Achieving the vision for your small business isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey
Most entrepreneurs and small business owners have a vision for what they want their company to become. But few understand how to effectively execute on that vision. They focus on the destination, when it’s really about the journey. Here are five critical ways for how to define and lead your team on that journey to be successful.
NY Times writer Adam Bryant interviewed Todd Rovak, CEO of CapGemini North America and Fahrenheit 212 in Bryant’s weekly column “Corner Office,” which I’ve quoted and used before.
Rovak provides some great insights for small business owners, especially as it relates to following your vision. I’ve taken some of his thoughts and added a few of my own to give you a bit of a roadmap for making your vision happen.
I’ve taken some of his thoughts and added a few of my own
Understand what will be required to make the vision happen – that will define the journey.It’s not enough to create a vision. If you don’t have, at least, some idea as to how you will make it happen, it’s simply a nice thought. And like any journey, there may be multiple ways to get there. Choose the one you think makes the most sense and plan for how to execute on that, but be ready to alter the journey (pivot) should they prove to be unworkable.
Lead by being responsible for your people’s success.Your company can’t succeed if your people don’t. In the Corner Office article, Rovak notes “as a manager you are responsible for the success of your people.” And people can’t succeed unless they feel valued and respected and you’ve created an environment of mutual trust. Make it about them and they will make it about you, the company and journey.
Lead by keeping your decisions clear, calm and credibleMaking decisions clear simply means thinking about how what you say might be interpreted. Be as specific as possible. As a leader staying calm in the middle of the storm is critical, but that’s different than bravado or pretending you have all the answers. Finally, it’s not credible to say everything is or is going to be fine, or to have your people believe that you have all the answers. Rather focus on where you’re going and why and what are still some of the unknowns. Then it stops being about your vision and becomes “the team’s journey.”
Hire for the journey; no “seat-fillers;” only contributors.Every member of the team should be expected to make a contribution. Hire on that basis. You’re not creating a club or a fraternity of like-minded individuals. You’re creating a culture that will enable your vision by completing a journey. Interview for the job, hire for the culture and the journey. Find people who will challenge each other…and you. The more diverse the views and backgrounds, the more interesting, enjoyable, and, of course, successful, the journey will be.
Mistakes (even by you) should be anticipated, embraced and teachable moments.And you know stuff happens. People will fail, including you, making poor decisions, based on limited data or previous experience, and cause some major issues. Mistakes should be anticipated, embraced that they will happen (although not encouraged) and should become teachable moments for all. And then it’s back on the journey, or, if necessary, provide the basis to modify the journey.
Creating a vision for your small business is the beginning. Executing on it is where the real action happens, the journey. And this is where real leadership takes place. And real success; leading your team on that journey to make your vision a reality.
"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!
Have you ever thought of your vision as a journey? Please share your thoughts in your comments. It can help another entrepreneur or small business owner.
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