One of my favorite quotes is: “Our weaknesses are the excesses of our strengths.” That could not be more true than people who are pleasers by nature. Do you struggle saying no? Ever find yourself over-committing because you don’t want to let someone down? Ever lose sleep because in your efforts to please everyone you end up disappointing everyone? If so, it could be that by your nature you want to make everyone happy. That is not a bad thing, but taken to excess it can get you into trouble. Especially when you own a franchise. If you like people and are comfortable selling and marketing then odds are you also like making them happy. Your ability to sell and market will be huge as you grow your business, but your need to make everyone happy can derail that growth as the business matures.
As your business grows you will get busier and commitments will become more challenging. Some opportunities will be more profitable than others and as you max out your band width you may need to turn away less profitable opportunities. If you are pleaser that will be HARD. You also are going to have to manage people either as employees, contractors, or vendors. Managing people has conflict built in and sometimes requires tough decisions. If you are a pleaser these decisions and their consequences will be HARD. It is ok if letting others down is hard. What is not ok is failing to recognize the need to let others down and ultimately hurting your business because of poor service levels caused by over-committing or by a failure to manage your people. The great news is that you have options here.
If you are a natural pleaser and you know it will get you into trouble, then you need to have someone on your staff who acts as your hammer. This person can be the one who says no to that marginal business, or who manages the employees while you go out and stir up additional opportunity. You can also overcome your limitation if you have sufficient drive (see my previous blog – We Are Not Your Mom). How do I know? Because that is me. I hate letting people down and have had times in my life where I way over-committed. On the other hand, I have a lot of drive to be successful and use that drive to force myself to confront the tough issues when the pleaser in me is screaming otherwise. I also accept that I will occasionally lose some sleep over a tough decision I communicated. I am ok with that.
So, ask yourself the tough questions. If you are a pleaser, do you have the drive to overcome it? If you ado not, can you have someone act has your hammer? Most importantly, will you stay out of that person’s way so they can do the job?