Every business is a reflection of its owner--and if you're not careful, your company can develop the same character flaws as you.
Over the years, I have coached numerous business owners, and the one thing that has always had the greatest impact has been showing the relationship between how we live and act as a person dramatically impacts the success of their business and the quality of their life.
I remember a client who was worth many millions of dollars. He had a wonderful family, a fabulous house, and travelled the world on a regular basis. He also was the most miserable sod I had ever met. To him, everything was terrible: the government, the economy, the city officials, and more. Finally, I’d had enough of his moaning. We jumped into his luxury sports car and unbeknown to him, headed to the local shelter for battered and homeless women.
This may sound a little clichéd, but the visit had a profound affect on him. Talking to these women made him realize the ridiculousness of his negativity. An extraordinarily philanthropic man emerged from the miserable, self obsessed individual I knew before. But what changed the most, along with his attitude, was his business. He had been successful before, but with his newfound humanity, he became far more successful. Indeed, every aspect of his life improved dramatically.
The place to start is to develop out your own personal code to live by. The following six strategies form the basis of my personal code that I work towards every day:
1. Treat everyone you encounter with the utmost respect. This is an attitude that great leaders share. They treat every single person that they encounter with enormous respect and they do it in a very genuine and humble way. From the cleaning person to the CEO, all are treated equally.
2. Be ridiculously polite. The old adage that manners maketh the man is more relevant than ever. Being polite really reinforces the concept of respect and humility towards others. It shows that you can focus on other people instead of yourself. People notice manners; more significantly, people notice the lack of manners.
3.Small gestures make a big difference. Taking a genuine interest in a photo on a desk, giving someone a sincere compliment, forwarding an email that you might think relevant to a customer... There are many small ways to show that you care and the more you incorporate these into your daily life, the more people realize you do actually care.
4. Look for the win/win in every situation. There is a perception that to be successful you need to be tough, one step ahead of the other guy, willing to do whatever is necessary to win. From my experience, the most successful people have figured out that if you aim for a true win/win situation, you end up being far more successful. Win/win scenarios they know outcome will be positive and fair.
5. Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes. Empathy is a powerful self-development tool. Learning to look at every situation from the other person’s perspective, whether a customer, employee, supplier, or spouse, results in a much better decisions.
6. Be generous. Nothing drives me crazier than a mean business owner--someone who spends nothing on the company, the staff, the customers, or the community. I believe that the more you give the more you get. I am not telling you to spend wildly; but I am saying that it is important to be generous in spirit with everyone involved in your business in any capacity.
ANDREW GRIFFITHS is a Cairns, Australia-based serial entrepreneur and the author of 11 books about starting, managing, and growing small companies. For more Andrew, check out www.andrewgriffiths.com.au. @AGauthor