Are you willing to start a fire to find a weakness?

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

Are you willing to start a fire to find a weakness?

A number of years ago, a friend called saying her furnace kept blowing a fuse. She was concerned because it was getting cold outside and she was afraid her family wouldn't have heat. I dropped by, checked it out and the fuse was definitely blown. I had to decide if I was willing to start a fire to find a weakness. 

I took a piece of aluminum foil, wrapped the fuse and put it back in. My friend panicked because she was afraid it would burn up the furnace. The furnace started and within a few minutes, a circuit board started smoking and I shut it down. I found the problem. 

The smoking circuit board had developed a problem, and the easy way to find out where the problem was - was to put it under stress. I ordered a circuit board, replaced it and off it went. 

Sometimes in business, business owners rely on tools and techniques they've always used to help them continue on in business, and most of the time, a business can continue for a long time without a change. But, when is the last time you went to a Howard Johnson's restaurant? How about a Border's Books? What about some banks? In 2008, 25 banks felt the pressure of a changing economy and failed. That number went to 140 in 2009. In 2010, it was 157.

In a changing economy, or a time of changing technology or a time of shifting market preferences, businesses get squeezed. Much like my aluminum wrapped fuse, if you're under pressure and you start smoking, you're going to breakdown. The key to your success is to be able accept a burned up board to know where the weaknesses are so you can make changes. 

If your marketing isn't producing results, stop doing it that way. If your communication isn't inspiring clients, communicate in ways that cause them to applaud your efforts. Change is hard sometimes, but effective operations are always willing to burn up a board to make things work smoothly. The best thing you can do in many cases is jettison something that isn't working, and to get there, you've to take a honest look at your operation and see the flaws. My approach was to set a board on fire, yours might be to try new things while putting a microscope on what you're doing. 

Are you willing to start a fire to find a weakness?

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Rainer
332,278
Sham Reddy
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Thanks for a great blog!!!

The key to your success is to be able accept a burned up board to know where the weaknesses are so you can make changes. 

May 31, 2016 11:22 PM #7
Rainmaker
2,085,822
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

That's what prototypes are all about. They take them and put them through the paces so they can have a bug-free finished product. Looks like you forced the issue to the surface and then solved it...

Jun 01, 2016 12:57 AM #8
Rainmaker
900,547
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

It is always good to be constantly examining and re-evaluating your business model.  Prior to the internet and cell phones it seems most of life moved at a much slower pace.  Now-a-days though, within just a few short years everything can change drastically. 

Jun 01, 2016 01:29 AM #9
Rainmaker
2,278,592
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale - Probate Broker

Yes, sometimes the road to building a stronger business is to set fire to what is not working and create something better, stronger. Sometimes others do that for us ... through destruction ... creation is born. 

Congratulation on the Feature Post ... great illustration.

Jun 01, 2016 01:37 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,829,993
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I've thrown a lot of proverbial spaghetti on the wall trying to make some of it stick, but never started a fire to find a weakness. . .Perhaps next week!

Jun 01, 2016 06:21 AM #11
Ambassador
2,326,819
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Mike - Excellent post. I like your approach - it's the kind of thing that takes some time and experience to learn, and that's true of your analogy as well.

Jun 01, 2016 07:12 AM #12
Rainmaker
2,921,933
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good afternoon Mike,

What a well deserved featured post! Businesses are always evolving to keep up with the fast pace world we live in. If your not constantly evaluating where you are headed and how to get there you will be left in the dust. Great analogy!

Jun 01, 2016 08:25 AM #13
Rainmaker
157,883
Debi McKamie
Red Oak Properties - Waco, TX
Realtor®/Property Manager

Good post!  Change is necessary in our constantly changing world

Jun 01, 2016 10:55 AM #14
Ambassador
783,289
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Great idea for sure --- All the best -Lynn

If your marketing isn't producing results, stop doing it that way.

Jun 01, 2016 11:42 AM #15
Ambassador
1,770,599
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin
Specializing in Residential, Referrals & Relocation | PK Real Estate Utah South - St. George, UT
St. George Area Preferred Residential REALTOR®

Wow! Love this message Mike, thank you for that! Changing and adapting helps us to grow and right now I need to get a new web site done, an updated one. Mine is stagnant and out-of-date.

Jun 01, 2016 11:43 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,250,705
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

And by the same token... sometimes you need to abandon some of those shiny new toys and get back to the tried and true basics that you abandoned in search of something better. 

Jun 01, 2016 01:06 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,250,705
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

And by the same token... sometimes you need to abandon some of those shiny new toys and get back to the tried and true basics that you abandoned in search of something better. 

Jun 01, 2016 01:07 PM #18
Rainmaker
283,522
Diana Dahlberg
1 MONTH REALTY - Kenosha, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

@Mike Cooper ... a great post and one that really makes you think.  Your Beginning and Ending  Are you willing to start a fire to find a weakness? 

Makes me think about another saying -- No Pain, No Gain!

Jun 01, 2016 03:07 PM #19
Ambassador
3,223,365
Praful Thakkar
Keller Williams Realty - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Mike Cooper great analogy. Yes, if things don't work, put them to test - to fire.

Change is what we need - if we see things not working.

Jun 01, 2016 03:32 PM #20
Rainmaker
93,717
Melissa E. Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

Change is always happening around us, and  with change comes new ideas and new ways of doing things. If it's not working, why waste your time (and money) doing the same thing over and over? I like your idea of "firing" what's not working. New, fresh ideas keep us ahead of the rest.

Jun 01, 2016 11:02 PM #21
Rainer
157,364
Greg Mona
RE/MAX Platinum Living - Scottsdale, AZ
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!

Good post Mike Cooper.  As technology changes at a very rapid pace, so too does this business.  There are some basic things that have and will continue to work in our industry, but if your business model is "same ol, same ol", you'll get run over.  Change is inherently difficult for people in general, as we all like to be in our comfort zones as much as possible.   

Jun 01, 2016 11:22 PM #22
Rainer
58,397
Rochelle Kretchmar
GenEquity Mortgage - Lewisville, TX
Simply Irresistible Staging

Change is difficult, but if it gives you better results - it will be worth it.  Great Post!

Jun 01, 2016 11:27 PM #23
Rainer
133,483
Theresa Akin
CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP - Corpus Christi, TX

REminds me of those who burned dried up forests to make room for new growth.

Jun 02, 2016 12:36 AM #24
Rainer
336,206
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

It behooves every one of us to keep up with the times and sometimes we need to try something new and scary.  Always be on the lookout for the competition and be willing to learn from THEIR mistakes.

Some of our old ways ARE tried and true, but some just don't work anymore!

Jun 02, 2016 02:55 AM #25
Rainmaker
42,886
Shawn and Angela Miller
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Amabassador Real Estate - Lincoln, NE
REALTORS®

Good blog and your brave messing with fuses like that.  I do believe if something isn't working that your need to change, however, at what point do you know for sure its not working?  Everyone would say marketing is a marathon and not a sprint.  Take for example with sending post cards each month for marketing and lead generation.  Some here on AR might say it takes 6 months for results, others might say a year.  At what point do you change areas where your postcards are going?  At what point do you change your messaging on the post card.  At what point do you drop the postcard marketing all together and say postcards just don't work? 

Jun 02, 2016 03:27 AM #30
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Rainmaker
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Mike Cooper

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