Success In Business - Part Two
I have many times heard the same question asked in a myriad of ways. “How do you succeed in business?” Over four decades of working in diverse industry sectors with multinationals to sole traders, I would answer that this requires a multi-faceted response. There are so many sides to success (even the term success can be defined in many ways) that it would take several books to address the question in any depth. We are going to look at a few dimensions that I would argue are almost indispensable. Here is part two of two articles, to read part one click here.
In nearly thirty years of consulting to organisations at all levels I have yet to see an organisation that does not reflect the boss. If, as the boss, you are not happy with your business, there is a big chance that looking in the mirror will reveal the main culprit. So, how do we fix the problem with the boss? Simple in theory, but quite difficult in practice – change your behaviours. The simple truth is that fuss and bother of the daily grind saps our time and subsequently we are forced into making decisions that compromise the values we project. In short, the remedy is to create time to think.
The three “D”s of tasking
Do, ditch or delegate. In contrast to popular wisdom I have added a fourth – defer. Generally, this is enough to have most business and personal coaches retreat into apoplexy; but hear me out. Sometimes a worthwhile project appears but there is not enough time to implement it. Have a backburner list. If the project is still on the backburner list after six months – ditch it.
The four quadrants of prioritising
Quadrant 1 – Important and urgent. These should be the number one priority.
Quadrant 2 – Important not urgent. Number two priority
Quadrant 3 – Not important but urgent. These are the thieves of time and effectiveness. Our email inboxes and diaries are infested with matters of this nature.
Quadrant 4 – Neither important nor urgent. Why would you consider wasting time on these things?
Beware of false prophets
My industry (public accounting) has a whole ecosystem of these. I could easily substitute “parasites” for the word “ecosystem”. Typically, they trumpet a controversial subject with great confidence and use that to sell their wares. Inspect their offerings carefully and apply great examination as to why the conventional wisdom is not appropriate.
I have yet to see the perfect business. In fact, many operations that I respect greatly will tell you what they need to do rather than what they have achieved. Hint: it is a lot easier to improve ten things one percent than one thing ten percent.
Don’t employ family
You must have agreement with all stakeholders. The alternative is disagreement.
- Suppliers and creditors – term and conditions of trade.
- Co-owners – partnership, shareholders agreement or similar
- Employees – letter of engagement
Virtually all legal action in commerce will relate back to inadequacies in one or the other of the above.
Empowerment of staff
If you are not prepared to do this or you cannot create an environment where this is not only possible, but actively promoted I suggest you rethink your career. The notion that all wisdom and benefits will emanate from the leader is humorous.