February is upon us, March is almost here – the excitement of the new year is over. The 2015 goals we have set are no longer fresh and shiny, and we are losing momentum while counting down the days to better weather. Whether you are experiencing success or just want this short month to be over, perseverance is crucial. Find strength in the words of famous, successful leaders to continually work towards your goals:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill
Success is a fluid concept. It is determined by the goals we set and ultimately achieve. Once you have met one, a new, higher one should be set. Accepting success without change limits your business’s growth. And the reality is, just because you are successful one year does not mean you will be successful the next.
Similarly, one failure will not tank your business. True failure is not seeking a solution to the problems your business faces. Make corrections and refine your strategies, or your failure can become permanent.
Whether you have succeeded or have failed, the key is to keep improving. This takes courage. It is comfortable to stay in our old ways, whether they have led to a positive outcome or a negative one. Change involves effort and risk, yet it is the only way to continually move forward.
“Focus on your customers and lead your people as though their lives depended on your success.” – Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett defines the heart and soul of a business as your customers and your employees. Without them, you
would not have a successful business. With them comes profitability. Keep them at the center of your business strategy.
As a consumer, we can think of a time when a poor customer service experience left a lasting negative impact on how we viewed a company. This experience may have generated action within us to never go back or to discourage others from doing business with the company. One customer’s opinion will not shut down your entire business, but a handful of negative experiences will cost your company and impact the livelihood of your employees.
As a business owner or executive, there are days when you may not interact with your customers or the employees who directly work with customers. It is easy to get wrapped up in the operations of your business and forget the true purpose of it – providing a good or service to customers in a way that sets you above your competition.
By putting your customer’s experience at the center of your business model, your main focus should be how your team facilitates interaction. Coach them to understand their vital role in this model. Lead by example, take the time to speak with your customers and listen to their opinions. Your team will follow suit.
“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” John C. Maxwell
The only thing worse than making a mistake, is trying to cover it up. Admitting to making a mistake is a humbling trait as a business owner or executive, but even the greatest leaders have made wrong judgment calls and errors. What holds many leaders back from admitting their mistakes is the fear of losing respect.
Transparency takes bravery, but is the right approach to take while resolving a mistake. Take a look at companies that have had major crises (like BP and Johnson & Johnson). By being very public about their mistakes, admitting their wrongdoing and actively helping the community resolve them won the respect of the public and their employees.
Mistakes may take you back to the drawing board, but they offer the opportunity to innovate and find a better way to do things. Create positive change. Re-strategize taking your loss into account, and find a new way to meet your goal. Take accountability for your actions and your team and your company will bounce back from a mistake stronger than before.
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