I would say that my greatest challenge in business so far has been integrating into the community, any community. I believe that it was Tip O’Neil who said that “All politics are local”, and I would say “So is all business”. In the age of digitization however, it is more like Most business is local, not all. So, say you are a shy, introverted person like me, who is quite satisfied with being in the background, what do you do?
1 Focus on your goal(s). Whatever your goals are, allow them to dictate how you pursue those goals. As a Recruiting CEO with a goal of having the Number One organization in the industry, I had to be comfortable speaking to complete strangers about our products from start to finish. After all, didn’t I expect my recruiters to do that? What are your goals?
2 Focus on who you/what you need to become. Shyness and introversion were not acceptable in achieving my goals, so I had to become outgoing, personable, warm, with a perpetual smile. I needed to speak eloquently on almost any subject at a moment’s notice, sooth disgruntled clients, and provide top cover from angry shareholders. Apparently, those qualities were already in me, because I excelled at what I did. Do you have it in you?
3 Inspire others by leading from the front. We all want to work for someone inspirational that provides purpose, direction, and motivation. That is the difference between a paycheck and good job! A paycheck is what people in organizations with poor cultures collect while looking for a good job. How good is your organization, even if it is only you?
4 Redefine challenges versus obstacles. Obstacles must be removed whereas challenges must be overcome. Obstacles are normally short term and do not return once removed, but challenges keep reoccurring, which makes them long term. Because I am normally my greatest problem, I am not merely an obstacle to be removed like a wart but a challenge with shortcomings that must be addressed. What is your biggest problem? Does that problem an obstacle or a challenge?
5 Define Success. We often conduct extensive analysis, create elaborate plans, and execute vigorously, only to have our team look at us and say, ‘Did we win?’ ‘Are we there yet?’ ‘Did we make it happen?’ Goal setting is incomplete without defining Measures of Success. Do you have Measures of Success for each goal?
6 Review Periodically. With all the hard work from focusing, goal setting, refocusing, reshaping, retooling, and identifying success, sometimes we forget to review our work. Was our focus the right focus? Were our goals the right goals? Did I change too drastically or not enough? Were my obstacles really challenges and my challenges really obstacles? Periodic Reviews allow us to answer those questions and alter the course before we move too far down a path of no return. How often do you conduct Periodic Reviews?
7 Reset as Required. Review without a Required Reset can be Ridiculous. Sometimes the reset may mean you STOP. Other resets mean you ALTER. The best resets are FULL STEAM AHEAD, because all your analysis and hard work was spot on! What type of Reset does your Review Require?
Overcoming challenges are never easy. If they were, it is likely that they were not challenges but obstacles and, in some cases, mere annoyances. Identifying your greatest business challenges takes a great deal of work that begins with reviewing your organizational mission, vision, objectives, annual goals, shareholder expectations, and stakeholder value. The answer(s) may be ones that you do not want to hear but are necessary for the organization to flourish, or not.
What is your greatest business challenge?
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