Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Three Keys to Success in Business

This morning I had a wonderful yoga class and breakfast meeting with a good friend of mine who owns several businesses. He is a self-made success story if there ever was one and we were discussing what it takes to be successful in business – and we were lamenting why more of our employees don’t “get it”. We made the following observations about success and I believe they are spot on for differentiating winners from ordinary companies and ordinary employees.

Execution: Winning companies and people perform. They make a plan and they follow through on what they have committed to do. I have always believed that success in business is 20% strategy and 80% execution. Business is dynamic: ‘strategy’ only sets a path forward given today’s known factors and assumptions about tomorrow – but ‘execution’ adapts to and accounts for the dynamic, constantly evolving, real-time environment in which we all operate every day. Execution is performance in spite of any obstacle.

Accountability: Winning companies and people do not make excuses. Excuses are the death of a company and the human spirit. Think about it: when do you make excuses? Only when you’ve given up! Or when you believe you have exhausted all options and there is nothing else you can do to succeed. What happens then? You start to explain why you couldn’t get the job done: you make excuses…Successful people don’t quit. Conrad Hilton said “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit”. Keep moving and keep thinking!

Problem-Solving: Winning people and companies are always thinking and innovating. They are always trying to find a better solution, a cheaper solution, a faster solution. And they never quit because they have a fundamental problem-solving attitude and approach to life. I call this “engagement”. Do you come to work – to life – engaged, trying to solve problems, to find a better way? Or do you come just to do what you are told and to sleepwalk through the day?

Want to be a better business person, employee, or human? Develop these three traits and you can’t help but be successful.

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