It’s the most vile word ever created. Younger folks have no problem saying it and the older generations steer clear of it like the plague.

This little word is the dirtiest, most offensive word in the kitchen and bath industry. It turns heads, creates negativity out of thin air and stops some dead in their tracks. I feel dirty even writing about it.


If you’re an owner, you’re desperate for it. But you may also be fearful to rock the boat and potentially cause a mutiny with your staff. Outside the four walls of your operation, increasing pressure is forcing kitchen and bath businesses nationwide to finally pull the trigger and much needed changes in how they operate. This includes marketing, sales, operations, accounting – virtually every aspect of their operation.

But inside your four walls, it can feel downright scary to make the changes you know in your heart you need to make to remain successful.

Some Field Notes

I keep detailed notes on my conversations with industry professionals. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here’s a recap of the top 7 concerns dealer owners have with rocking the boat right now. I’ve also included my rebuttal to each of these points to help you realize that rocking the boat now isn’t as bad as you might imagine. In fact, your employees may welcome it.

  1. My best people will quit. Jobs still aren’t booming at the moment and employees aren’t really always interested in jumping ship at a moment’s notice. It is true that your best employees usually leave first, but the reason they leave has more to do with environments where they feel they can’t win. Holding back on much needed improvements to streamline your operation can actually encourage your best people to leave. Don’t let the whiners keep you from making progress. Your biggest whiners when changes are afoot are usually the people you need to let go (or should have let go already).
  2. I don’t have the time. You don’t have time most likely because you and your team are too busy wasting valuable hours being unproductive and inefficient. If your sales are down and you don’t have time now, how will your sales ever get better? You can’t create more time out of thin air – you have to streamline things to save time and then use that savings in time to generate more sales.
  3. I love system X but it lacks feature Y. If the overall value you get from making changes now is a net gain, who cares if a feature is missing? Trust me, a feature will always be missing. Ten years from now when Equilibrium (formerly Aurora) is packed with millions more lines of code, there will still be features missing. That’s because things are always changing – and that includes your expectations.
  4. I’m not ready until I find a system that does everything. Hey, sounds great – too bad it doesn’t exist. Sounds like a formula to avoid change forever. I want one vehicle without having to switch in and out of cars, city transit and planes. I guess I’ll just sit at home and never travel until they invent that.
  5. I need to drive more sales first. This one’s whacky and makes me laugh a little. If you’re having trouble driving sales now, and you don’t do anything different – isn’t that a formula for more low sales? You’re not waiting for the economy to get better are you? Don’t let jedi-mind-tricks reinforce your fear of change.
  6. I’ve been burned before. Try not to bring your dating horror stories from the past into today’s decision making. We’ve all had our hearts broken at some point along the way. Get over it.
  7. I have too much invested in my current system. I had too much invested in a pot once (okay, it was more than once) on the poker table at the Wynn in Vegas. But when my cards stopped working for me, I got out. Plowing good money after bad is a proven formula for disaster. And since time is money, plowing more wasted time into your current system is really just like investing more money into something that doesn’t work for you — only this time you’re actually burning that money.

Summing It All Up

In the end, once you dig through all the excuses, objections and resistance, we rarely find it’s the employees who won’t change. Yes, that’s right. I’m afraid it’s you: the owner, manager or executive running the show.

And some of you will go to great lengths to avoid the dreaded C-word.