Plan for Success
Brad McCullouch is our Success Secret provider this week. He is an attorney, 48 Days to the Work you Love group facilitator, former college professor. Check out his site here.
Volumes upon volumes of trade journals, industry periodicals, and texts of varying size and seriousness have attempted to discover the secret to success in business since the word “business” found its way into the modern dictionary. Having studied business, taught business related course work, and worked on his business, this writer can give you his “secrets” to leading a successful business.
First, however, the term “secret” implies some sort of divine, esoteric, mystical force unavailable to mere mortals. What I have discovered is a set of principles, call them secrets if you will, that seem to predict future success in a business.
The first principal, a.k.a. secret to leading a successful business, is a task belonging to the chief executive officer of the business. Speaking in broad terms, there are generally two types of leadership styles the chief executive may employ in the running of his or her business. These two styles of operating are certainly not the only two styles but they represent the extremes.
The first style is of the “managerial” genre. The manager is a leader by virtue of his position. He or she is manager or men and women by job title. The manager profile is actually the “bottom of the barrel” as far as leadership. The manager is actually no leader at all, but accomplishes his objectives by brute force in a Machiavellian styled manner. Is he a leader? Yes, in title only. Does he lead his people? By all means he does not. Does this mean all managers are like this? Of course not- this model is for illustrative purposes only.
The second style of leadership is what the business world longs for. He or she is not a leader by virtue of position, although this may be true. He is not a leader because someone has said so, although this may be true. He is a leader because he understands that leadership is a bottom up endeavor wherein the leader is the servant with the sole job of empowering his team.
Again, these are broad generalities that must be recognized, but they do serve as a starting point in understanding “leadership development.”
If this writer had to pick the “top secret(s)” determinate of success in leadership in business it must necessarily start with the mission statement of the organization. What does success mean to the chief executive officer? Is it merely to make money? Is it to affect social change for the good of society? Is it a blend of the two? Until the chief executive determines his or her view of success the rest is a hopeless pursuit indeed.
The next step an emerging leader must take is the development and then implementation of a business plan. Every business should have a business plan with carefully constructed benchmarks at appropriate time intervals. It is easy to see that most new businesses fail because of the lack of an effective and realistic business plan.
Absolutely essential to this business plan is the addition of “action items.” It’s not enough to simply construct a business plan. By way of example: Five frogs are sitting on a log one day and three of them decide to jump off. How many are left? Five are left of course. The mere decision to jump off is meaningless if not followed up by the action step of jumping.
As mentioned previously, volumes have been written about this topic, and doubtless to say, volumes will continue to be written in the years to come. This brief article is meant only as a “primer”, much like the “primers” that can be found in kindergarten rooms throughout the world. However, the wise person will study the primers of the great success stories of modern history. I would encourage the reader to look at the works of John Maxwell, Dan Miller, and Dale Carnegie – to name a few. If the reader develops this love of continual learning the path will be all the smoother and chances of success all the greater.