Five Business Lessons Every Leadership Team Needs to Learn (Part 1)

roller coasterRunning a business is a wild ride and there are a lot of surprises along the way. But I think the thing that surprises me most is that I have learned more about business and leadership in the last five years than I did in the previous 30 years. This is part one in a two-part series of the five most surprising things about business that leadership teams need to learn.

1) Business Is a Skill That Can Be Learned

We all know business people who have the Midas touch: “Everything he touches turns to gold.”  It’s easy to think someone like that is a natural-born business person, but I don’t think it’s true.

I am convinced that business is a skill that can be learned by anyone who wants to learn it, and that leaders are developed, not born. People with the Midas touch have simply mastered the science of business to such a degree that they can put their own personal stamp on it, and it becomes an art.

2) You’re Not a Real Leader Until You’ve Developed a Leader Who Can Develop a Leader

My fellow EOS Implementer Sue Hawkes showed me this truism at our last quarterly meeting. Leadership and management are not the same, and being a good manager of your direct reports is not enough. Ultimately, our job is to develop multiple layers of leadership inside our companies from top to bottom. We aren’t real leaders until we have a system in place that successfully develops new leaders at every level of the company.

3) Size Does NOT Matter

When it comes to what frustrates business owners and holds them back from reaching “the next level,” the same problems exist in every company, regardless of size. I’ve worked with 10-person companies and 1,000-person companies. I’ve worked with small business owners who think their challenges are unique because they’re small, and large business owners who think their challenges are unique because they’re large. But everyone I’ve worked with had the same problems: not enough good employees, not enough profit, not enough control, and not enough results from the endless problem-solving meetings and “quick fixes” they tried.

The basic challenges of running a business have always been the same, and so have the solutions.  Solving problems takes time, work, and dedication to see the process through completely. Those who commit themselves to it are the ones with the Midas touch. They have the lives we envy. We can have it, too, if we’ll stop waiting for a silver bullet to come along and put in the work it takes to implement real solutions.

At the beginning of a new year, it’s a good time to think about where you want to be when you reach the end of it. Do you want to end 2017 with the same problems you have now? Will you be OK with just surviving for another year, or are you going to commit to embracing the real solutions that will make your business thrive?

Next Steps

This article originally appeared on the DeWitt LLC blog on December 14, 2016.

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