month’s newsletter has two related topics. The first is “What Would I Do
Differently in a New Business." The input for this topic came from multiple
successful business owners. Although the title is new business, everything
applies to existing businesses, because the topic is really about getting back
to basics. The second is “What Great Leaders Do.” The input for this
is from multiple studies on successful leaders. Very similar to Do Differently,
this topic makes the point that great leaders focus their business direction and
are focused at managing all aspects of the business.
What Would I Do
Differently in a New Business?
I would have avoided my involvement in every sale.
I have no doubt, if I had things to do over again, I would have created more
automated and group-centric sources of income from the very start. This
means find ways to “make money while I sleep.” It means leveraging my sales
force so that each of their efforts generates multiple sales and I minimize
I would have found a balance between creating
content around “my voice” and “guest voices.” This means trading my
involvement for work done by my staff, vendors and customers. It means
leveraging the talent of others freeing me to work on the
business rather than in the business.
I would have set some boundaries for myself and my
business. This means finding my “sweet spot” and focusing on it. It also
means focus on less than a handful of items and avoid three pages of goals,
objectives, to-dos, products, services, etc.
I would have worried more about passion than profit
(knowing now that the money will follow). This means focus on a skilled and
capable staff, quality products and services, the best customer service and
support, and industry competitiveness. Doing these things will
differentiate me in the marketplace, build customer allegiance and drive my
long term profits.
I would get specific. When I set a goal, I will be
as specific as possible. "Lose 5 pounds" is a better goal than "lose some
weight." Also, I would avoid goals with wimpy words like “try,” “should,”
eliminate the wrong things. – The true price of anything I do is the
amount of time I exchange for it. There are more demands on my time than
there are hours in a day. This means that the only way to be effective in a
normal work day is to avoid things I really don’t need to do.
What Great Leaders
maintain a realistic picture. That means that they have a realistic
picture of themselves and of their organizations. They don’t try to
accomplish things that are beyond the ability of themselves or their
employees. They don’t ignore their experience and they drive decisions with
a dose of wisdom.
think of people before strategy. If you have great people, you can
execute all kinds of strategies and changes in strategy. But strategy
without great people is the formula for disaster.
rehearse mentally. They imagine what things are likely to happen. They
play "what if?" They don’t only think of what good will come from a
decision, they also think about what hurdles will have to be overcome or
what roadblocks may exist. They know that cost vs. benefit is always part
of choosing the right direction.
work hard to assure understanding. They aggressively follow up to
assure understanding. They actively pursue feedback to validate
understanding. They take time to stop what they are doing and have
conversations with detailed content.
manage with consequences of performance. You cannot manage people's
behavior, you can manage the consequences that come from their behavior, and
that's what great leaders do. They motivate and lead through the use of
both positive and negative consequences. They recognize good performance
publicly and provide private coaching when performance is not as expected.
They take every opportunity to
communicate their key message. They work to get their key message down
to something that's short and memorable. Then, they take every opportunity
to communicate it. They communicate it exactly the same way with the same
words every time. They don’t leave any room for lack of understanding.
When you put “What Would I Do
Differently in a New Business” together with “What Great Leaders Do” You get a
very important bottom line picture. Business success is not measured by revenue
or profit alone, it’s the result of leadership who focus on all aspects of the
business – every day.