The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Every time I hear this phrase, it makes me think. If you read this just on a semantic level, it sounds like an oxymoron. How can something change and stay the same? That makes no sense.
But if you think about that phrase in the context of the business environment, it actually fits like a custom-tailored suit. And the best way for entrepreneurs to avoid history repeating itself is to be proactive.
You can do that by putting three important skills—direction, connection and reflection—into practice. Let’s take a look at each one.
So What Skills Does Every Leader Need?
- 1. Direction
I’ve talked with many business owners who act as if their business has a mind all its own. They’ve forgotten that they are supposed to be in the driver’s seat, guiding the business down the right road.
That’s what direction is all about. It’s the leader’s job to provide the direction—and even change it—when needed. The business will only go where its leader takes it. Period.
- 2. Connection
It’s impossible to lead when you aren’t connected to the organization you are leading. Whether it’s the business, the team or the customers, leaders have to know what’s going on and how healthy or unhealthy the business is at any given time.
Team connection is essential, because you must be clued in on the mindset and morale of your team. Leaders who are connected know when to push the team harder and when to ease off the gas. When it comes to customers, it’s all about understanding their needs and being able to meet those needs with your service or product.
Connect. Connect. Connect. You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but you need to know what makes the people in your organization—and the organization itself—tick.
- 3. Reflection
Reflection is the ability to look back and know why you experienced success or failure in the past. It’s understanding how timing affected each step you took toward success—and how some steps in the process were too late or better left alone.
To do this, you need to know the trends in your business. Take some time to look at the P&L statement from last year. Were you on pace, behind or ahead? After that, ask the question: What do you need to do now to impact production next month?
You’re shooting yourself in the foot when you have this information and don’t use it. It’s crucial to your success as a leader.
The Bottom Line:
The survival of your business depends on your direction, connection and reflection. When you have all three, you’re sure to have an advantage in the marketplace.
By: Chris Hogan
Chris Hogan speaks all over the country at businesses, associations and colleges on money and leadership. He also conducts on-site training sessions for organizations of all sizes. As a former All-American college football player and business owner, Chris understands that leadership is essential for the success of any team. You can follow Chris Hogan on Twitter at @ChrisHogan360 or check him out here: daveramsey.com/speakers/Chris-HoganRead More Articles by Chris Hogan