By Jerry Cedicci, real estate developer & Robin Trehan, business consultant
Monday, 8th May 2006
I love the circus. It's teeming with energy and creativity. Everyone seems to enjoy their job from the hawkers selling tickets to the ladies riding the elephants.

And somehow, though the characters are the same and the animals are the same and the employees are the same, every year the circus is different and better than the year before. Shouldn't businesses be like that, and how can we learn a lesson from the circus?

The Ringmaster seems to be the focal point of the show. Everything revolves around him. He introduces the acts, he explains the history, he gives the hints of what's to come without giving away the show. He also is the one who orchestrates the whole affair. He makes sure the acts are out on time. He ensures that the safety gear is in place. He looks out for the safety of the audience, mitigates the risk, looks for the unseen and plans for the impossible. With all of the wild animals you rarely hear of anything bad happening at the circus, and the few times things have happened, the risk was mitigated and the damage slight.

People listen to him. He speaks with authority without being authoritarian. He commands respect without demanding it. He instills calm in the face of crisis, yet he exudes energy. When he speaks, everyone listens.

This is what the president of the company should be. He should set up his business model and then fine tune it until he uncovers what works. Then he builds on it. With each new enterprise, he starts with what works, then adds something new to stay competitive. He looks for new and innovative ideas.

If the business is a hotel, he looks to see what will make him stand out from others. Once established, he continues to work to offer his guests new and innovative services. He listens to what his guests like, what they don't like, and what they would like to see. Then he works to bring it to them. When he does, his reward is loyal clients who will return, who will recommend his hotel to others.  He will have clients who will tell others that this hotel chain is unsurpassable in good service, willing staff and a great vision of what is important to guests and what will meet their needs.

But the ringmaster can't do it alone. They are the hub of the wheel. What keeps the wheel rolling is the staff. Looking at the circus again, having a staff like the high wire act should be the goal of any businessman.

The high wire acts are usually the highlight of the circus. The graceful artists perform stunts that are death defying. They perform at times alone, with their fellow artists applauding their every move, encouraging them, lauding them, proud when they are finished, not jealous, and glad when they hear the applause of the crowd, or in the case of the hotel manager, the praise and gratitude of the guests.

They also perform as a team, each knowing their part, each executing it to the best of their ability, each member of the team moving as one, confident in the knowledge that they can depend on the others to do their part. 

This is what a manager should strive to achieve from their staff; team members that work as one. Duties that are performed flawlessly always with the ultimate goal of working to the best of their ability and most importantly, working to please the customer. A staff that works together, that knows what has to be done, when it has o be done, and working together to ensure that it is. Because after all, isn't that what world class service is all about? 

Robin C. Trehan is an industry consultant in the field of mergers and acquisitions. He can be reached at robin@tafunds.com

Jerry Cedicci is a renowned real estate developer in Chicago. He is associated with Beaux Arts Creations. www.bac.cc

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