Riding For The Brand

 “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what YOU believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat and tears.” Simon Sinek

I have a great deal of appreciation for those hardy souls that we know of as “Frontiersman” or “Pioneers” particularly the ones that opened the American West. This is the stock that I am proud to say I descended from. My grandfather lived in a dugout on the side of a creek in south central Kansas as a child. It took a lot of hard work; hard living conditions; incredible fortitude and spirit to endure what they had to endure to create the freedom that the West represented. In my mind our pioneering forefathers were some of the first entrepreneurs. They had a dream and worked hard to achieve it, and if you study this period in time there are many lessons that can be applied to current business conditions.

One of those lessons that I often refer to with my business coaching clients is a powerful lesson in team building. Not necessarily getting people to work together, but building a team of employees, managers and leadership that work with you and your business because they WANT to work with you and your business. Case in point…during the days of the huge cattle drives from Texas to shipping depots in Kansas; each ranch had their own form of recognition, known as their “brand”. That brand was literally burned on the hide of each head of cattle in order to distinguish it as part of that particular herd. The cowboys tending the cattle drive would be known then as to “Ride for the Brand”. Rain or shine, blizzard or unbearable heat, day in day out the cowboys would work for usually around $15 a month. The cowboys worked incredible conditions for low pay but they believed in the ranch owner and his brand. And, sometimes would die for that brand.

In today’s market the “brand” is your business.  So the question is, “who in your business, from the top level executives to the guys in the yard, are working for a pay check or riding for the brand?” This is a question that I believe is essential for every manager or business owner to ask themselves on a consistent basis. You must routinely evaluate each and every staff member using this question as a base. Business today is tough, it’s challenging and as an owner or manager you had better KNOW that you have a team together that “has your back”, a team that is riding for the brand!

Another way to put this question is to ask yourself, if your competition called and said they were coming over to have it out once and for all with a rumble in the street. So you go out, draw a line in the sand and say,”Alright team, who’s with me?” Who would line up with you for the street fight? Would anyone line up with you for the fight? You had better know the answer. In business terms, the answer could mean the difference in your business’ success both now and in the future.

When posed this question recently, one of my clients discovered that few if any of their managers would likely line up with them. The realization was devastating. The answer was that their team simply had gotten lazy. Things had been good and everyone had apparently become satisfied. The end result was that two of the key players in their executive team were replaced.  Things changed overnight!

So be very aware that these two questions may be the difference between surviving and thriving in 2012:

  1. Who on my team is working for a pay check? Who is just getting by? Who is just showing up for work and going home? When you know the answer to this you at least will know what to expect and where planning for the future should be focused.
  2. Who on my team is “riding for the brand”? Who really enjoys their work and working here specifically because they love their job? Who will go to battle with me when we need to do so? When you know this answer you’ll know what moves might be appropriate for you to make in order to reach your goals and vision for this year and the future. Changes might need to be made!

The honest answer may surprise you.  But understand this…to even have a chance at the future you must know the answer!

Of course if you need some help doing this, call me. I specialize in helping people just like you find answers just like these.


As always, BE GREAT

Coach Dan

Leave a Comment