Lessons in personal growth and development are ever present. The learning is an ongoing process. It doesn’t end once you get to some level in your career or some age limit.
An efficient leader or manager will always seek out opportunities to grow themselves and those around them, if for nothing else, for the purpose of being knowledgeable and relevant in their scope of work/ influence
In the period that I was employed, I had the privilege of having some amazing supervisors from whom I gleaned 5 precious lessons that have flavored my journey as a transition strategist and business growth consultant.
Here are the big 5 lessons:
Go for it and do not accept no for an answer. In other words, the only one who knows and puts a high value to your dreams and goals is you. Life will rarely give you what you want at the drop of a hat. You will always put effort and majority of the time, it will be met with the response of ‘NO’ in its many variants. Use every ‘no’ as fuel for venturing out again until you succeed. If you do this as a lifestyle, you will never settle for less than you are worth.
Manage by walking around. Walking around should not imply aimless strolls and idle chatter at the coffee machine with staff or team members. Management by walking around allows you to build knowledge about your business and gives you more truth and reality than occasional visits by your members of staff to your ivory tower or daily and weekly performance reports sent via email. It means going on to the operations level and engaging in the activities of the business and seeing your team members at work so as to keep in touch with the on-goings. It should not be confused with micro-management – the art of constantly looking over your staff’s shoulder as a mechanism to get them to be right all the time.
Analyze the numbers but don’t allow them to paralyze your actions. Numbers always tell the story better and they rarely lie; you ignore them at your peril. A growing business must have metrics by which its performance and progress is measured. Such metrics can be either qualitative or quantitative. Whichever it is, numerical data is more reliable as it is not subjective. However, the depth of the information is not grounds for not taking action on what the numbers are addressing. If the numbers say customers cannot recommend your products, scrutinize the reason and work on a remedy. Unending customer surveys and budget analysis become a hindrance rather than enabler of progress.
Preparation, presentation, and impression make better personality fits and boardroom negotiators. Always go into a boardroom prepared for your presentation. That’s a given. Presentation is aided by your articulate talk, your personality, your understanding of the subject at hand and your knowledge of your audience. Captivate with relevant stories, engage with a conversation, and impact with results.
This blend in a presentation will more often than not, have you as a winner in the boardroom.
If you believe in it or if your team member believes in it enough to back it up with data that points to potential success, by all means, do it! and pick up the pieces later. It has often been said that the greater the risk, the greater the success. We are always one decision away from success and sometimes that means trusting ourselves or our team members to do something they believe is for the good of the business.
Do it. Regret is a worse feeling that corrective action
Be humble, do good to others, and seek to live in peace. Wars and battles just serve to steal precious time from the more important matters of the day – pick them wisely. In business and personal relations, there is no shortage of disagreeable moments. When they come, we must learn to decipher their value (will they have an win-win outcome), their relevance (are they an enabler for or distraction from set goals) and their price (what will they cost us).
The book Strategic Business Turnaround by Wangari Maina applies these management lessons as she extrapolates on basic, strategic and practical steps that you can take to get your business profitable again.