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10 Salon & Spa Leadership Resolutions for 2018

January 1, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

salon spa resolutions

This begins my eleventh year of writing this Monday Morning Wake-Up.

The very first MMWU was on January 18, 2008 … this marks 119 continuous Monday Morning Wake-Ups.

As many of you know, 2017 was a tough year for me personally. On June 7th, I was out for a training ride on my brand new five-day old dream bike, preparing for what would have been my ninth MS Cape Cod Getaway Ride in a few weeks.

A minute after passing Strategies offices I was struck by a van that shot across the road into my path. Next thing I knew, I was being lifted into an ambulance. My left hip socket was fractured, three ribs in my upper back were fractured and my upper sternum crushed. I was in excruciating pain.

Yes, I did ask if my bike was okay. (I tried to wait but couldn’t help myself.) A few days later I found out that it died in the crash. If you ride a bike, you understand.

I had surgery on June 13th to fix my fractured hip socket with a plate and eight screws. Twenty days in the hospital and three months on crutches was an ordeal I never want to repeat.

December 18th, I had a checkup and X-Ray. The surgeon said he sees no issues whatsoever followed by, “Your only limitation is your strength and fear.” Grateful.

I’m sharing my accident story one last time because there were some personal lessons and profound insights that all MMWU readers need to know.

Here are my TOP 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2018:

Resolution #1 … Life is precious and short: Since the accident on June 7th, the one thought that stays with me is that a fraction of second difference in speed, I could have been in front of the van and killed. I wouldn’t have a tomorrow to do all those things I want to do. I wouldn’t see another sunrise or sunset. I wouldn’t see my wife, my son, daughter-in-law or my two grandchildren, and those closest to me, ever again. Squandering time and being stuck in your own day-to-day story isn’t what living life is all about. Got it? 

Resolution #2 … Cherish and protect those who cherish you: When the power fails, an electrical generator instantly kicks on and takes over — but only if you have one. I have been long blessed to be surrounded by a team of people that truly cherish and protect me and Strategies. At 5:30pm on June 7th, my power went out and my company’s generator (my team) kicked on. From the moment I got hit until my gradual return in September, Strategies didn’t skip a beat. My team was prepared and already knew how to work the controls of the company. People don’t step up and go above and beyond when their leader is unable to lead, just to get a paycheck. They step up and go above and beyond because they cherish and protect their leader as much as their leader cherishes and protects them. Doing “whatever it takes” is cultural and relationship based. It’s not something written in a manual. Got it?

Resolution #3 … You are stronger than you’ll ever know: I never experienced pain like I did from this accident. I had no choice but to deal with it, overcome it and fight my way back to health. It’s no different than when your company is at the bottom of the fiery pit of hell. You deal with it. You overcome it. You fight your way back. You do the tough stuff. The alternative is turning off life support and watching your company die. IMPORTANT: Had I not been cycling for ten years and in excellent physical condition for a 67 year old, my recovery would have been significantly longer. I wouldn’t be able to get back on my bike and do over 500 miles since October 1st. It’s not about finding your inner strength when the shit hits the fan — it’s about building your inner strength so you can deal with adversity. Got it?

Resolution #4 … Your vision should be bold enough to live on: Yes, I started Strategies with a bold vision to teach and coach salons and spas a better way to do business. Almost 25 years later, my vision has evolved into something much bigger than me. I never compromised my vision. I’ve been preaching it on every soapbox I could find. Many owners listened, did the work and got what a “better way to do business” is all about and told others. A select group of owners became Strategies Coaches multiplying the message on many soapboxes. Build your vision to live on, long after you’re gone. Got it?

Resolution #5 … Your vision belongs to those you share it with: A vision can only become significant and empowering when it’s shared with others at the deepest emotional levels. That’s the only way “ownership thinking” can manifest itself in people. While in the hospital, and the months that followed, I never worried about my company. My days were about pain management and figuring out how to get out of and back into bed on my own. Figuring out how to get up and down the many stairs in my home. My vision for Strategies was safe, protected and growing because it “belonged” to my team. There wasn’t one bad decision made in my absence. Got it?

Resolution #6 … The less you work “in it” the more you work “on it”: In recent years, I’ve been methodically stepping back from coaching, training and speaking. It’s not because I’m planning to retire any time soon, it’s because Strategies has grown to the point where my best contribution is writing content, getting the “voice of Strategies” on paper and coaching coaches. After 40+ years of being on the road speaking and coaching, I’ve had my fill of travel, crowded airports and hotels. I teach owners that their roles need to change as their companies grow. I’m simply living what I teach. It’s about building a company that can endure. Got it?

Resolution #7 … Never accept or tolerate mediocrity: In coaching, we listen to owners complain about employees, inconsistencies and performance challenges. Hey leaders — if it’s happening on your watch — why are you watching, accepting and tolerating mediocrity? Mediocrity means below average. Mediocrity creates drama and company dysfunction. Ongoing mediocrity is severely stressful for owners and employees. Mediocrity is measured by your critical numbers and documented on financial reports to tell a business horror story. Yes, you will rock your company’s boat when you stop accepting and tolerating mediocrity. If you’re not ready to rock your boat — stop complaining about what you don’t like. Got it?

Resolution #8 … You are as healthy as your Balance Sheet: Your Balance Sheet tells you what you own, what you owe and what your company is worth. You can’t fund a sick company by adding debt. You can’t grow a dynamic company without cash. You can’t sell a salon/spa for an amount worthy of the years it took to build it … if the Balance Sheet says it’s sick, insolvent, and debt burdened with a ton of negative equity. Your most important responsibility is to ensure a healthy Balance Sheet. Got it?

Resolution #9 … Build it to live on without you: The obvious thread that ties all ten of these resolutions together is that your company should not and cannot live and die with you. FACT: A company’s lifespan is far greater than any human being. Salons/spas that age with their owners are senselessly doomed. Strategies is not only my retirement, it is my legacy. It is also the future livelihood for my son, employees and coaches. Strategies is far more than “Neil.” Got it?

Resolution #10 … The journey to prosperity should give you life — Not consume it: It would have totally sucked if my life ended lying on the road next to my broken beautiful bike on that late June 7th afternoon. I worked my ass off my entire career and did so at great personal sacrifice. That’s what leaders and entrepreneurs do. I’m a little late in the game, but I’m working hard at finding balance — especially since the accident. Got it?

Here’s my challenge to you: Make 2018 the year of personal leadership growth. Pick the top two or three of these resolutions that truly resonate with you … and lock in on them. Work at them. Push yourself hard. It’s what great leaders do. No Compromise.

Happy New Year

Categories: Leadership

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  1. You are such an inspiration to me! I read your blogs and I think, “Wow this guy really understands exactly what I am going through” by being a salon/spa owner. It is truly amazing what you have overcome with your accident and you still continue to live every single day to the fullest and exert positive energy out to others as well! I would love to one day meet you at one of your seminars. Until then thank you for your wise words of wisdom and I will keep reading your inspirations. Emily

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