Looking back on over 1,000 sessions and nearly 10,000 hours of hands-on work with entrepreneurial leadership teams, I have observed and learned some great business lessons that will help you and your leadership team.
I hope these lessons will serve as constants for you as you build a great business, and give you insight, something to aim for, peace of mind, a wake-up call, and a few “aha” moments.
It’s all about healthy relationships
My most effective clients are those with healthy leadership teams. They have strong relationships and connections with each other. While that sounds soft and maybe obvious, I’m now convinced of it. “Healthy” means “less effort” and “faster results”.
Book by Stephen Covey The speed of trust is technically the best way to describe this phenomenon. Patrick Lencioni’s book The 5 dysfunctions of a team is still the easiest. Are you proud that everyone on your leadership team sits across from you, and do you feel like he or she has your back?
On the way up, people do a lot of things right
But unfortunately they get many things wrong on the way down, and they do them before they realize they’re on the way down. The new book by Jim Collins How the mighty fall is a great read on the subject. As soon as you think you figure it out, you often lose your sharpness and start bad habits. Do you take your success for granted?
There is no easy business
Many think so. I haven’t seen one yet. The grass isn’t greener. Stop looking over the fence – it’s dangerous.
Most people would rather not solve their problems
It’s amazing how many problems get dusted off during problem solving. People would really rather ignore them and hope they go away. The irony is that by getting to the root and solving it, you save an incredible amount of time, pain, and suffering. Somebody has to be the power to call it out and go there. That someone is you!
Build a culture, not a company
I heard that statement about three years ago and it’s really obvious now. Leaders who constantly focus on their core values and make every decision based on them find that everything is that little bit easier. If you hire, fire, screen, reward, and recognize each person while walking the talk, the rest takes care of itself. You’ll have more fun, get more done, and have a culture, not a company.
It still comes back to the Six Key Components
Keep them strong and you will always be in the top rank. Our clients with strengths in the six key components have noticeably fewer problems, are healthier, make more money, have more balance, and gain much more traction in good times and bad. How strong are your Vision, People, Data, Problems, Process, and Traction components?
Slow down to go fast
The old adage is as true as ever. Leaders who take time off, work “on” business frequently, take breaks for clarity, and plan with their teams actually grow faster and achieve more than those who work 7 days a week, morning to night. I observe that they are often more creative, solve problems better and solve them faster. When was the last time you took a clarity break?
Leaders who are obsessed with delivering value to their customers have fewer problems
Those who are possessed stay ahead. Your company exists for the customer. The moment your business stops delivering value to customers, your problems will multiply. Every process, person, system, and service in your organization must be designed to solve a problem or meet a need from your customers. If you don’t know exactly what your customers love about you – and what they don’t – you’re missing the point.
Setting up and completing Quarterly Rocks and Weekly To-Dos will have the fastest impact on your business
This needs no further explanation. Of everything we do for clients, this gets the fastest results.
It’s important to stay on the same page
You’ll save time, money, and stress when you make a habit of staying on the same page with everyone in your life. The sessions I do when people aren’t on the same page take almost 50 percent more time to get the same result than a team that’s in sync. Are you on an equal footing with all your people?
Most executives are terrible time and project managers
It pains me to say this, but it’s scary and true. Most people have difficulty devising and executing a plan of attack for their rocks, special projects, and grand goals. Investing in training your employees how to handle projects and their time will yield many rewards. Finding an easy solution to this is going to be one of my priorities this year, by the way, now that I see what an epidemic it is.
Doing the right thing will get you ahead in the long run, if not always in the short term
It would make your head spin if you watched leadership teams figure out the easiest or quickest fix to a problem to move forward, and then watch them rehash it session after session. Observations keep showing that if they had chosen the right and best (albeit sometimes painful) solution, they would have saved a lot of time in the long run. Do you choose the To the right solution or the the easiest Solution?
The fear of doing something is always greater than actually doing it
This applies to everything. Do you let fear hold you back? Enter the danger. Do it! It will catapult you.
Okay, so it was 13 lessons. I tried to get them to 10. I hope they help.