As I listen to the stories of the business world and how many mistakes CEO’s make, I think about how no one talks about the lessons that they learned on the way to that success. There is a tendency to hold out successful business owners as gurus, when the reality is that they were blessed with good teachers and the ability to learn from previous failures. For some of us no one instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in us, but life dictated that we needed to do this. For the lucky few, this was a calling. It was something bigger than them that they couldn’t ignore. So in honor of those lessons learned, here are a few of the biggest lessons I have learned on my road as an entrepreneur.
Real lessons have to be repeated
So many business owners feel that their staff should get the message the first time they get the memo, but what I have learned is that the lesson is in the consistent application of the solution. I see it in its most raw form, when I utter the phrase ‘this is the way we do things’ and I understand that people get comfort from knowing what is expected. For a solution to stick and a framework to be built you have to be consistent. To lead you have to make a decision about what you want and communicate that.
The solution is in flexibility
As much as we call ourselves experts, we know that the best solution is flexible. The situation, customers and markets change their wants and needs at an instant; the entrepreneur in us knows that what worked yesterday is not necessarily going to work today. As your business grows and matures, you solutions should too. Flexibility does not mean becoming lax, but it does mean that you have to acknowledge that on some fronts you may not know best.
You have to make the hard decisions
In situations where the other person is obviously wrong, as the CEO you now have the delightful task of being firm without losing your cool. Now CEO’s are people and we all have our moments, but you are held to a higher standard and you set the tone for your company. Your decisions will directly affect your staff’s life, and just like a parent it’s happening whether you are ready for it or not.
It is never too late to try harder
The best part of parenthood by far is the fact that when you are a good parent your kids will always give another chance, this holds true with staff. When you are basically a good boss, your staff will give you the benefit of the doubt and they will give you a chance to get it right. What makes a good boss? That’s a conversation to have with your staff, but once you figure it out you have half the battle won.
Lessons come in many different forms, but the best benefit they give you is the wisdom of best practices. For an entrepreneur this experience is invaluable because at the end of the day, it will be your hand held over the fire. So now that the lesson is learned, who will you lead today?