What are you committed to achieving as a business owner or leader? In order to create and perpetuate business success, the words you must pay close attention to are commitment and achievement. I want to share with you the 5 key commitments business owners must make to achieve perpetual business success. All great achievements start with commitment. In Star Wars Episode V, Yoda affectionately put it this way, “Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.” Commitment is not just trying but rather doing, learning from what doesn’t work and doing something different until you achieve the desired outcome.
So as you consider these 5 essential commitments, remember each requires persistence, resilience and an intense focus on that which you want to achieve. With the first being most essential, here they are:
- Commit to constant and never ending improvement…change.
- Commit to a compelling vision for your business.
- Commit to creating a peak performing team.
- Commit to making raving fans of your target market.
- Commit to execution excellence.
Well-known business consultant and author Marshall Goldsmith put it in his book title, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” Business owners and leaders must be willing to take a fresh look at themselves and their businesses with an open mind for change. This, as Goldsmith argues, is one of the greatest obstacles preventing leaders and their businesses from reaching new levels of success and prosperity.
New business owners and leaders are all about change. They don’t know what they don’t know and consequently are eager to invite new perspectives in order to succeed. Those with more experience and past accomplishments however, are at greater risk because they tend to overestimate their contributions and have an elevated opinion of themselves. The human psyche is predisposed to fall into repetitive patterns of unconsciously thinking the past equals the future.
The point I’m making is simply simple. Regardless of whether you’re starting out or have several decades of experience running your business, in order to perpetuate business success you must be committed to constant improvement and change with changing times and circumstances. Without this, you will likely be stuck in mediocrity with slow or no growth. At worst, you fall into decline with only memories of how it once was or could have been.
There are many reasons individuals go into business for themselves. Some do it for freedom, to do as and when they please. Others feel they should be enriching themselves rather than “the man” who’s making all the money from their hard work. Many decide to start their business with some innovative ideas, convinced they can do it better. Still others just want to feel they “own” their own security of employment and hopefully an asset for transition to the next thing, whatever it might be. Yet as good as they may sound, none of them are likely to provide long term strategic direction for the company or create the emotional leverage needed to be inspired or inspire others to commit through thick and thin. Consequently, business owners absolutely must discover a vision which energizes and aligns everyone involved. This is the central focus of the organization, giving meaning, purpose and cohesion for everyone in the face of inevitable challenges and endless distractions.
A compelling vision for the company is a huge attraction for the most vital asset of the company, its people. A business is only as good as those running it from the top down and their commitment to the vision based on what it means to them personally. So it’s clear why the vision is so essential for hiring the right people. The more they “get it” and “internalize it”, the more they’ll be committed to personal excellence in order to do their part towards achieving it. With the right people committed to the vision and in the right “seats on the bus”, there’s minimal risk and tremendous return for investing in their performance through compensation, benefits, training and development. This positive cycle continues as employees of the company feel a part of something bigger than themselves, with purpose, developing their potential, gaining dignity and being rewarded to ultimately form a high performance culture.
You and your people require oxygen to live and your clients, those who pay for the products and services your business offers, figuratively represent that oxygen. In order to maintain sufficient oxygen levels, you must retain and expand your customer base through an ongoing commitment to meet the unmet needs of your target clients or meet them in innovative ways through your products and services. Obsessive focus on those you serve will empower you to retain raving fan clients, maintain a unique value proposition and perpetuate an attractive brand promise to attract more.
As valuable as your clients are, this and all of the other commitments are dead on arrival without the fifth, a commitment to execution excellence. It’s like having valuable freight without a train to move it. Mobilizing people to turn a vision into results requires four key steps in an iterative process at all levels:
Step 1: Focus on the most important goals and objectives. Business leaders must establish SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time bound) goals in order to focus resources on the most important results the company needs to achieve. Targeting the right goals is crucial for success.
Step 2: Focus on what will be most effective in reaching the goals. The question to ask yourself is, “what critical activities, if done well, will have the greatest impact on achieving our goals?”
Step 3: Keep score by measuring results. The facts reveal what’s working and what’s not in order to adjust activities. Without tracking results, there is no feedback loop for course correction or measure of achievement to motivate. In other words, there is no basis for accountability
Step 4: Establish a cadence of accountability through your business. Accountability is crucial for sustaining success and continuous improvement. Because this step requires all four prior steps and skilled communication, it is often the weakest part of execution in most businesses.
Look back at each of these five commitments and ask yourself, am I truly committed to these critical practices or am I avoiding responsibility, making excuses or just trying? As I stated at the start, it begins and ends with business leadership. If we can’t be real and honest with ourselves, why should anyone trust us to lead them?
Reassess your commitment levels. Decide today to recommit to your business, look at it with fresh eyes and a different perspective. Question everything and be open to anything in pursuit of the right goals and most effective actions to achieve them. No matter how successful you’ve been in the past, recommit and be amazed by how much more you can still achieve!
For more on this and other ways to grow your business, visit us at www.roicoachingsolutions.com.
“This content was originally published in NAFA Annuity Outlook magazine (AnnuityOutlookMagazine.com) and is reprinted with permission.”