Here are 10 things that I am convinced will help any leader accelerate their business. Maybe you already know these and maybe you don’t, but I thought I would write them down. Most of these don’t appear in conventional business journals and yet I think they are incredibly important.
1. A lot of companies don’t actually have a business strategy
It might appear like they do, but press a bit harder and you will often find yourself surrounded by the strategic equivalent of paper mache.
2. Managing to a strategy is a lot harder than writing one
Managing to a strategy requires a leader to make real choices that have real consequences. It requires vision, guts and the ability to say ‘No’ – a lot.
3. Without the short-term there is no medium term
Don’t be one of those leaders bemoaning the requirement to manage the short and medium term. You have to manage both, that is the job.
4. You will never get to the place where you have solved all of the issues
As a leader, you will never find utopia. There will always be more that you can do.
5. Your most important indicators are leading indicators (but beware proxies)
If you are only looking backwards, don’t be surprised if you crash into a lamppost. Make sure you are viscerally connected to real clients and their issues.
6. Without a clear set of principles, business quickly becomes a race to the bottom
Markets need regulating; businesses need to be run to a clear set of principles.
Ignore this at your peril.
7. Give people meaning and autonomy and they will always surprise you
Give your people a purpose and trust them to play their part in achieving it. They will nearly always exceed your expectations. Resist the urge to micro-manage.
8. Don’t sell to your clients, help them
If you want to build a sustainable business then you have to add value. It’s an important mindset and it’s the key to balancing the short and medium term.
9. Energy and focus are really the mothers of successful invention
Many businesses are full of ideas; the real challenge is finding the good ones and then vigorously pursuing them. The willingness to push, test, refine and implement.
10. In business the most precious and mercurial substance of all is momentum
When you catch the wave, be ready for it. This is usually an indication that you are doing something right. This is the point at which you must redouble your efforts – As the Prime Minister is currently demonstrating, momentum is a bit like trust, hard fought and easily lost.
So these are my 10, I hope you find them useful. I am pretty sure you’ll have yours. Maybe you’ll share the things you’ve learned?
Here’s to the power of 10.
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