Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sam Walton's 10 Rules of Success adapted for Mama

I don't often find articles written specifically for Mamas managing their homes.  I do find lots of articles though about how to make a business successful.  I have rewritten this article into terms that help me in my role as mum and wife, managing my family and home.  Maybe it will help you too.

Original Source:
Sam Walton’s Rules for Success by Harvey Mackay

Sam Walton, the legendary founder of Wal-Mart, had 10 rules for running a successful business. They are simple and straightforward, but guess what? I would bet the farm that a great many businesses don't follow them—and they'd be better off if they did.

Read these and see how they might fit into your business plan. Take note that even in this tough economy, Wal-Mart is prospering.

Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anyone does. Passion is at the top of the list of the skills you need to excel. When you have passion, you speak with conviction, act with authority and present with zeal. If you don't have an intense, burning desire for what you are doing, there's no way you'll be able to work the long, hard hours it takes to become successful.
Commit to your family and the business of being a homemaker.  Be passionate about the things you do, even they seem very everyday and ordinary.  Learn about how to do things better, be happy to do them better and help the other members of your family to be enthusiastic about being part of your family.

Share profits with your employees. If you treat them as partners, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will perform beyond your wildest dreams. Employees are the lifeblood of any good company. Many companies seem to have fancy incentive programs for the big wheels, but smart companies have bonuses and profit-sharing all the way down the line.
Reward your family for contributing to your household, even if they only have a cheerful attitude and listen to Mama because they are too small for any other tasks.  Of course, also train your children to participate in creating your home by doing chores and picking up after themselves.  Have fun movie nights, take a trip to the local art gallery, make them a treat or a special dessert and always give extra hugs.

Motivate your partners. Money and ownership are not enough. Set high goals, encourage competition and then keep score. Competition makes you better and stronger. You should not only welcome stiff competition, you should actively seek it. You'll never realize your full potential unless you're challenged. Similarly, if you don't set goals to determine where you're going, how will you know when you get there? You must stay focused on your goals above all else. Truly dedicated individuals won't let anything interfere with attaining their goals.
Set goals for your family, both large and small.  A large one may be a family holiday that you can save up for by avoiding fast food.  How can they help towards this goal?  By helping to keep the kitchen clean and ready to cook in, by avoiding making extra work for Mama that will interfere with her ability to cook a healthy dinner, especially around dinner prep time.  A small goal may be getting chores done quickly each day and school finished early so that a trip to the park or the pool can happen before the evening rush of activities. 

Communicate everything you possibly can to your employees. The more they know, the more they will understand. Information is power, but it must be used to empower your workforce. You will be amazed how a few snippets of information can transform a business into a powerhouse.
Explain to your children the choices you make, in how you run your days, in how you choose to spend your money.  Help them see that there are reasons for your choices. 

It might be that you expect jobs done quickly so that school can start on time, to then lead onto a successful school day and a smoothly running evening to everyone having a reasonable bed time with time for enough sleep and energy to have a good day the next day. 

Little people don’t always see how their one little chore done quickly or slowly can flow on to affect your day and theirs.  Teach them.  Show them that they are a small part in a large machine and that every little part is important.  Let them know that their contribution is needed and appreciated in your family.

Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. In addition to point #2, find ways to let your employees know that you value their contributions. Invite your customers to share their stories of great service and post them for all to see. Catch people doing a good job and let them know you notice. It keeps everyone motivated and does wonders for retention. Remember that your successes result from a group effort.
Keep a place in your home for a “success board”.  Write up their successes, both large and small, and post them in plain view.  You could use different coloured post it notes for each member of your family so that even if they can’t read they can see that they have had successes from the number of notes in their colour on the board.

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures. Don't take yourself so seriously. Maintain a positive tone, even when things don't go as planned. Although a failure may not be funny at the time, there's always a lesson to be learned. Often, the lesson learned is humility.
Don’t criticise mistakes.  Quickly work on solutions.  We have a rule here that we are not whinge about something more than once.  I expect both my children and myself to move on quickly to solutions.  If milk is spilt, which is more useful to your child’s future coping skills with failure - you giving them a hard time and being angry or even just terse, or you quickly showing them how to grab a cloth and how to clean up their spill?  If you can’t be cheerful you can at least be practical and not nasty.  Focusing on failure does not keep us moving forward.

Listen to everyone in your company, and figure out ways to get them talking. Many people think that communication means getting others to do what you want them to do. For them, good listening means, "I talk, you listen." These people have forgotten the basic truth about being a good listener: Listening is a two-way process. Yes, you need to be heard. You also need to hear the other person's ideas, questions and objections. If you talk at people instead of with them, they're not buying in—they're caving in.
This tip is pretty much self explanatory.  Remember you are a leader of your family but don’t lead your family as though you are a dictator.  Keep the lines of communication open.  You will still need to manage your family but that doesn’t mean ignoring the needs, wants and dreams of your children and dh in the process.  After all you want them to feel included, to feel as though they have been heard and that they matter to you and your family.

Exceed your customers' expectations. There's one thing no business has enough of: customers. Take care of the customers you have and they'll take care of you by coming back—and bringing their friends. On the flip side, disappoint customers, and they'll disappoint you—and then disappear.
In your role as Mama and wife try to exceed your children and husband’s expectations.  Take some care to every so often do something really special for each member of your family as individuals.  Give a kid a treat on a trip out with only you.  Give them a surprise day off chores.  Make your dh’s favourite dinner or dessert.  Wear an outfit that he likes you in and get the kids off to bed early so you can spend some time together.  Make it so your family is a place your family wants to be and to keep coming back to.

Control your expenses better than your competition. Wal-Mart tries to help its customers follow this rule. If you aren't already watching pennies, start now.
I am personally finding that if I don’t watch my expenses that I might find myself in the situation of needing to work outside the home to be able to cover those expenses.  My dh would prefer me to be at home, managing it, and my children would definitely prefer I was home.  I need to watch my pennies, starting right now.  Remember also that money and its mismanagement can lead to a lot of stress and the tension caused due to that stress will not be good for your family.

Swim upstream. If everyone else is doing it one way, there is a good chance you can find your niche by going in the opposite direction. Following the crowd leaves you with very little room to maneuver.
Make your family the weird ones.  Make sure they are only viewing tv shows that are appropriately rated, by you, not your national television watch dog.  Make sure they are eat healthily and exercise appropriately.  Expect respect and get it.  Make sure they participate in your family, no matter their age.   Do not let your teenagers isolate themselves.  Keep them involved in your family, while also allowing them some freedom as individuals.

Mackay's Moral: If a business can survive and thrive in these times, they must be playing by some smart rules.

Families that survive are those that do the tough things, the things that are different to those other families that are not so successful.  Remember, this is a lifelong venture in how you manage your home-life and your “company” will not go under in the next big disaster.
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