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Chamber speaker tells business owners: Give up whats good in search of something better in 2017
I-Chamber Luncheon Scott pic
Author and entrepreneur Kevin Scott addressed members of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 12 with a speech that centered on key exchanges business owners can make to help their businesses succeed. - photo by Allie Dean Dawson County News

"People are passionate about resolutions: either they love them or they hate them. They want to talk about how terrible they are, or say they aren't making resolutions they're making goals, and some don't want to do any of that. I don't want to talk about any of those: I want to talk about some good things this year that we've got to be willing to give up to do things that are even better."

Those words belong to Kevin Scott, an author, entrepreneur and business builder who spoke to Dawson County Chamber of Commerce members at their monthly luncheon last week.

Scott's talk centered on several key stories and points that he wrote about in his first book "8 Essential Exchanges: What you have to give up to go up."

He focused on three key exchanges that could help any leader, any organization or any business thrive in the new year.

Exchange number one is exchanging stability with significance.

"I think this is really important as we look out on a new year," Scott said. "We all need a certain level of stability. The problem is when the pursuit of stability is so strong and the gravitational pull is so much that it stands in the way of us making a decision that will lead to true significance. What I find is, the more mature a business is, the less likely you are to give up the stability in pursuit of significance. When you look at the 40th anniversary of the chamber of commerce, that's going to be a challenge."

The second exchange is expediency for excellence.

"Doing things quickly is not bad, I think a lot of times we wished some people who worked with us had a little more initiative," Scott said. "But when we are so obsessed when getting them done quickly, a lot of the times it gets in the way of them being done well."

Scott told a story of Chick-fil-A in the late 90s coming up against a competitor. The owner, Truett Cathy, asked his executive members to come up with ways that the company could grow to overtake their competition.
According to Scott, they threw out ideas during a meeting about taking on more debt to grow more quickly, or lowering standards, and eventually Cathy banged his fist on the table.

"You all are missing the point," Scott paraphrased Cathy's words. "We don't need to worry about getting bigger; we need to worry about getting better. If we get better, our customers will demand that we get bigger."

The competitor eventually filed for bankruptcy, and Chick-fil-A hit a billion dollars in revenue.
"If you'll be committed to excellence it will lead to real success in your business, I believe that," Scott said.

The third and final exchange was exchanging fans for friends.

Scott said that though he isn't against trying to gain an active audience on social media, the issue for businesses isn't having a larger network but about investing in key relationships.

"My encouragement would be to get plugged into the chamber, get plugged in to things where you can have a larger network, but then make an effort to invest in some key relationships," Scott said. "Most of your success is not going to come because you know 50 more people, it will come because of real connections with a few. "

According to Scott, 71 percent of workers are disengaged. The way to get workers to tune back in is to become good at valuing results as well as relationships, and doing that in such a tension that your employees and coworkers feel respected as well as accountable.

"To do that well, we must acknowledge we have a bias for one or the other," Scott said. "If this year you want to see unbelievable success in your relationships with coworkers and interacting with people, acknowledge you have a bias, whether you're geared toward results or relationships, and actively compensate for it."

If business leaders follow that guideline, Scott said they and their employees will be much more engaged at work and the fans vs. friends issue will be resolved.

"People don't think less of you when you acknowledge a deficiency- they think more," Scott said. "If you do that, you'll build those key relationships where people are willing to do a whole lot more to help make sure your organization is successful, and that is true both internally and externally as you make connections at places like the chamber."

Scott has spoken to leaders on six continents from more than 100 countries and has written two books. He co-founded ADDO Worldwide and the ADDO Institute while he was in school at the University of Georgia. The institute received the Governor's International Award for New Company of the Year in the state of Georgia.

Scott served on a presidential campaign team and for a representative for a United States Congressman, and has been featured on CNBC, Fox News, The New York Times and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others.