention bringing someone in to pump up the sales team, but usually, they just stop.

Builder Online: Are You Running Your Business or is it Running You? from Forrest Performance Group on Vimeo.

It's a short-sighted strategy because if home builders constantly increase the marketing budget or increasing incentives, they will also constantly be lowering their profit margins. The trouble with narrowing those profit margins is that, well, you'll end up with no profit margin left.

Rather than adjusting circumstances in order to meet our needs, we need to adjust ourselves in order to meet our circumstances. It’s a radical idea and I’ll tell you right now: it works. It’s a long-term strategy that requires leadership to be focused on making ourselves better rather than on making our circumstances easier.

We do this by upping our game with the prospects we already have and increasing the activities that work, such as follow-up calls, realtor outreach programs, home/home site demonstrations, and more. Once we’re doing the right activities, we can refine our process (how we do those activities).

The product, promotional strategies, packaging, and price must be in line in order to get in the game. But your people are what will set you apart, increase your market share; and allow you to win the game, allowing for success in good markets and bad. If you accept what I'm saying and pursue this new way of thinking—be prepared to be lonely. Because it ain't always popular. We are conditioned to believe that success lies in lining up all of the circumstances. But when you see market share increase, feel the pressure of low sales come off, and improve the bottom line, you can’t help but believe.