Mark Richardson: Get your mojo back

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Those that have their mojo are making it happen and seeing some strong results.

October 07, 2011

About a year ago I was asked to give a keynote speech to the Alabama Home Builders Association.

The focus of my talk was to be wrapped around making some sense of what was happening in the industry and making an attempt to share what the future might look like. Having spoken to this group in the past they knew my message would probably be positive and forward thinking rather than a gloom and doom one.

When I arrived about an hour before my speech, I noticed in the program they had titled my speech “Getting Your Mojo Back.”

As you can imagine I was a little (to say the least) taken back but after a few minutes of reflection I realized that my message was not only appropriate to this subject but my talk also could be framed to make this a great experience for the audience.

While there have been significant changes over the last several years in consumer trends and behavior, the economic environment and the levels of stress in business, I believe how we deal with these has more to do with our success or failure than almost anything else.

The topic of mojo (while a slang term) is very relevant to this. Those that lost their mojo are depressed, struggling, and breathing out of a straw. Those that have their mojo are making it happen and seeing some strong results.

In opening the talk with the Alabama audience I asked, “How many of you know what mojo is?” Almost all the hands went up.

I then asked, “How many of you feel like you have lost or seen your mojo eroded over the last few years?” Now about 80 percent of the hands went up. I then tried to focus on the other 20 percent to see what they were doing to keep their mojo.

The following are some of the comments and suggestions but also should serve as a check list for you to take your own inventory.

Stop listening to all the bad news

We have all heard the phrase “misery loves company.”

The more you listen to the bad news (from the media, friends, etc.), the more your mojo vaporizes. One fellow said he unsubscribed to the newspaper and does not watch the evening news any more and he has seen double-digit growth in his business.

Work harder

I know this is not always popular but I have asked many, “How much harder is it out there now vs. five years ago?” Most say it is 30 to 50 percent harder.

My follow up question is then “Are you and your team working 30 to 50 percent harder?” Those that have their mojo intact are working very hard. They are making that one extra shot or putting in the extra hours. It is hard to lose your mojo if you are working though it and seeing some “wins.”

Know where you are heading

Those that have their mojo have the “prize” in their sights.

They may not know every twist and turn to get there but they know where they are heading. Their longer term goals are still intact and they are controlling their day, not just reacting to circumstances.

Just like the metaphor implies, if you know the destination (or at least the seashore vs. the mountains) then the road map to get there becomes clearer.

So while you can’t see or touch mojo, you know when you or someone has it. This mojo (or confidence or enthusiasm or belief) is not just a gift at your doorstep. It is a product of your mindset and your action. So while we cannot control all or many circumstances, we can control our day-to-day action. So get out there and get your mojo back!

Mark Richardson is co-chairman of Case Design Remodeling and the Case Institute of Remodeling. He is a member of the NAHB Remodeling Hall of Fame and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Richardson is the author of the best-selling book, “How Fit is Your Business,” and a forthcoming book, “Business Themes to Live By,” to be published next year.

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