When I mentioned this at a workshop recently one of the business owners said: “You mean there are only 3 keys to success? Where have I been going wrong all these years?” I may tend to oversimplify – simply for the sake of directness.
There are more than 3 keys to successful business growth – I am simply mentioning 3 of the more significant ones that I work with clients on. Add to the list: products and services of value to your customers, motivated and talented workers, a fantastic marketing strategy, a superb sales process, raving fans… For our purposes I will present 3:
- An actionable business plan,
- Becoming more authentic and self-aware, and
- Becoming a knowledge-based manager.
# 1. Developing An Actionable Business Plan
It’s hard enough to draft a business mission, much less its vision, objectives, strategies, and action process. The key here is to think in terms of MVP – that is, what is your business Mission, Vision, and Purpose. Once you have identified these put a time frame on them. I refer to the Mission as timeless and the Vision as big – from 3 to 5 years.
When I work with clients on their Objectives, I look at them as little – they can be accomplished in 1 year. It helps when you are forming objectives to use a Balanced Scorecard as the base – identifying objectives that satisfy financial, customer, process, and learning/growth functions in your business.
I have found from experience that Strategies are big also – from 3 to 5 years. Strategies also benefit from a balanced scorecard approach. Strategies are intended to serve as a guide to the annual forming of objectives. The Action Plan is little – actions that are necessary in 1 year to accomplish the stated objectives.
If you wonder how important these are to the employees in your business, ask them to rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the highest score, their understanding of your MVP and your objectives. Is there a gap? Do you and they know what they are working to accomplish?
# 2. Becoming More Authentic and Self-Aware
Most owners I work with are not trained to be owners, leaders, or managers – yet they become that by virtue of their idea, their skill and expertise in a particular field. I have found that in order increase your performance as an expert and excel, you need to understand what natural talents you have, why you are motivated to use them, and how you prefer to use them.
Some people have a natural talent to lead others or to persuade others, while other people excel at practical thinking, problem management, or relating to others.[i] Additionally, it’s important to understand what drives people to be passionate for their work and fully engaged.
Considerable research[ii] has identified how some people are driven to acquire knowledge, exercise compassion, leadership, or selflessness; while others may be driven to seek the best value for the money or a competitive edge. Finally, research into behavioral traits[iii] helps us to understand how some people may be inclined to be more aggressive or assertive, while others may be inclined to be more patient, passive, or reliable.
The importance of increased self-awareness and authenticity were shown by recent research to significantly impact individual levels of performance – across all industries and employee levels.[iv] Owners, and their managers and employees have the potential to perform better and improve business performance and growth as well.
# 3. Becoming A Knowledge-based Manager
Closely related to the discussion above is understanding that managing an increasingly knowledge-based workforce requires a knowledge-based attentive manager.
Managers who can use proven techniques borrowed from the field of coaching, who understand how best to manage by asking, by becoming more a manager coach, can be more successful at having employees perform at higher levels – principally because those managers will focus on improving employee authenticity and self-awareness.
Are these 3 keys to successful business growth proven? Yes, time and again. As our economy and workforce continue to evolve we can readily nurture and grow our knowledge from within – we simply need focused effort to plan, become more authentic and self-aware, and learn how to manage our knowledge-based workforce better. Are you ready to grow?
[i] Dr. Robert S. Hartman created the Hartman Value Inventory, a value profile, which measures with exactness the character of an individual through the science of Axiology which he created.
[ii] Drs. Eduard Spranger and Gordon Allport in their study of human value, motivation and drive led the development of the Values Index.
[iii] Dr. William Marston¸ Walter Clarke, and Dr. John G. Geier are credited with creating the DISC instrument.
[iv] Jay Niblick, What’s Your Genius? How the Best Think for Success in the New Economy, 2009, chronicles the results of the Genius Project, a 7-year study of 197,000 people, which demonstrates how the acquired skills of self-awareness and authenticity can have a direct and positive correlation to performance; page 20-21.
Image: “bunch of keys on the palm/Shutterstock“