Saturday, 14 September 2013

How To Succeed In Business By Really Trying

No sugar coating here.  Unless you’re fortunate enough to be born to take over a thriving family business or to get in on the ground floor of the next Facebook, the road to business success is seldom a simple one.
In my experience and observation, success is much less the product of one brilliant idea than of a great deal of hard work, well-executed and sustained over a long period of time.
Even in the best of times, no one will just hand you a position of great value for nothing.  If your goal is vice presidency or partner or managing director or the c-suite, or whatever role has captured your imagination, no one can guarantee you’ll attain it.  But if hard work is the currency of success, there are things you can do to make that effort work as hard as possible for your up-and-coming career.  So with a tip of the cap to one the greatest musicals ever (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”), here are five activities that can be worth really trying to put extra time into.
Learn the business – If you work for a sizable organization, and perhaps if you don’t, chances are your business has considerable complexity.  Take time to learn not just your particular role (that’s “table stakes”- you have to know it), but also to gain a broader understanding of the business: the competitive environment, the market forces at play, the company’s value proposition, sales model, pricing model, etc.  No one’s expecting you to become expert in all these fields, but gaining at least a working understanding of the key macro-level issues is always helpful.   Familiarity with these larger issues senior management is grappling with will only enhance your decision-making capabilities in your own role.
Make yourself indispensable – Take time to really understand what your manager needs.  Not just what is needed from you in your current role, but what are the troubling problems that keep him or her up at night?   Is it help with PowerPoints, an upcoming presentation to a hostile audience, delicate personnel problems, or dealing with regulators… to name just a few of a thousand possibilities.  Try to see things through the eyes of others.  The more substantive assistance you can provide, the more gaps you can fill, the more valuable you’ll be to an organization.
Provide solutions, not problems – The normal state of senior management is too much to do in too little time.   When wrestling with difficult issues in your own area, naturally you can’t always solve all the problems yourself.  But it definitely can be worth the extra time to not simply make your problems your manager’s.  Instead, present your manager with a carefully thought out range of viable options – ideally including your recommended solution – rather than just posing a vexing, time-consuming problem.  This approach demonstrates your critical thinking capabilities, and can be an appreciated time saver for a person with little time to spare.
Be a great collaborator – Good team players are valued.  Large complex projects always require people with diverse skills.  Attitude matters; effective collaborators often find themselves in demand.  Consider taking the time to volunteer for a large project that may be understaffed, even in an area outside your core expertise.  This can be a way of broadening your skill set and business knowledge, plus demonstrating your motivation.  Management appreciates self starters who ‘play well with others.’
Come early, stay late – The best point I can offer here is a story of my own.  While I’m an advocate in theory for as much work-life balance as possible, the fact is, if you want to get ahead, there will be periods in a career where there are no substitutes for grindingly long hours.  There was a period in my own career where I was especially motivated by the prospect of advancement and all that went with it, and had great respect for the organization and the work we were doing.  Accordingly, I resolved to myself  that no one in the 20-person department I worked in (including the SVP who managed the operation) would come in earlier or work later than I would.  Did I always achieve that?  No.  But did my diligence catch the attention of senior management and ultimately help my career?  Yes.  (The assumption here of course is that you’re not simply sitting around long hours playing video games or writing to your aunt… but doing real work and adding value!)
In the end of course, occupational success is preordained for no one.  Many talented people compete for relatively few coveted positions.  But you can take certain actions to improve your odds. And if you do, regardless of how things turn out in a particular instance, at the very least you’ll have the benefit of broadening your skills and the satisfaction of knowing you gave your very best effort.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The 5 Keys to Success

Someone once said, “The key to happiness is having dreams.  The key to success is making your dreams’ come true.”  
Today I want to talk about making your dreams come true.  I want to talk about five keys that will help turn your dreams into reality.
Without further adieu….

5 Must Read Keys to Success:

1. Preparation
 “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
~Benjamin Disraeli
 Success loves preparation.  If the perfect opportunity presented itself today, would you be ready?  It’s better to be ready and not have an opportunity, then to have an opportunity and not be ready.
To succeed, you must be ready when opportunity comes.  Spend your time preparing for success, when your opportunity comes, you’ll be glad you did.

2. Work
“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.” ~Anonymous
 All failures know that success is simply a matter of luck, they know it’s just a matter of being at the right place at the right time, they know with assurance that success is directly linked to good ole fashion chance.
However, those who have succeeded know that success is directly and proportionally linked to work.  Even an amazing strategy can’t guarantee success.  Zig Ziglar said, “The most practical, beautiful, workable philosophy in the world won’t work – if you won’t.”
You have to put in the time.  However, when you put in the time, it makes success all the more sweet.  When you come from “behind” and do the impossible, it makes success as sweet as a honeycomb. John H. Johnson said, “I believe the greater the handicap, the greater the triumph.”
3. Remember the Golden Rule
“Success is still the constant application of the Golden Rule.” ~Anonymous
 Never forget the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  That’s the key to success.  Serve your clients as you would have them serve you.  Meet their needs as you would have them meet your needs.  Give them prices that you would want to pay, exceed their expectations in a way that you would want your expectations to be exceeded.
When you follow the golden rule, you open the door to success.

4. Confidence
“Confidence is the companion of success.” ~Anonymous
If you don’t believe in your abilities, don’t be surprised if no one else does either.  Your negative thoughts about yourself send a signal throughout the world that others pick up on and respond accordingly.  If you’re broadcasting the station “Depression 108.7” then others will treat you like you’re depressed.
But, when you believe in yourself and your potential, people pick up that signal, and they will treat you according to how they believe, you believe, you should be treated.  Did you get that?

5. Lead
“A most important key to successful leadership is your ability to direct and challenge the very best that is in those whom you lead.” ~Anonymous
 To be successful you must be a great leader.  There’s probably nothing more difficult than being a great leader.  It’s easy to be selfish, it’s easy to only be concerned with your needs, your wants and your desires.  But to succeed you have to lead!  You have to do what’s best for the people; you must bring the best out of those in whom you lead.
When you really lead, you will succeed.
 Mr. Self Development is an author who teaches a motivational and practical guide to success. Please visit him at Mr. Self

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Billionaires Share Their Secrets to Success

Get-Rich-Quick books are generally useless, as is most advice from the wealthy on how to get wealthy. Luck, timing and economic context play such a large role in wealth creation that tips like “work hard” and “stay focused” rarely explain a person’s millions.
Yet tonight on 20/20, Barbara Walters spends time with four billionaires, who offer some useful advice no matter what you’re financial aspirations.
Her subjects include: John Paul DeJoria, the founder of Paul Mitchell hair products and owner of Patron Spirits; Patriarch Partners’ Lynn Tilton; Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil; and Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.
On the 20/20 web site, they have a list of the 20 “Billionaire’s 20 Keys to Success.” Here are 10:
1. Figure out what you’re so passionate about that you’d be happy doing it for 10 years, even if you never made any money from it. That’s what you should be doing.
2. Always be true to yourself.
3. Figure out what your values are and live by them, in business and in life.
4. Rather than focus on work-life separation, focus on work-life integration.
5. Don’t network. Focus on building real relationships and friendships where the relationship itself is its own reward, instead of trying to get something out of the relationship to benefit your business or yourself.
6. Remember to maximize for happiness, not money or status.
7. Get ready for rejection.
8. Success unshared is failure. Give back — share your wealth.
10. Successful people do all the things unsuccessful people don’t want to do.
What would you add to the “Billionaire’s Secrets” List?