The Action Component: How owners and operators bring Intelligent Action to life

Well, I feel comfortable saying that we have officially outdone ourselves.

We’ve laid down some serious knowledge over the course of this series. Knowledge that NO ONE else in the industry is sharing, I might add.

(I know because quite literally everyone we’ve spoken to recently tells us exactly that.)

I know because my brain hurts.

Does yours?

My brain also hurts each time we’ve delivered one of these assessments. It’s fairly insane the amount of information we’ve crammed into the recommendations and review calls.

But it’s a good pain. Very akin to the satisfaction you feel after a long day of hard labor, reveling in the soreness and fatigue. Uncomfortable, but oh so worth it.

You can handle it, right?

Pro breweries eat this stuff for breakfast.

I know you can too.

If you can’t…

Then please, make your exit now.

Because what’s the alternative?

So let’s get down to the gravy.

Act Without Hesitation

Hey friend, can you do me a favor?

If you thought this content was useful:

  1. Draft an email to chris@sbstandard.com and type the word “thanks.”
  2. Press send.

It’ll give (a) my ego a nice boost for the week and (b) you some practice taking action without hesitation.

GIF of Ross from the show Friends patting himself on the back

As lame as soliciting soliciting pats on the back may seem, did you sense any hesitation in my ask?

Nope.

Because the more brewery owners we speak to, the more I realize that:

  • We’ve done our homework.
  • What we’re delivering is way out ahead of the curve.
  • No one else, aside from the owners and operators themselves, is more invested in the success of the brewery than we are.

So I feel comfortable asking for your kudos.

Now, your turn.

Time to apply this same level of confidence to your decision making and start taking hesitation-free action.

You can do this with guts. Yes, I know I poo-pooed on guts last time… but belief is a powerful thing. And as risky as it is flying blind, sometimes it’s enough to pull you through.

You can do this through direct experience. Your numbers, your successes, your failures. Slow? Yes. Painful? Yes. Can it be done? Yes.

You can do this with outside help. An expert set of eyes. Someone who has been there, done that. Your network, your mentors, your advisors.

Whatever it is, take action.

No hesitation.

Say Little, Do Much

From Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday restates and old saying:

Say little, do much.

What this means in practice is…

The decision-making process requires talk.

But once the decision is made, talk is a hindrance.

Doing great work is a struggle. It’s draining, it’s demoralizing, it’s frightening – not always, but it can feel that way when we’re deep in the middle of it. We talk to fill the void and the uncertainty.

The more difficult the task, the more uncertain the outcome, the more costly talk will be and the further we run from actual accountability. It’s sapped us of the energy desperately needed to conquer what Steven Pressfield calls the “Resistance” – the hurdle that stands between us and creative expression. Success requires a full 100 percent of our effort and talk flitters part of that effort away before we can use it.

How many times have you sat in the back office with your co-founders going round and round on the same decision you thought was settled six months ago?

How many times have you caught yourself saying (but knowing you’re not really going to): “Once we do _____, then we’re going to do ______.”

How many times have you puffed up your stats in order to impress { INSERT CHILDHOOD AUTHORITY FIGURE }?

One owner we spoke to last week said something I found fascinating and oh, so true:

“I talk to other brewery owners about this stuff and yes, it’s helpful… but nobody really shares numbers and behind the scenes. Because everybody is doing great… until they’re not.

Lots of talk.

The action? Not so much.

The best part about the Brewery Benchmarks Assessment is that we deliver recommendations and next steps.

Crystal clear, concise, next steps that do not leave you wondering… talking… letting the years roll by, thinking about what could have been.

We arm you with tools to take back to the team.

And the confidence to act.

Say little, do much.

The Follow Through

This post struck a nerve last year.

Because it puts alllll the onus on ownership.

From Jocko in Extreme Ownership:

“Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”

At this point in our discussion, I think Jocko would also suggest the following:

  1. Kill off the talk. Plow forward. Lead through action and demonstrate to your team what success looks like.
  2. Be prepared to pivot. And sometimes pivot HARD. In military speak, this is the OODA Loop: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. In straight talk: shit ain’t gonna go down how you thought it would. Be ready to abandon your sacred cows. Be ready to set aside your assumptions. I can almost guarantee the BBA will uncover these. You need to be ready to act on them.
  3. Show up every day. Which also means avoiding the ownership fatigue and burnout that comes from a combination of (a) trying to do everything all at once, and (b) trying to do it all yourself. To the first point, the Greeks have an idiom, festina lente: make haste slowly. Activities should be performed with a proper balance of urgency and diligence. If tasks are overly rushed, mistakes are made, energy is wasted, long-term results are sacrificed.
  4. You can’t build big shit alone. That’s the solution to the second component of the burnout equation. Leadership fails when the leader is out of the game. As Pressfield says: “A PROFESSIONAL RECOGNIZES HER LIMITATIONS. She gets an agent, she gets a lawyer, she gets an accountant. She knows she can only be a professional at one thing. She brings in other pros and treats them with respect.” Pros bring in pros.

This is what we’re here to help you do.

The question is: Will you do it?

The Wrap Up

Let’s bring this one home.

With the pretty intense ground we’ve covered over course of this series, it’s hard to imagine what we might have left out:

  • An exploration into how brewery owners and operators make winning (and losing) decisions.
  • How to incorporate context into those decisions.
  • How to engineer good information and numbers, objectivity, discipline, and hard choices into your decision-making process.
  • A step-by-step walkthrough of our exact BBA assessment process (in which, by the way, there’s more insight than what breweries pay “consultants” FOR YEARS to uncover): context, finance, taproom/distro/ops, goals, leadership and vision.
  • A call to arms: our final push to act without hesitation, without unnecessary talk, and with follow through.

But there is one last thing… and it’s this:

“I’m not sure we’re ready to take advantage of this.”

It’s the final barrier.

The barrier that prevents an otherwise obvious move from happening. The barrier that we ultimately know is The Resistance keeping us from doing what we should. We all have this voice in our heads. It pulls us down.

Here is the counterbalance:

We believe in you.

I know you can do this.

We know you can do this.

In whatever form that takes, I urge you to give yourself, despite whatever you have going on, the permission to DO THIS.

If you decide to tap into us now to move the brewery forward, great. We specifically designed the Brewery Benchmarks Assessment to do all of the heavy lifting: speak with Tom, fill out a form, send over some files, show up to a meeting and discuss, leave with crystal clarity on what needs to happen and a prioritized list of recommendations to get the brewery on a profitable positive trajectory. Easy as that.

If you decide to interpret and leverage what we’ve given you independently, great. There is more than enough here for skilled operators to take and run with, all the way to the bank.

If you think we’re full of shit… well, great. More power to you. But for your own sake just close your browser already.

So.

Like I said at the outset of this series:

Regardless of whether you decide to work with us, this is information you need to have at your disposal.

I hope you’ve found it insightful and valuable.

All we ask in return is that you…

Do. Something. With it.

All the best.

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