My life has been delightful thanks in no small part to the various business endeavors I’ve been a part of. In the two businesses that I’ve owned where I’ve had employees, one crucial lesson I learned early and learned often was this: “The buck stops with me.” When a situation arises and a customer is not served the right way or on time, the buck stops with me.
I can tell you from experience that your customers and clients don’t want to hear excuses. They don’t want to hear you blame anyone else. They don’t want a long winded explanation about why you didn’t fulfill your commitment. They want to hear how you’re going to fix the problem and how you intend on making sure it doesn’t happen in the future. “The buck stops with me.”
Sometimes it may feel like you’re lying when you say that to a customer or client. You know that you didn’t personally cause the delay or make the error that led to the issue. You know exactly who is to blame. But you should never throw your employees under the bus. As the business owner, it’s ultimately your responsibility.
I remember an incident with our biggest customer, Halliburton, where we did not deliver on time. They decided to send their representative to our plant to try to fix the recurring problems. After that meeting, I sat down with those responsible and came up with a plan to fix the issue. Then we typed it up and we all put our signature on it. I emailed that to the Halliburton representative, not to show them who was to blame, but to show them that the buck stops with me and we’re taking steps to fix the issues.
Whether it’s an issue with quality assurance, delivering on promises, or paying your bills, if you’re the owner get used to this phrase: “The buck stops with me.” There will likely come a time when you have bills due and you’ve got more money going out than coming in. In those situations, the buck stops with you and you’ll have to step up to the plate, take the phone calls, and make arrangements about extending the due date or writing out the check. However you cut it, if you are the owner the buck stops with you.
To hear the full 7 Minute Lesson, click <here>.
To read a transcript of the full 7 Minute Lesson, click <here>.