You need to score to win at anything in life, and to score, you need to play offense! I don’t know what’s happened to the mindset of the average business leader these days. I’m well aware that they’re bombarded with lots of information, most of it negative about the state of the economy, our […]
Courage still matters in business and in life. Many of us avoid the difficult decisions or talk ourselves out of taking risks. We strive for comfort where only pain and discomfort exists. It’s better to bet on yourself and your business and accept the consequences then to live in someone else’s shadow or become another fish in the pond of mediocrity.
As we wind down another year, I thought it would be useful to share some best practices I have observed over the years by leaders who tend to end every year on a high note:
In small business settings once you get past the obvious knowledge and competency screens, success decisions are most often a matter of personal choice.
I’ve witnessed a disturbing trend lately amongst many entrepreneurs. They want to work the hours of a successful person without yet attaining actual business success. I think all this talk of work-life balance has people a bit confused. It you want to run a business that supports a flexible lifestyle, you can certainly choose working for yourself as an option, but financial success usually requires very hard work especially at the beginning. You can’t enjoy the experience of having climbed the mountain without having done the hard work to climb it in the first place. You can’t be all things to all people including yourself; you must make some tough choices about how you spend your time.
Here are a few basic truths abut business to help ensure your success: It all starts with simple math. The formula is pretty straightforward: Revenue – Expenses = Profit. You need to sell enough of something and price it properly so that it exceeds your costs of doing business. Knowingly taking work at a loss […]
There is a dark side to our competitive nature as individuals that often begrudges the success of others. I’m not sure why this and there are probably many psychological and neurological explanations. What I do know is that individual success is good for a community. In business this means more people get hired, employees have steady and stable incomes, more vendors get paid, tax revenues go up, charitable giving increases,and more discretionary dollars are spent on other things. The good news with entrepreneuers is that most of the fruits of their success stays local. We should root for as many people to be successful as possible.
It’s very important to celebrate your accomplishments! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day to day aspects of running an organization and forget why you are working so hard in the first place. Being in business can be a bumpy ride especially these past few years. However, if you’ve been in business for any prolonged period of time you must be doing something right. And, it’s important to recognize those events, milestones and people who helped you get here and increase your likelihood of continued success in the future.
How an organization makes decisions greatly affects whether or not it will have sustained levels of success. Any company can get lucky every once in awhile, but relying on ad hoc judgments is not a good strategy. One of the most important things a leader does is make decisions. He/she must also create a culture that knows how to make sound judgments without relying too much on any one individual. In essence, you want to foster an environment where you, your management team, and other key employees use decision making filters to increase the likelihood of making the right choices.
Business ownership has never been for the faint of heart. On-going change and adaptability is part of the success equation. Even when things go well there are problems you will have to navigate. As you grow, your company and you should be prepared to experience many if not all of the following issues:
Never settle for mediocrity in others or yourself. Greatness is a choice although sometimes it can also choose you. Far too many businesses limp along or merely survive rather than thrive. Far too many people are dissatisfied with the outcomes in their life. To achieve anything of significance requires passion, diligence, hard work, commitment and raising your expectations of what’s possible. As I watched Bruce Springsteen perform last night in front of a packed house for nearly 3 hours at age 62, I couldn’t help but think that besides his obvious talent, what still makes him great is that he cares so much, loves what he is doing and gives it everything he’s got.
If a leader isn’t properly motivated then it will eventually trickle down throughout the organization. We all look to our leaders for both inspiration and direction. Every organization has to maintain a certain edge in this regard and must continually fight complacency. It’s hard to stay on top. You must never accept the status quo or rest on your laurels. High performing leaders are never just going through the motions. They show up to work every day with a sense of purpose and responsibility to do what’s needed and what’s right. They don’t need other people or external factors to force them into action. They are self-motivated to build the best possible organization they can.
The most successful business owners I know are focused on building great companies and/or fulfilling an important mission instead of just making money. Financial success should be the end result not the driving force. This becomes especially apparent after the business experiences some level of economic success. Instead of becoming greedy and short term focused these leaders often double down and invest surplus resources in continuing to grow the business and its people. They genuinely appreciate the importance and responsibility of having a positive impact on others and adding real value to their marketplace.
There comes a time in every young baseball player’s career where he has to learn to hit a curve ball. It isn’t easy to learn this skill. With fastballs it’s just a matter of focus, timing and reflexes. Curve balls are often unpredictable and anticipating ball movement can be quite difficult. The same thing happens in business. At first you just need to pick up the fundamentals. Much of this knowledge is easily acquired and is just a matter of applying what you learn. With certain skills sets, practice will make perfect. However, as you become more successful and the stakes get higher, the level of complexity will tend to increase in a corresponding manner. It no longer becomes just about fundamentals.
am back from a week long business trip to theBahamasat the Atlantis Resort. It is a very impressive venue. I cannot imagine how much money was invested to create the experience. It literally is one of those rare “spare no expense” properties. There was a TV show you could watch that documented the attention to detail in the construction process and I was blown away by the vision and commitment of the main developer. You don’t get to stay in many places like this in your lifetime. In addition, I haven’t met many people as nice as the local Bahamians.
All the above being said, I was very disappointed by how poorly the operational side of the business was run.
There is no such thing as passive leadership. Leaders lead – it really is that simple. Instead of shying away from a challenge, leaders embrace it. When others are hesitant to take action, leaders step up and seize the initiative. Instead of folding under pressure, leaders thrive under the spotlight and find the harder parts of their job the most rewarding. Leaders intuitively know that everything important begins and ends with them, but the middle part is a team effort and they allow others to step up and share their individual and collective strengths as needed. The best leaders only say “I” when it involves shouldering the blame, but say “we” when it means sharing the credit.
Change for the sake of change is never advisable. All change should be rooted in some obvious reality that requires a shift in the status quo. When you have something that is working stick with it. This doesn’t mean you run it to the ground, but also doesn’t mean you abandon it too soon either. In general, there are usually more things that are right rather than wrong with an organization unless of course it’s a crisis situation. There should be many positives you can lean on and leverage for both short and long term benefit.
…the ultimate goal of any business should be to have high quality employees who are focused on providing value-added services to a loyal and growing client base in an efficient and profitable manner.
…if you prune a tree too much it will die. It also requires proper fertilization and conditions conducive to growth. The same thing outcome invariably happens to companies.
Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated. It’s basic human nature. Hard work, determination and skill should be recognized. It’s been proven by many studies that top performers in all walks of life like it when you keep score. It’s no so much to feed their ego but more about being transparent about results and progress. You can only move the bar if you know where it already exists. Moreover, our innate competitive nature likes to know how we are doing vis-à-vis our peers and colleagues.
Business is not war. As business leaders we aren’t engaged in a life or death struggle that requires us to win at all costs. We do a disservice to our fellow citizens who are actually engaged in multiple military conflicts to speak or think in this manner. Failure may be painful but it isn’t fatal for us or for our employees. What matters is that we do our best regardless of the circumstances and hold on to our integrity. Our competitors aren’t the enemy, but instead are other companies that exist to keep us honest and force us to keep delivering value to our customers and make wise financial decisions.