Rhythm Blog | Barry Pruitt

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Customers Don't Suck - The Boss Does!

Barry Pruitt Tue, May 22, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Fast growth companies deal with more and more customers – it’s implied in growth. Having more and more customers increases the risk that some will be unhappy. More unhappy customers will increase the chance of unreasonable customers, and unreasonable customers are top of my mind. Why? Because I just ran across some 18-year-old notes from my work at a major casino. At the time, the internet was not well used for feedback, reviews, and ratings by customers. It was a time when you called, and a person actually answered the phone.

I acknowledge that times are different yet would emphasize that we still deal with people – face to face, phone to phone, email to email. It’s communication - period. Just last week I received a call from a fast-growth, high-customer-touch client. They were challenged with company representatives handling irate callers. So, let’s agree that if you ever interact with people, there is a chance for disagreement. My focus today is the same as it was for the caller – the boss. All the training and development you can buy won’t change your customer relationship unless you have the right boss in place. Call them customer service supervisor, shift manager, call center director, vice president, entrepreneur or other and this is the key position for a pivot to customer service. When your team has interactions with people that are seemingly unreasonable, even irate, then this is the person to empower your team to act.

Top 10 Qualities of a Good Planning Facilitator [Infographic]

Barry Pruitt Tue, May 1, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

Are your meetings the butt of work-related jokes? Why is it that we roll our eyes with disdain when our calendar is loaded with meetings, and more specifically, why do we dread the planning meetings that are so important to our strategic success? Let me ask, have you used senior team members as facilitators? If so, you’ve very likely chosen the wrong facilitator. Save yourself a bad decision before your next planning session. Don’t choose your CEO or an executive team member for strategic planning facilitation. If you do, you’ll pay for it all year (or quarter) based on the plan developed and the pain to get there.

Your Leadership ETHIC Drives Predictable Results

Barry Pruitt Tue, Apr 24, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

I was pleasantly surprised and wonderfully rewarded by the success of launching our new book, Predictable Results. I find it curious that I’ve been asked several times about Steve Tamasi of Boston Centerless (Chapter 7) and what I think has made him successful as a CEO. I’ve been considering this question quite a bit, and finally, think I have my answer.

First, this question caused me to think, sort my thoughts, and try to distill an answer. The thinking process led me to a broader question. Why does any leader or CEO succeed when others fail? I’ve known CEOs that run in the same circles, belong to the same mentor groups, attend the same conferences and hear the same speakers – even read the same books, yet one has succeeded and the other failed.

3 Action Steps to Leverage Stress for Success

Barry Pruitt Tue, Apr 10, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

No matter who they are or what they're doing, every person and organization experiences problems, difficulties, unexpected reversals and crises that knock them off balance. We call it being blindsided, and I’ve yet to find anyone that has avoided it.

Organizations are threatened by loss of sales, new competitors and changing economic conditions. Our lives are affected by personal, financial or health crises. What differentiates us from each other is how we handle those stressful situations. How can you make sure you are on the right side of each situation - that is, reaching for predictable results?

3 Action Steps From Jack Daly to Increase Sales

Barry Pruitt Tue, Mar 27, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Spring is here and I’ve been making new landscaping plans. Well, actually, plans to continue on a landscaping path chosen two years ago – sort of a 3-5 year plan for the yard. I’ve been preparing flower beds, adding (more) perennials, cleaning up some winter trash. It takes time for plants to mature and completing a large project in the right order yields the most beautiful outcome with the least effort. So, I’ve been building a spring playbook to get this year's portion done. I’m surprised at how many people begin similar projects without a playbook. They buy a few annual plants on sale, put them in the ground, and wonder why they don’t return the next year (hint: perennials are the ones that return each year).  

I was recently in a conversation with a home building executive for a company that’s completing and selling one home per day in the North Carolina region. He shared how they hired “A” players - people with building experience who also know how to treat customers. It was a secret sauce for the future. They want perennial relationships, not annual. So, although the market is “hot” with more buyers than sellers at this time, he realizes that markets change. When the housing market stalls, this builder will have the best people on his team and the best relationship (and reputation) with any buyers. It’s part of a long-term plan.

8 Habits for CEOs to Grow Your Business Without Breaking a Sweat

Barry Pruitt Thu, Feb 22, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

At each business stage, leaders face new challenges and complexity. The Herculean effort to launch and grow a business to $1m revenue is different for CEOs, entrepreneurs, founders, key staff members, and investors than when operating at $5m. It follows that the level of challenge and complexity at $250m is different than at $500m. At each stage, you’ll experience a breakdown in the systems and processes that allowed you to more easily make it to this point – to put it simply, what worked to get you here won’t work to get you there.

Along the way, you accumulated multiple systems, developed workarounds, and put a few band-aids on any process that became strained with growth. At each stage of your business, you’ll experience stress on previous systems and processes. Whatever you did last year won’t get you to your next year plan, your 3-5 year targets, or your longer-term BHAG without a whole lot of sweat – and likely, not at all. To grow to the next level, you have to (once again) streamline your systems, processes, and reassess your talent. You cannot rely on memory, paper, or the systems that you used earlier in your career or business.

I’ve observed eight specific habits exhibited by successful leaders and CEOs as measured by consistent revenue and profit growth (fueling greater community impact), and each can be learned by anyone. Develop the following habits and you’ll be on your way to continued growth.  

Business Lessons from the Story of David and Goliath

Barry Pruitt Fri, Dec 22, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

“Goliath had as much chance against David as any Bronze Age warrior with a sword would have had against an opponent armed with a .45 automatic pistol.” - historian Robert Dohrenwend

Over three thousand years ago, a shepherd boy, smallest and last in his family, ran onto a field of battle to face a giant of a warrior. He carried with him five smooth pebbles and a sling. This boy and his story have much to teach us as men and women business leaders.

Your Blueprint to Get Your Message Moving

Barry Pruitt Tue, Sep 19, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

We’ve been busy preparing for our Breakthrough Conference in Charlotte, working on keynotes, topics, and materials that would help leaders to break through to a great 2018. So it was no surprise that my mind drifted to reliving lessons learned the hard way - and successes - in delivering a message. Having experience with sales, webinars, classroom facilitation, workshops, and keynotes, I first want to share that each is different in unique ways. However, there are consistent approaches and best practices for each that will help you to be heard above a noisy world of communication. I shared best approaches in previous blogs like 6 Keys to Save Communication Time, Stand Up, Speak Up, and Shut Up, and my 3-Step Process to a Great Standup.

My focus in this blog has to do with being stuck in your message. Whether you're a salesperson, a marketer, a consultant, or a training professional who needs to effectively engage an audience, you can improve by asking yourself what do you want your audience to think, say, or do differently? What action do you want them to take?

True Grit, Premium Value, and Success - How Bad Do You Want It?

Barry Pruitt Wed, Sep 13, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Whenever I am onboarding a new client, I expect questions. I often hear, "what’s the most important thing that we need to succeed?" So I was curious to find that as an author, speaker, and consultant, Jack Daly often hears similar questions. If anything, it seems to substantiate my belief that entrepreneurs and leaders want confirmation to avoid missteps. Quite simply, leaders and entrepreneurs feel the weight of each and every decision they make and live with the impact long-term. Jack asks a unique question in response - how bad do you want it?

From Your Heart To Feet To Changing the World

Barry Pruitt Sun, Sep 3, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Michael was a beautiful boy. I guessed that he was about 9 years old and although his shirt was worn out, his jeans torn, and his shoes and hands were dirty, he had a charming smile that was warm enough to melt a crusty heart.

As I pulled off his mismatched shoes, I could hardly believe his rough little feet. Unlike the soft feet of most children I have known, his were calloused and rough, neglected even – a direct reflection of a life lived hard. Michael was there in 2011 at First Baptist Church in Clover, SC, with about 600 other children who shared a common story, one of poverty. It's rampant in York County with over 50% of public school children on some type of food assistance program.