A friend of mine, the owner of a small business, recently told me that an opportunity came his way that he was very excited about. The only problem? He had a feeling that the potential client thought that his company was larger than it actually was. Should he accept the offer anyway? Should he explain that he’s actually a small company, and possibly risk them backing out?
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate,” famously said John C. Maxwell.
I’ve spoken to hundreds of business owners. And there’s one thing I see time and time again: What they struggle with most, and what’s holding their business back from serious growth, is not a lack of business skills or a faulty product.
It’s that they’re simply not delegating enough.
The calendar has recently turned, and, with the change in year comes one constant: people setting grand resolutions and failing spectacularly.
No, this isn’t some deep-seated lack of faith in humanity – it’s fact. Research shows only eight percent of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions. This failure has, unfortunately, become so comically commonplace that it’s expected.
The question is, why? Read more
Here’s a scary thought: Try and picture a world without email.
Indeed, it’s hard to fathom our world functioning as we know it without the wonder that is email. It’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s just… easy. Few words can be as harrowing and bone-chilling for a business as “email is down.”
But for all its immeasurable benefits, there is a dark side to email. One that can eat away at the very core of any business – even the most successful.
Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, accurately summed up the responsibility of a leader:
“Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions, so that the world doesn’t fall apart if you take a day off.”
Perhaps no concept in business is more essential, and at the same time so colossally misunderstood, than delegation. Any rational person knows that they have strengths and limitations. It follows, that tasks should be divvied based on each employees abilities.
Yet for some reason, many business struggle to properly delegate—and the consequences are severe. Sloppy projects. Missed deadlines. Angry clients.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
As humans, we’re all creatures of habit. We have our morning routine. Our work routine. Our pre-meeting routine. We all just like to get into a rhythm and keep it that way.
After all, sticking to a routine is the key to being productive. Successful people are well-known as sticklers for routine. Routine provides structure. It establishes a sense of security.
Which makes having to change routine so hard.
It means tearing down the habits we worked so hard to create. It means demolishing the cocoon of security around us. Forgetting what we always knew.
Yesterday, I learned this lesson firsthand.
I’m always amazed how the greatest business insights can sometimes come from the most unexpected places.
On a recent flight back from Israel, I struck up a conversation with one of the stewards. We made a little small talk, and soon our chat turned to his job. During the course of our discussion, he lamented to me that, although he always tried to be friendly to every passenger, he had no real business incentive to be cordial.
He described the startling lack of employee appreciation. There was no recognition from his superiors for better customer service. No compliment for going the extra mile. Positive feedback was from passengers, not superiors. The only way to get noticed? Publish something foolish on social media. Boy, would that work!
Instead, he explained, the employee growth module of this airline was, essentially, “survival of the fittest.” Been here for 4 years? Congratulations on lasting this long, here’s a raise.
This is a very troubling and flawed model.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of building company culture.
Showing your appreciation to each employee is critical. Countless studies show that positive employee engagement will impact a business’s success. Successful leaders can build a workplace culture that gives their company a competitive advantage.
So this past Chanukah, I decided to demonstrate my appreciation to the hardworking team at Ptex Group – but in a slightly different way than in previous years.
I quietly created a special Chanukah Goody Booklet for each employee that was mailed directly to their home. Inside the booklet were various gift options for our employees and their families to choose from.
To make all this happen, I had to take a little trip down to a place that most people dread: the post office.
We all know what a nightmare the post office can be. Long lines. Confusing signs. Gloomy decor. Apathetic workers. Even longer lines.
My experience this time was no different.
This word is one of the most commonly-used buzzwords in today’s chaotic business climate. Companies like Google, Twitter, Nike and AMEX are lauded not just for their amazing products – but also for their stellar leadership.
So what’s the secret to become a great leader? Why do some rise to the top while others stagger along aimlessly?
The truth is, great leaders don’t just inspire and motivate their charges with pep talks and inspirational speeches. They take a hands-on approach, are meticulous down to the last detail, and pay close attention to the needs of every individual working for them.
Ever heard of of Roald Amundsen? The man was a perfect example of what it takes to be a great leader.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably found yourself saying or thinking along these lines every so often. After all, life is so much simpler when everybody around you thinks and acts the same way.
Genuine leaders, however, know a little secret: Wanting everybody to agree with you is the worst possible mindset to have.
You’ve got to understand the value of listening to and encouraging opinions besides your own. Take a look at what the legendary Abraham Lincoln did to prove this point.