7 secrets to transform a good business into an extraordinary business
As a young girl I remember being fascinated with why some people succeeded with having amazing lives and why others failed.
And then as I began coaching entrepreneurs and business owners nearly ten years ago, I became extremely fascinated at what distinguished a good business from an extraordinary business.
I have found, both in growing my own business and coaching my clients, that the secret lies in transforming yourself from managing your business to being a powerful leader in your business.
The truth is your business is either growing or dying. You can’t stay in one place. Building a successful business and team is about consistently evolving from wherever you’re at. You’re either progressing and expanding or stalling and contracting. And this includes being a leader that focuses on the important things – even in the midst of your busy season.
Here are 7 powerful tips to lead others today
Powerful and impactful leaders…
- Are committed to a vision. They inspire others. They spend time working on their business instead of just working in their business and they are wiling to “Be” and embody their vision.
I was interviewing John Yokoyama, owner of the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market on my weekly Business Leadership talk radio show.
People come from all over the world to watch the fishmongers at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle as they toss fish to each other.
They are drawn to the Fish Market because of the fun, playful, boisterous, and connecting environment that the fishmongers have created.
From the moment you first step into the market, you are instantly greeted by the Pike Place Fish Market energy. I asked John Yokoyama how he had supported his crew in creating such a lively and engaging workplace…
“Leslie, at Pike Place Fish Market each and every crew member has made a commitment to making a world famous difference to each and every customer that walks through the door.
And as the owner, I have made a commitment to making a world famous difference to each and every one of my employees. See, many businesses look at the success that we’ve created and are eager to study how we’ve done that.
They think it’s all about choosing our attitude, having fun, playing and making our customers’ day.
But the way we consciously choose how to show up for our customers occurs as a natural result of the commitment we’ve made to living our vision of making a world famous difference and creating world peace for every customer and vendor that we come into contact with.
”The Pike Place Fish Market expresses and lives by a higher vision and purpose no different than the visions of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or even Kennedy when he declared that we would put a man on the moon within a decade.
A clear vision creates a clear end game and inspires us to take consistent action to move from where we are now to where we want to be.”
- Are connected to a higher purpose in what they do. While powerful business leaders certainly want to make money and build successful businesses – they are connected with a bigger purpose.
When I started out as a business consultant my primary concern was to make money and pay the family bills. However, I quickly discovered that this was a narrow focus – and it kept me operating at a certain level that I called, “just surviving and getting by” in my business. When I connected with a bigger purpose in my business – which for me is “To empower business owners and leaders to inspire extraordinary teamwork and breakthrough results and to make an extraordinary difference and impact.” It was only then that I was able to connect with a deeper passion, conviction and purpose – which inspired me to move past my fears and limiting beliefs.
And interestingly enough, I made a lot more money – but here’s the thing, it was no longer about the money. It was about making a difference for others.
When a business or individual makes a commitment to a compelling purpose and takes on a greater context – like making a powerful difference in the world – they are called to show up in an entirely different way, a way that makes a significant and meaningful impact on customers and communities.
By taking on a higher purpose for your business you can invite your entire team to show up in a more powerful way.
But it needs to be a larger purpose that is created amongst you and your staff. Not some dull, stuffy, neatly written mission statement that hangs on the wall gathering dust.
Instead, it’s the kind of purpose that has you jumping out of bed with excitement about going to work. And here’s the key; once you and your staff commit to that purpose, it truly is a matter of making a choice every day, and several times a day, to recommit to “being and living” your vision.
In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Victor Frankl chronicles his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.In the opening of his book he writes:
“Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.
For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued: it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”
- Have a deep conviction of succeeding. Regardless of how long it takes, they hold a deep conviction that they will succeed in the end. They are tenacious. They don’t just give up after a short amount of time. Their willing to be in it for the long haul.
In the book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins describes The Stockdale Paradox. Admiral Jim Stockdale was the highest ranking US military officer at the height of the Vietnam War. He was tortured over 20 times during his 8 years at a prison camp. When he was asked how he made it through he said, “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life.”
Jim Collins and his team recognized that this was one of the defining principles of good to great companies. These companies shared the belief that;
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality – whatever they might be.”
In other words, be willing to face the hard facts and deal with your current reality head on, learn from your results and move forward. And regardless of last year’s results, or your track record over the last 5, 10 or even 20 years, take on the mindset that you will prevail in the end.
- Allow their actions to be shaped by their future. Powerful leaders take action from their future instead of allowing the past to hold them back. Most of us take actions based on our limited beliefs and perspectives in our business. For example, if you had a poor first quarter or your profitability wasn’t as high as you were shooting for, it’s easy to feel discouraged.
However, a powerful leader keeps recommitting to their vision and takes action from their vision. Because they keep their vision top of mind, they begin to succeed one step at a time.
Many leaders allow their past to determine their future and they refer back to their past before taking action. If they had a poor first quarter, they begin doubt their ability to do better in their second quarter – or to have a profitable year.
The only thing we can say that is the truth about the future is that it is unknown. And therefore it exists as pure possibility. Instead of working from their past, extraordinary leaders work backwards from their vision to create the future they desire.
- Keep proper perspective. They don’t allow their desire to be liked to be greater then their commitment to be of service to others and the vision. There is a fantastic scene in the Nelson Mandela documentary, “A Long Walk to Freedom” where he makes a public appearance shortly after being released from 27 years of prison in a cell that had just enough room to sleep and stand up in.
Mandela shares in one of his speeches, “You have trusted me to be your leader and as your leader, it is my responsibility to tell you that you are wrong. We must forgive the British. We must put an end to this fighting.”
Mandela knew that what he was saying was controversial and that the majority of people would be resistant and angered by his message. But he was willing to say what needed to be said. He held a bigger commitment to be of service to others and his vision of peace rather than being liked and he was willing to have the hard conversations and say what needed to be said, without being concerned about what others might think of him.
When we’re more concerned about being liked and accepted we sabotage our ability to be an effective leader.
- Empower others. They have the hard conversations to empower their team members.They don’t put people in a box and they hold their team members accountable
Leaders are willing to have direct, straight conversations with others. If something isn’t working with a team member, they address it head on. They take on the perspective that instead of being negative and blaming or complaining that they are supporting them by offering them empowering feedback.
They give feedback with the intention of making a difference because they are committed to each and every team member’s growth. If they keep their mouth shut and don’t offer feedback, not only does their team member not learn and grow – it ultimately sabotages the business and their ability to succeed and generate more revenue.
- They replace themselves with others that are a great cultural fit. They hire based on cultural fit, values and skills. They replace themselves with someone else so they can focus on leading and working on their business instead of in their business.
I remember when I hired my first team member in my business 8 years ago. I was certain I couldn’t afford it. I knew how to do everything myself so why should I hire someone else to do it? But I knew that I had to remove myself from dealing with all the nuts and bolts and details of my business if I was going to be able to be a powerful leader and visionary.
I hear owners and leaders saying things like; “It’s easier to just do it myself,” “It takes less time if I do it myself,” “I don’t trust my team, so I end up doing it myself.” Or “no one else will do it, so I just do it myself.” It’s hard to carve out time to be a leader when you are busy being a worker bee.
“Surround yourself with people that are smarter and more competent then you”, is one of the golden keys to being an extraordinary leader.
Having a successful business and awesome life doesn’t mean doing it all, but it means having it all – by having great people and real leaders around you so you can empower them to take on leadership roles so that you don’t have to do everything yourself.