Between Viking Sports, MyBike, and knocking on doors, I’ve worked with thousands of people. During the time, someone smarter than me pointed out that people fall into three categories- high maintenance, low maintenance, and no maintenance.
Let’s go through them…
High Maintenance– This is the person who needs supervision. They are a question asker, they are not self directed, and make excuses. They are also problem creators. It sounds bad, but honestly almost everyone lives here when starting something new. You just want to work on transitioning to the low maintenance category.
Low Maintenance– This is where most people live. This group can work independently, they ask AND answer questions, they are self directed, they sometimes make excuses if a project is not completed well or on time. They are also problem identifiers. Most employers like low maintenance people in the mix because they work to get the job done. But every employer loves someone who is no maintenance.
No Maintenance– Few people are here. This is a group of question answering problem solvers, who make no excuses. They are self directed individuals that create work to do. They are the people you can grow around because they have complete confidence in themselves. The don’t second guess. They are decision makers who can navigate through challenges.
If you work for someone, you should strive to be No Maintenance. Fair warning- it’s really really hard. In most work environments, it’s almost impossible. You need the right boss who is willing to arm you with the tools to transition to No Maintenance. If you find that boss, never leave your job. If you’re a boss, work to make sure individuals are given the necessary means to become No Maintenance. It’s a long ugly process riddled with mistakes, but you will be rewarded for being a patient teacher.
When I started knocking on doors, I was so unbelievably high maintenance. Everything that was wrong was not my fault, I had excuses for every failure. When I started building a team, they copied my habits. I had a team of sharply dressed under achieving excuse makers who would constantly call out of work “sick”.
Then I got my act together and started to better myself. I took responsibility for a bad sales day, but sometimes it was the rains fault (I knocked on doors in every type of weather). I began answering questions for new sales reps, while asking my mentors for advice. My new team was decent. They came in to sell, but they weren’t good enough to add people to their teams and not good enough at selling to stay on the job.
After a LOOOONG 14 months, I turned a corner. There were no excuses, I was mentoring my growing team, I was a master salesman, and I led from the front. I was No Maintenance. When you’re starting your own business or in an upper level of management, being anything but No Maintenance puts you at a disadvantage (I can write a book on this). Thankfully I spent those invaluable months knocking on doors. It really set me up for success when I started MyBike and when Zach and I bought Viking Sports.
If you’re thinking about going out on your own, being a No Maintenance person will greatly improve your odds of not failing.