I was watching a fight on TV (not on ‘Cops’, but a real fight with gloves and stuff) and noticed just how important the corner man is. Right from the start this guy was getting hammered with his opponent’s right hook. By the second round the announcers were commenting on it: ‘I hope this guy’s corner man is giving him the right advice. If not this fight is going to end in a knock-out’. Think about it. The fighter is in the middle of conflict - his skills are being challenged – someone is trying to punch him in the face – he has to be flexible and adapt – he is battling emotions – should he act or react? It’s a fight and both fighters want to win.
The one voice of reason should be your corner man. They are yelling instructions from the side and taking care of their fighter between rounds. The corner man has been there and done that and knows what you’re going through! He is close enough to the fire to feel the heat, but removed enough to keep some perspective. He has been through training with you; he knows your strengths and weaknesses. The corner man knows your strategy and can be THE advantage over the competition.
Let’s do our expected transition and talk about your advertising and marketing. If you run a business; then who you choose as your corner man is important. In the middle of payroll, time cards, inventory, payables, receivable, networking, pricing, and all the other responsibilities…who DO you listen to? Who is keeping you focused when you’re being pulled in 10 different directions?
When it comes to your corner man, here are the three worst things you can do:
1) Decide not to have someone. Nothing is worse than coming to your corner only to realize that you are in the fight alone. No advice, no instruction, no perspective! You’re taking blows in the middle of the round and you don’t have that one voice that rings out above all the others. So you just flip into survival mode. Not the best way to capture market share.
2) Have the wrong person. So you stagger back to your corner – you look at your corner man…nothing! They haven’t been paying attention OR worse yet…they are a ‘yes’ man. They don’t have the guts to tell you the truth. Surrounding yourself with ‘yes’ people is a great way to get knocked out. Fast!
3) Having the perfect person in your corner and not listening. How crazy is it to have the right person giving instruction and you not listen? Remember they can pick up on the opponent’s trends, gauge your reaction time and mindset during the fight…they have the perspective. Why have them at all if you are constantly going to ignore their instruction? Cut your payroll and go it alone (See mistake #1).
Your corner man should have your trust. Trust isn’t built just during the fight. It’s built during training…when mapping out your strategy. Is your marketing person helping train for the fight? Are they responsive? Do they have the media relationships and business connections to make things happen? Do they back up their suggestions with sound reasoning? Do they tell you the truth - no matter how hard it may be to say or hear?
My suggestion – if you don’t have someone, get someone. IF you have someone, make sure they are the right someone. If you get the right someone, let them do their job…listen and trust.
(It can be a corner man, corner woman or corner team…just make sure and have someone in your corner.)
(Clint Powell is owner of Connect Marketing, a full service advertising agency in Chattanooga. He is a graduate of Carson-Newman College. He has spent years in radio advertising sales and management, built and sold a billboard company and works on a contract basis with other ad agencies writing ad copy and helping formulate strategies. Clint has worked with hundreds of local and regional companies over the years and helped them develop advertising campaigns. He frequently leads marketing and advertising seminars and meetings for businesses and network groups. He believes that life is all about connections and spends his time connecting businesses and business owners to solutions. He sits on the board of Y-Cap (YMCA Community Action Program) and helps with several other non-profits. Clint currently resides in East Ridge with his wife and three children.)