Being in business is more than just about the product or your marketing strategy or margins or service. It is about all of these things. It is also about becoming a leader, it’s about improving your leadership skills, it is about becoming a valued representative of your business.
Even if you nurtured your business from embryonic stages and you have total ownership of it, personally you still need to be a business asset. This means that everything that you do directly or indirectly needs to value-add to the business. If you are unable to perform these tasks, then sell it or evoke your succession planning; either way, once you no longer add value then you need to step aside.
Implementing effective customer service strategies are easy – there is well defined methodology that can be implemented. This information is available everywhere, and even if you are unable to, or unwilling to implement this methodology, there are plenty of willing and able organisations that are all too happy to take your coin and implement them for you.
Product strategies are a little bit trickier as these are largely influenced by product quality, market acceptance, competition, purpose, and need. Although there may be an element of additional research involved, it can be done.
Leadership, on the other hand, needs to come from within. There are no external influencers that can affect your leadership style. This does not mean that if you are a prick leader, or if you are spineless, that you cannot develop good, even excellent, leadership skills.
Self-help books help and coaches can put you on the right direction. These are all good places to start. But effective leadership does not end once you have finished reading that latest book or attended a seminar by some guru. Leadership needs to continue to evolve. You will never get to be the best leader that you can ever be, instead, with attention and a little review, you can continue to become an ever-increasing better leader.
And the key to all of this is self-assessment.
The most effective strategy that works for me is to allocate some time periodically to self-assess your performance as a leader. Quarterly or half yearly is not enough; instead aim for 15 minutes a day to review your performance.
The review process does not need to be extensive and does not need to include a self-flogging session for the mistakes that you may have made; it needs to be a review of your actions and how you could have improved on the outcome. Leadership expert Peter Drucker says: “ Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action. ”
The questions that might be part of self-awareness reflection might include:
What’s present for me now?
What’s going well? What’s creating that?
What's challenging? What's creating that?
What needs my attention?
What strengths do I notice in myself?
What strengths and contributions do I notice in others?