There are plenty of businesses in the world whose ultimate goal is to win at any cost. Whether the company is interacting with its employees, its customers, or its competition, some have an insatiable need to come out on top. What these business owners fail to realize is they are jeopardizing their long-term success for a short-term win. In the long run, your business must build loyalty with its employees and customers. You build loyalty by being consistently fair with everyone you encounter. No, treating your competition fairly will not make them loyal to you. But your employees and your customers are watching. And their loyalty is vital to your long-term success. So, don’t wait until the end of your life to realize that you should have treated people better. Be a person of integrity. Win at business while you win at life. And have no regrets.
Without effective and intentional communication, your team is nothing more than a group of employees. Communication is what binds the team together. It keeps the team heading in the same direction, marching to the beat of the same drum. You will never achieve your dreams and vision unless you communicate your dream and vision to the members of your team. Too many times, team leaders are unwilling to actively communicate with their team. Poor communication results in rumors, frustration, fear, anger, and distrust. Your team will not stay under these conditions. Your team will not go the extra mile for you under these conditions. Your team will only do the bare minimum to remain employed. Instead, overcommunicate. Show your team that you trust them. That you are willing to treat them as a team member instead of an employee. And watch your team strive to achieve your vision.
Everyone faces hardships in life. One of your team members may be dealing with a child suffering from cancer. They may be struggling to take care of a parent with dementia. They may be going through a divorce. Whatever it is, it will surely affect their work. When a member of your team is suffering, ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Ask the rest of your team how they would want to be treated. Because at the end of the day, you are still a team. And teams stick together. So, the parent with a sick child may need time off. Can others help cover the workload? Will you pay them after they have used up their vacation time? Decide what you can tolerate and be upfront with them. You will not regret going above your obligation as the team leader.
If you started a small business just so you can work for yourself, i.e. you refuse to work for someone else, you are setting yourself up for ruin. Starting a successful business requires you to dedicate an immense amount of time. You must stay focused and be resolute. This is impossible if you are not passionate about what you are doing. Before you start a business, be sure it is something you love. Your love for your business must be strong enough to push you through the bad days. Your passion must be strong enough to spread to your team so they can push through their bad days. If you can find this passion, you are never too young or too old to be an entrepreneur. Your passion will overcome any obstacle in your way. If you do not find this passion, your business will just be another job.
Everyone has moments of indecision. We all experience the paralysis that comes with tough decisions. More often than not, our paralysis comes from fear. We are afraid of making the wrong decision. We are afraid to face the consequences of our decision. We are afraid of the criticism we will face as a result of our decision. To be decisive, you must address your fears. Remember, nothing good comes from not making a decision. Sitting back and passively allowing others to decide your fate will never get you where you dream of going. If you are going to be successful, you must be willing to be decisive. You must act to succeed. You cannot become paralyzed by your fears. You have already decided to pursue your dreams. Now, accept today’s challenges. Do not put off action. Decide today to continue to pursue your dreams and built the life you want.
I often tell my clients success begets success. It’s like Jim Collins’ metaphor of the flywheel. It takes a lot of effort to get the flywheel moving. But once it starts, it keeps moving faster and easier. The problem successful people run into is believing that they can be successful in multiple industries. An entrepreneur starts a business and becomes very successful. So, they decide to start a new business in a completely different industry. And they do this while continuing to run their first business. Because in their heart of hearts, they know that their success is due solely to their business skills. Even if that is the case, the skills that brought on their success may not transfer to a new industry. Instead, stay focused on what brought on your success. Many other opportunities will come your way. Do not assume you will always hit a home run.
When reading this passage, I remembered the window and the mirror from Good to Great. Some leaders look through the window and see others to blame. Other leaders look in the mirror and only see themselves to blame. Which leaders at the most respected and get the best results? The ones who are looking in the mirror when something goes wrong. Whatever is wrong in your company, whatever is wrong in your relationships, whatever is wrong in your life is on you. No one else can keep you from making your dreams a reality. No one else can stand in your way. No one else can determine your future. You are the problem. But you are also the solution. You can become a better person. You can accept responsibility for what is wrong. You can grow. Because only you can choose who you are going to be in life.