What does it take to be a leader and not a follower?
As a business owner, you may consider yourself a leader. You lead your actions, results, your team, your finances and you lead your customers to solutions.
The question is, do you lead your industry or do you follow what your competitors are doing? Do you influence trends or do you react to keep up? Are you reacting to the effect? Or are you the cause of the effect? Do you create an excellent experience for your clients and customers or do you simply follow their needs?
Leading the market in which you operate takes an extra level of authority. It’s where you no longer consume what the industry offers but instead produce high-performance results through a clear vision, and deliver an excellent customer experience while inspiring global growth and contribution.
So, how do you become a leader among your peers and within your market? I encourage you to zero in on the following:
Embrace a Growth Mindset
If not intentional about your growth, you will create a ceiling by settling.
The sky is not your limit. There’s a whole universe of possibilities.
No matter how comfortable or successful you feel, the status quo can often be challenged. There is always room for growth. Appreciating your ability to affect that growth can lead to real lasting and sustainable results. I often say, “Who you are is greater than where you are.”
Challenge yourself. Find ways to innovate, from the way you advertise to the way you train your team. Thought leadership is born on the back of new ideas. If you think your ideas are crazy or won’t work, try them anyway. Test them. If they haven’t been tried yet, dip your toe in the water and try it out. This is your opportunity to carve a new path!
Forget about your weak points and take risks that play to your strengths. Double down on strengths. You’ll be surprised by the outcome. Stretch yourself and be open to failing forward. At worst, you will learn a new unique lesson, and if you succeed, you propel your authority to new levels and greater heights.
Never stop growing, learning, innovating and thinking like a leader. New ideas grab attention and from there you begin to produce at higher levels.
Create a Following
Online or offline, engagement and enthusiastic communication count. Get involved with your community, host workshops, forums and speaking events. Volunteer with community organizations and try joining a board of directors to elevate your brand.
Lead from the front. These efforts help you build a reputation as a principled, passionate and highly committed leader.
Take your community-building efforts online with social media and content. Create regular webinars, panel discussions, dialogues and supply and solicit frequent feedback from your clients and customers.
Freely and abundantly share your knowledge and insights. Don’t hold anything back. Something new in the industry? Offer your opinion on it: what it could mean to people, considered benefits or costs, how would it change people’s lives or businesses? Your opinions display your leadership perspective, and confidence is a hallmark of effective leadership.
Leadership is about taking measured risks. New approaches can be calculated so as not to break your business stride, and you can gain so much from stepping outside your comfort zone and into the growth zone. The rewards of these steps are priceless.
Play to your strengths. Strive for continuous improvement. Most importantly, approach risks with confidence and don’t fear falling forward. Often said, Fall down seven times, get up eight. These are the staples of growth and profitability.
Whether your business is in the startup stage or a global corporation, understanding the importance of continuous improvement is key.
Whether or not you’re using lean and agile methodologies to scale, continuous improvement is a critical component in enabling your team to operate more effectively. Implementing it strategically as a top priority will enable your business to stay ahead of the competition.
The most successful companies rarely are satisfied with the status quo. They’re constantly striving for the next best innovation, the next level of performance. They know the importance of continuous improvement in all areas of the business and so too is it important for you.
Even if things are going really well, successful organizations seek what can be improved so they perform better. In order to be more efficient and profitable, look for ways to work smarter, not harder. The most successful companies are always innovating and developing new ways to deliver top-notch quality to their clients and customers.
Hard work works. Smart work works harder.
Remember though, this kind of behavior doesn’t just happen. It starts with intention. Sure, some people have a natural drive to keep improving but most people prefer to stay in their comfort zones. Be different, positively disruptive. Try questioning the way things are done.
To stay on top, businesses must communicate the value and importance of continuous improvement and build it into every aspect of the culture as a disciplined strategy. It’s best practice to train employees to study internal processes, question everything, harness critical thinking skills and create ways to make each and every system more efficient.
I urge you to study your successes and failures, track your progress, act based on those learnings, and go above and beyond to create the best and brightest customer experience.
In today’s fast-moving competitive landscape, these are critical factors to move from consumer to leading producer. For more information on our leadership programs, coaching or how to build and grow your team, reach out today to set up a consultation.