Why Companies Can Never Get Too Set in Their Ways
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Six Business Lessons That Will Help You Stay Forever Young
By Lorrie Bryan
1. Stay fit and agile
As a small business or entrepreneur, your agility is a primary competitive advantage. Agility is a trait of a successful leader, and it becomes particularly valuable in times of change and uncertainty.
2. Continually strive to build meaningful relationships
Companies often gather some transactional data initially, and then assume they know and understand their customers. Businesses rely too heavily on transactional data, and that can give a skewed picture of what’s really happening. The best way to really get to know your customers is to talk with them, visit your best customers at their places of business, and see firsthand what they do and what their challenges are.
3. Get outside your comfort zone
When we get too comfortable, we no longer challenge ourselves, and by ceasing to strive toward goals or push ourselves to accomplish, we stop growing. Seeking discomfort is essential to keeping your momentum and staying ahead of the curve. By delighting in this state of discomfort, you will be more relaxed and more likely to see creative ways to improve. If you can achieve your goals doing business as usual, then your goals are not big enough and you won’t get to the next level.
4. Broaden your horizons
Today, businesses need to continually push their boundaries, explore new territories and look at the markets beyond their own industries. Find out who is doing what you aspire to do – whether it’s customer service, innovation or cost management – better than you are doing it.
5. Listen and learn
Reverse mentoring is an effective way to pass on experience and knowledge within an organization. Today, it’s common for a young, entry-level worker to have a better understanding of technology or some aspect of the operation than his or her manager. As a result, many organizations are shifting into reverse, and senior leaders are soliciting input from younger employees. It’s important for leaders to make a personal commitment to staying fresh and continually breathing new life into their organizations. Try hanging out with your younger team members, even those who might be younger than your own children – a guaranteed eye-opener. You might discover that you are so far out of the loop you can’t even see the loop.
6. Have a positive outlook
Research shows that a positive attitude correlates with better physical and mental health and a longer lifespan, and likely slows the aging process. Likewise, having a positive attitude is essential for ongoing business success. Nobody else can compose your thoughts for you. Once you develop a habit of choosing a positive or negative attitude – that is exactly what you will send to and receive from the world. A life filled with positive attitude is also filled with positive impact.
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Featured in Connect Magazine, November/December 2015.
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