Production and the bottom lines…

As I said yesterday, there has to be a bottom line. Production is a basis for trust and respect. Trust and respect are the basis for influence – and Leadership IS Influence.

Without producing the goods or delivering the desired results our leadership won’t last for long. Of all the roles that we discussed last week, the leader’s greatest role – the one that set him or her apart – is producer. The traditional bottom line is profitability. At the end of the day, does your dream or business have a ‘Net Income’? This is the, absolute, business bottom line and what I refer to as the 1st bottom line. Will we be able to keep our doors open tomorrow?

Again, using the race as a model… at the end of the race – the mushers get a prize. This prize comes from a number of sources, including entrance fees, sponsors, etc. As the prize has increased, the level of competition has grown and the end result (the bottom line) is that mushers could now run this race as something that could produce income – not just a hobby. So the race needs sponsors and without fans, there are no sponsors.

Since my mind is, usually, digging deeper, I’m tying the metaphor to business and thinking… fans and sponsors are their ‘Customers”. In the race and in business, ‘Satisfied Customers’ are critical. This has to be a constant question, “Do we have satisfied customers?” If we don’t have satisfied customers – we don’t have revenue – if we don’t have revenue we can’t have net income! This becomes the 2nd bottom line AND is directly tied to the success of the 1st bottom line.

Now I’m left with, “We have customers. How are we going to deliver the desired results and keep them satisfied?”

The answer? Our people, our ‘Team’.

We can’t run the race alone and if we tried, I doubt anyone would wait around for us to attempt an 1100 mile foot race. Bottom line – this business race and your dream should be too big for you to attempt on your own! AND we can’t lose sight of a profound truth:

“How you treat your people… Is how they will treat your Customers and take care of their orders”

Treat your people poorly and they will lack the motivation and desire to treat your customers any different. Their mindset will be, “they don’t value me – why should I value you?” Further, if they are not valued or don’t feel connected to a higher purpose in their journey, “Are they going to pull the sled with all their strength? Or enough to cover the bare minimum?” Bottom line # 3: we need valued, engaged team members, pulling with all of their heart and strength if we are going to satisfy our customers AND reach our ‘Burled Arch’.

Whether you want to be influential within your company or impactful within your industry, unless you deliver the goods on a consistent basis – your impact will only go so far. The purpose for Iditarod Leadership and the reason for why I write and speak is to help you increase your impact – to help you produce the desired result AND to communicate that it doesn’t have to come at the expense of relationship with our people and satisfied customers are critical.

Bottom line(s): Valued, engaged people lead to Satisfied Customers and together, they will gladly and consistently contribute to a great BOTTOM LINE…


The bottom line is that there are multiple bottom lines

People run the race for different reasons. Some, initially, become interested in the race for the adventure and the challenge – sort of the ‘man (or woman) and beasts versus the wild’. The adrenaline of: “I could die or suffer extreme harm” has an incredible allure over the mundane of cubicles, time clocks and ‘TPS’ reports.

There are any number of analogies that I could draw here in reference to life and business: becoming an entrepreneur, leaving corporate life for the thrill of starting your own business, leaving the ‘rank and file’ to become a leader in your organization, or even living your hobby or dream outside of work. Whatever the analogy, there comes a time when we must face the ‘bottom line’.

For the past couple of weeks, I worked with a great group of guys with a dream and an incredible opportunity. This dream and opportunity is right in line with their passion to reach people and develop a great business that provides them with income. In the process, if they make it…. they could achieve social recognition and a degree of status among their peers and business leaders in their country. In the midst of it all, my continued council was, “Great! But it won’t happen on its own. You have to have a detailed plan. You have to focus on the bottom line. The status or success you will achieve is more of a by-product of a great business plan that is executed with diligence and purpose!”

And if I could say that to you… If we could meet in a coffee shop – somewhere around the world – or sit with legs folded and ‘break bread’ and talk as friends – my council would be the same. “Go for it! Live your dreams! I believe in you!” and then I would precede to (as a loving friend) ‘hammer’ on you about your business plan and all of the necessary things in order for you to succeed. I would tell you that it doesn’t all have to be lined out in perfection and down to every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed when you start. In fact, if you wait until everything is perfect – chances are – you will never start. However, if the dream is going to be realized – there has to be a ‘bottom line’.

For as long as I can remember, this has been drilled into me – after all – my degree is in Accounting. I can still hear the mantra being chanted, “Focus on the bottom line. Focus on the bottom line. Wall Street only focuses on the bottom line.”

Then… I came to a new understanding of what the bottom line means and it is part of the entire ‘Iditarod Leadership’ theme.

Think about the actual race. It has many components but I would like us to focus on the big picture: The race has competitors, fans and sponsors. In order to keep the race going – all 3 must be satisfied. We and our teams must be willing to be ‘in the race’, the fans have to enjoy the experience and the competition, and the sponsors need to have a return for their investment.

The bottom line… and the discussion for this week…. is that in the race AND in business … the BOTTOM LINE is that there are three bottom lines.

Stay in touch this week and next, we will unpack this powerful concept.