I just spent a great weekend in Dallas at a business convention. (Got back with no flat tires, thank you very much.) It wasn’t your usual “Rah Rah” thing, which made me very happy. At least two thirds of the time was spent on personal development and leadership, and the rest was, oh yeah, the product and compensation plan, etc.
But the speaker who really got me going was David Byrd. He’s got a long history of leadership coaching, and he spoke on the 9 keys to sustainable business success. So, I’m totally ripping off his ideas, er, um, sharing my notes with you, because his presentation was amazing. I’ll share the others in future posts – almost as good as being there!
In a nutshell, here are the 9 keys:
- Commit to a system
- Make effective choices
- Overcome and master discouragement
- Think proactively
- Practice humility
- Multiply what works and do more of it
- Focus on what matters most
- Invest wisely, but never invest your ego
- Dream big
So, let’s look at these.
1. Commit to a system
Having a system to follow when your business is small will serve you when your business grows. Using a business and personal management system is something that is duplicatable throughout your growing organization. Using a system is really the only way to duplicate and leverage your efforts. The wheel has already been invented, so why do you think you can invent a rounder one?
2. Make effective choices
A choice is nothing more than a dichotomy. The choices you make every day either serve your growth or your decline – there is no middle ground. The most effective choices are related to your dreams and goals. Very simply, if your goal is to reach the next level in the business, the most effective choice would be to make more phone calls. The least effective choice is to tell yourself that you’ll make them tomorrow, and instead you clean out your e-mails. Yes, you can be efficient, but it’s much better to be effective. Remember too that it’s just as easy to make the wrong choice as the right one, and the trick is to know the difference.
3. Overcome and master discouragement
You have to give yourself permission to fail because it’s the only way you will learn. And, you have to learn to lose without being defeated. Remember that discouragement is only a feeling about a circumstance. You have to get through it and get back on the horse, and the only way to do that is to forget about what you can’t do; find what you can do and move forward. I’ve been through this and I know how hard it is, but it was only when I heard this presentation that I realized how easy it would have been to pick myself back up. Being a successful entrepreneur is all about getting up only one more time than you’ve been beaten down.
4. Think proactively
A positive, empowering attitude is a byproduct of proactive thinking. What you can’t do is irrelevant, and you need to ask yourself, “What can I do right now to affect my reality?” Too many people allow circumstances to dictate their lives instead of feeling empowered. After all, it’s human nature to rationalize – it’s the instinctive thing to do. You need to go against instinct here and think in a new way.
5. Practice humility
This is hard for a lot of people – it’s hard for me sometimes too. But you have to tell yourself that there is always something you don’t know. Stay a student and be open to new things, new ideas. Not least, be open to following directions. Too many people think they can do it better – see No. 1.
6. Multiply what works and do more of it
The most useless commodity in the world is a forgotten life lesson, so learn from your mistakes and use that knowledge to move forward. Then, be effective, not efficient. (Sound familiar?) Effectiveness is the process of multiplying what works, abandoning what doesn’t, and knowing the difference. Byrd is a huge fan of Peter Drucker, a Austrian-born American writer and management consultant who was an expert in this area. So, I guess I’ll have to track down more books!
7. Focus on what matters most
Here again, there is no point in being efficient if what you’re being efficient at shouldn’t even be done in the first place. Learn the difference between leading and lagging indicators in your business, and focus on the leading indicators. In relationship marketing, leading indicators would be the number of new people joining your business, for example. You can be great at organizing your e-mail inbox, but it’s not really going to be the thing that makes you money.
8. Invest wisely, but never invest your ego
Forget “ME” and “I”. It’s all about the team. Invest your heart, invest your time, your energy, and your money, but check your ego at the door. You also have to commit to your business, because doing a half-hearted job will get you nowhere. If you run into trouble here, look at No. 5.
9. Dream big
You really can have what you want – if you can envision it then you can create the roadmap to get there. The problem is that most people dream too small. Try talking to yourself like you would a 4-year-old child. Remember what it was like back then? Remember how you could imagine and daydream? But remember that dreams are not the same as goals. Write down your dreams, and then start creating small, stepping stone goals to get there. Too often people want to realize their dreams by using the “win the lottery” approach, when what works is to just focus on the next rung of the ladder. If you can manage your choices and your imagination, you can reach your goals.
So that’s the lowdown, in a 1000-word nutshell. Piece of cake…