A critical part of effective leadership and success means the understanding of including all stakeholders and total collaboration in your leadership model.
It’s that time of year again – many organizations have started diving into accomplishing their strategic business goals and objectives for 2021. Do you have a 2021 business vision?
In my years of experience as an entrepreneur, business owner, partner and CEO, I have come to realize that if you can learn to see opportunity, can innovate, and look past the “obvious,” you can achieve almost anything.
To me, a critical part of effective leadership and business success means understanding the importance of including all stakeholders and total collaboration in your leadership model.
Stakeholders are both internal to your company, some in higher levels of management, and often are suited best to contribute fresh ideas and perspectives, mainly because they are often the ones in the trenches and closer to the actual issue you might be addressing.
Unfortunately, when business decisions are made due to a lack of knowledge and failure to seek understanding and input from others, millions of dollars can be wasted. Sadly, these poor decisions, whether in the non-profit or for-profit arena, are not typically discovered for many years down the road, so the losses pile up needlessly.
With this in mind, I encourage leaders in this New Year to strive to gather more information and consult with others (who might know something they don’t) in every decision they make. Remember, you must be willing to meet with the people who do the work every day – and recognize that they are significant, valuable stakeholders who can help you craft smarter business decisions.
Everyday Success Is Possible When You Put Your Mind To It
At age 26, with no backing or funding, I was fortunate enough to build and run two companies successfully. I sold them to Fortune 500 companies before I was 47 years old. It was not until after selling these companies that my partner and I realized much of the ”why” in how well these businesses had operated.
One significant lesson I have learned: Every day, individuals just like you are learning, growing, thinking out-of-the-box, and succeeding in life and work. The key is knowing that you – and only you – can decide to be successful, develop better habits, practice self-discipline, and learn to see the opportunities that are in front of you, yet not discovered.
Here are some key pillars of success that I urge other leaders to consider, especially if you are looking to grow in your current profession or delve into a new one:
Always Use Empathy
How you treat your co-workers—both those above your current position as well as below—is a substantial reflection of your character and leadership traits. The more empathy and sincerity you apply to others, the more personal growth you will experience.
To clarify, it’s vital to understand that empathy is not the same as sympathy. Rather, it is making a sincere effort to understand another person. Try to imagine you are standing in their shoes and think through their current circumstances to better understand them. If you are not sincere in your actions and words, it will be evident to those around you, and cause you to be viewed as untrustworthy.
Foster Out-of-the-Box Thinking
Traditionally, creativity has been defined as a fusion between originality and functionality. In my experience, “out-of-the-box thinking” is a critical part of innovative problem-solving.
While having the ability to envision opportunity is a significant element of business success, the actual process of what you do with that information is the most critical factor that will help you stand out in the sea of competition.
Much of my success over the years has been reliance on my ability to view complex problems over the years that my teams, my partners, my clients, or myself had, and, then, creating unique, functional solutions for them.
Recognizing need and opportunity – and merging them with an innovative solution – has empowered me to achieve success with my teams and develop real change.
Make Better Decisions and Embrace Discipline
The decisions that you make every day can be made better the more that you learn. In fact, simply training yourself to ask “why” something is done a particular way is a great lesson in continuing your learning process, and can lead to discovery and greater knowledge.
Additionally, as you gain a better understanding of a specific topic or type of situation, you can realize more opportunities associated with it. Thus, you begin to make better decisions as to how you can affect change within that arena.
Also, taking the correct actions and committing to them with a strict discipline is a quality that differentiates many of the greatest leaders.
Some Closing Thoughts
Looking ahead, to succeed in business, you must look into what is seen, ask questions and think through the alternatives of doing something differently. You also must exercise your mind to seek greater knowledge and to understand the “why” behind devising a better alternative or process.
Everyone is faced with daily situations where we may or may not have our eyes wide open. We may be “looking at” something, but not really “seeing” what it is or why it is there.
But when you think through decisions carefully and thoughtfully, and seek input from others – especially those involved with the day-to-day work that the decision impacts – you can realize a whole new type of success.
The key is cultivating the right skills to think outside the box, striving to get input from others, especially those with different skills than you have, and, most importantly, always being available and willing to listen.
Kim Lorenz is an author, entrepreneur, and visionary who founded two companies starting at age 26 with zero backing, then sold both to Fortune 500 companies before he was 47. His expertise can be accessed through his most recent book, Tireless: Key Principles that Drive Success Beyond Business School (CLICK HERE to get your copy).
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