Thriving Through Disruption PT 1 | Leading a Successful Business
We hope the lessons from 2020 have left you inspired and ready to transform a seemingly unsteady 2021 into an incredible year. We expect to see the number of new businesses rise this year, as we return like a Phoenix from the ashes of 2020. Although it may already seem a bit rocky, don’t let that deter you from having the year you deserve. It all comes down to how resilient we can be during times of change.
To help you at every step of the way, we have put together a series called ‘Thriving Through Disruption’. Welcome to Part 1, where we will cover the key aspects of launching a business in the ‘new normal’: Leadership, Vision, Mission, Brand Values and Goal Setting.
Not all of us are natural-born leaders, but we all have a part to play in creating the world we desire. If you are embarking on a new venture, launching a new product / business or simply igniting an existing one, then you need to look at your leadership skills first.
Your leadership will define a clear vision of what you are doing, how you are going to do it and why you are doing it. Without these foundations you will just be adding layers to a mountain that will soon create an avalanche.
Even the greatest vision can’t fix a broken business – but it’s certainly at the core of a brilliant one. Strong leadership helps to create a company culture that will support this vision. It will positively impact many facets of the business; from its direction, goals, ethos, decision making, quality of resources and expectations. These will all be clearly set out for all team members to take note of and understand.
How do you fine-tuning your vision…. ask the right questions
Start by asking these fundamental questions:
- Who are we?
- Why do we exist?
- Who do we serve?
- How do we want to do things?
- What do we want this business to look like in 1, 5, 10 years?
- What do we want to be known for?
- Create a headline for a newspaper about your business ten years from now. What would it say?
Identifying your mission and purpose
Your mission is why you exist, what you do and how you are going to do it.
Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, argues that your brand purpose – its ‘why’ – is fundamental to the success of most businesses. From Apple to Uber and Amazon, they all have a clear reason for why they exist.
Here are some good examples:
- Asana‘s mission statement: To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.
- Airbnb‘s mission statement: To connect millions of people from all over the
world through a community marketplace– so that you can ‘belong anywhere’.
- Uber’s mission statement: Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.
Your mission helps to define why your business actually exists. What gets you out of bed in the morning to run it? You want this same passion to run through the veins of your employees.
Once you know what your mission and vision are, you need to set out to define your values. Your brand values are the beliefs that your company stands for. They serve as a moral compass that guides your brand story, actions, behaviours, and decision-making process.
There will be times in business when you have to make tough choices. Coming back to the question ‘why should we do this’ and taking a look at your brand values will help you make better decisions.
There are many brand values you may want to consider, but they need to resonate with you as a business and an individual in order to be completely authentic.
You will only be as good as the goals you set. If you aim low, you can be sure to expect to hit that ceiling. So dream big, but make it realistic!
1. Look back: Cast your inner eye over a past period of time and celebrate your wins, what worked well, what didn’t and why. This will help you understand why you failed and how you can learn from them, so you can apply them to this upcoming phase.
2. Pick goals for all aspects of your life: Business, family, relationships, money, personal development, fun. Life is about balance and if you push too hard in one direction, it will only cost you peace in another. The same also applies for business, when setting goals ensures you look at the entire picture including finance, marketing, sales, customer service, HR, operations and so on. It ensures that the entire ‘machine’ has targets, and not one part will fall short.
3. Goal Relativity: Check if and how your goals are interrelated as achieving some may help you reach several others. This will help to create the right support structure for different goals across teams, resources and finances.
4. Be S.M.A.R.T. We love this catchy acronym, which stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic & time-bound.
5. Break it Down: Break the large task at hand into smaller, more manageable tasks. Remember, it’s about making progress towards the end goal and being patient. Enjoy the process and celebrate little wins everyday for yourself and with your team!
How you communicate within the business can make the difference between success and failure. Having clear lines of communication and systems that support it will help maximise productivity. Consider adopting a project management system such as Asana to clearly manage tasks and deliverables, coupled with communication tools such as Slack.
Consider how often your teams meet, what these meetings look like and what output you want from these interactions.
Create feedback loops that support open and honest conversations, so everyone feels comfortable to own up to a mistake and fix it. There’s nothing worse than a company sitting on a problem that is a ticking time bomb because your staff are too scared to tell you about it.
When it comes to leadership, it takes consistent work and practice to get it right. However, using the methodology we have outlined above ensures you don’t miss important parts that can keep you and your teams working to one unified goal. There will be changes, always. This might mean that some of the methods you have implemented will need adjusting, refining and testing once more – but at least your vision will remain intact for everyone to understand and work towards!