I was recently asked to speak to a group of business folks about Entrepreneurial Success. We often think of entrepreneurs as being in the right place at the right time with the right big idea. So of course they will be successful! But as I prepared my remarks I realized that a key component of entrepreneurial success draws upon the success of others. By that I mean we observe what other successful people do; see to understand how they think and interact with people; and what kind of attitude they bring to the game every day. Over the years I have observed a number of incredibly intelligent and talented men and women. Many of these people have a number of things in common that I would like to share with you.
Each of them surrounded themselves with good people. Henry Ford said – “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” Building a cohesive team doesn’t mean everyone agrees all the time, in fact each team member will (and should) bring a different opinion to the group. The team feeds off of varying perspectives and the debate that ensues. As Ken Blanchard says “None of us is as smart as all of us.”
Clearly define where you are going and share that vision with everyone. For years I was in awe of Bert and his ability to “crystal ball” the company’s future. Did he spend hours doing historical analysis or reviewing business trends? Of course he is on top of those things, but in the end he simply envisioned the future he wanted for our company in clear and quantifiable terms which were easy to communicate. The vision itself is what is important. I have learned that lesson from Bert, one of the most successful people I know.
Stretch your people. We all have it in us to do our best, but sometimes we have to be encouraged. We’ve probably all had someone in our lives – a teacher, a coach, a mentor – who understood our potential and pushed us to use it! When we stop striving, we stop learning, which can be a roadblock to our own and our company’s success.
Finally, every one of the successful entrepreneurs I have known has constantly questioned everything. They seek input from sources outside their own industry and examine processes that would seem to have very little to do with their own company. Ask why? Ask why not? Change course when it’s the right thing to do, create a new niche, offer a new product. There is a saying – “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” I would offer that successful people not only embrace change, but see it as a means to explore new opportunities and continue their success.
I welcome your thoughts.