(Time to read this Blog is about 3.5 minutes)


Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:
    “One of the biggest killers in any business is a culture of ‘us and them’ between Departments, functions or Divisions.  Don’t let it happen in your business.  We’re all in the same boat.”
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. Quick Biz Tip: (From Harvey Schachter, Biz writer for the Globe & Mail)
    What Gen X and Z want in a job:
    Generation X (the Millennials), born between 1980 and 1994, are taking over and will continue to do so while Gen Z, born 1995 to 2012, are flooding into the workforce.
    They expect to be heard and their ideas valued.  They desire a job with meaning and purpose and yet most businesses have no clear Statement Of Purpose and don’t communicate why what they do as a business matters.
    When I was young, the boss said, “Jump” and you said, “How High?”  Today’s young people want to know ‘why’.
    Millennials and Gen Zers crave attention and are highly receptive to positive coaching, but unlike previous generations, they don’t see it as coming from one person. You need to help them get multiple mentors, including traditional older managers and peers.  They also expect it to be a two-way street, with them offering advice to their mentors.
  3. How I can be helpful in 2024:  If you have an industry or company Conference or Management Retreat coming up in 2024 where my bottom-line insights will be helpful, perhaps we should chat.
    Simply put, I help businesses to…
    1. Create compelling customer value and experiences that give them a clear competitive advantage. Every industry and every market is over-served and under-differentiated …and they need to address that reality.
    2. Market & promote more effectively in a crowded and cynical marketplace.  There’s no point being the best if you’re also the best kept secret.
    3. Attract, coach, lead and retain a dedicated and top-performing team.The real battle in business today is the battle to attract and retain talent.
    4. Develop a culture of clarity, commitment, urgency and accountability.
    5. Manage smarter and improve long-term profitability.
    6. Create a clear direction for the future of their business…and a specific Action Plan to get there.
    7. Deal with Partnership or Family Business issues that are hurting the business and straining relationships.

I’m easy to find at donald@donaldcooper.com.

  1. The huge economic impact of events in your community. It’s estimated that the economic impact of the January 14th  NFL Detroit playoff game against the LA Rams put $52 million into the economy of hometown Detroit…in just one weekend.

    What events, festivals, tournaments or experiences can you make happen in your community that will attract visitors and their wallets?  I have an excellent program on ‘Partnering for Prosperity’  that’s transformational for communities and Regions wanting to grow their Tourism business.     

  2. Cranky Corner:
    A No Frills grocery store manager in Alberta, Canada told Linda Rolston, a cancer survivor with mobility issues, that she would have to shop somewhere else because she was too slow in packing her own groceries at the check-out. They banned a disabled customer from their grocery store.  What were they thinking?  What were they feeling?  Whatever happened to ‘simple acts of kindness’?       
    When Ms. Rolston complained to the company’s Head Office, they offered her a measly $100 in compensation on the condition that she sign a Release promising not take action against the company, or speak out about the incident.  She turned down the offer and now TV news and social media, nationally and internationally, have picked up on this stunning lack of compassion.  So, now we officially have a new definition of ‘mean, cheap and stupid’. 


Now, to this week’s important topic:


What or who do you need to ‘let go of’ to make 2024 your best year ever? 

A few years ago, I did some work with a large trucking company that now leads its industry in customer satisfaction, management smarts and profitability.  But it wasn’t always that way.

Several years ago, they were doing $95 million in sales and losing $12 million.  That’s not an easy thing to do.   You have to work overtime to lose $12 million on sales of $95 million. 

So, how did they turn the business around?  How did they go from ‘bleeder’ to ‘leader?   First, they hired the best people in the industry at every level of their organization and invited poor performers to ‘move on’. 

Next, they developed clarity about who they were and what they could do well and profitability.  Then, they analyzed every customer for sales volume, profitability and potential.  What they found was that many customers were hugely unprofitable…and

they politely ‘fired’ them.  Over time, they replaced those unprofitable customers with profitable, growing accounts.

At the same time, they analyzed which routes and services were profitable, and which were not.  They immediately dropped anything that was losing money that couldn’t be turned around.  Next, they consolidated and streamlined their terminals across the country to create world-class operating efficiency, reduce overhead and improve customer service.

In short, they had the wisdom and courage to put together a world-class Team and then to  ‘lose’ the customers, the products and services, the physical facilities and the people who were not making them money.  They did all of that with dignity and class…but they did it!  And now they’re four times the size with a bottom line to be proud of.

Managing any business or department involves making tough decisions.  Some of the toughest are about what and who to ‘let go of’.  So, what and who do you need to ‘let go of’ to make 2024 your best year ever?   The list could include…

  • Products or services that are out-of-date, losing you money or hurting your brand.  Fix them, or pitch them.
  • Customers that are not making you money, taking too much of your time, or are disrupting your business.
  • Suppliers who keep letting you down, making you look bad to your customers or hurting your operational efficiency.  Give them a maximum of 3 months to get their act together and, if they don’t, find another supplier.
  • Branches or locations that no longer make sense…or never did. Shut them down.  Just make sure you treat the staff who work there honestly, respectfully and fairly.
  • Employees who are toxic or non-productive.  If you can’t ‘fix’ them, invite them to make an alternate career decision.  Not everyone is rescuable.
  • Policies that make you look uncaring or unreasonable, or that tick good customers off and drive them away.
  • Negative attitudes or incorrect assumptions about people, places or things that may be closing your mind, hardening your heart and hurting your business. Is your business being held back by negative attitudes about yourself?  Do you have the courage to ask what you’re worth or are you sabotaging your bottom line by under-charging, or endless discounting?
    Sometimes the thing we most need to lose in our business is our own reluctance to charge enough for what we sell.  In both our business and our personal lives, nobody will ever think you’re worth more than we do.  Funny how that works.
  • Maybe you need to let go of your entire business model. Perhaps you need to rethink what you do, for whom you do it, where you do it, or how you do it.  If your business model is fundamentally out-of-date, no longer relevant or no longer profitable, fine-tuning and fiddling it won’t solve the problem.  It needs a total rethink.

So, what do you need to ‘let go of’ in your business and your life to make 2024 your best year ever?   What are the tough but necessary decisions that you’ve been putting off?  What needs to be done, who will do it, by when and measured how? 


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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