On The Road To Greatness

Great by Choice
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We all have our goals in life. And of course, we do want to succeed. We want to achieve them. One would often question, is there really a recipe in success?

Things have been more competitive, technology changing the game, unpredictable financial movements, trends coming and going, how do your rise above it all?

How do you rise amidst the waves of uncertainty? And this is just no myth, there are companies who stood the test of time and still prospering. How do they do it?

Actually, they do have something in common. It’s what brought them far and successful. And today, we will let you in these company “secrets”. How do they do it?

Discipline – This seemed a bit obvious, but  is it really practiced? A lot of people talk about it and applying it in several aspects of their life and business but how is it really? How do you employ discipline in your day to day tasks?

Make it measurable – Can discipline be measured? Yes, there is a way to quantify it. Your company have goals of course. Quantify your goals.  Let’s say, your goal is to increase your sales.

Go into the details. Increase sales by how much and what’s the time frame? You can say, increase the sales by 40% by the end of the company’s fiscal year. With that you have figures that you can measure by the end of the time frame you have set.

In order to reach your objective, it would of course take a lot of discipline to achieve it. You don’t have time to slack off due to the set expectation. You have a deadline and a figure to hit.

A word of caution though, when you set your quantifiable goal – make sure it will be a challenge. You should honestly know it would be hard to achieve it but manageable with hard work and the point of this – a lot of discipline.

If you have set a metric that you know it’s achievable with minimum effort right from the start – that’s a little too close to cheating. That’s no longer a challenge. You know that you will achieve it without really working hard.

With this attitude, people in the company will become more lax and complacent. Do you want work to be that mediocre?

So set the bar high. Challenge yourself and the team. Look for a feat that will challenge everyone. They key is – difficult but achievable.

In contrary to “easy” goals, don’t set it to impossible as well. There is a difference between difficult and impossible to do.

And a word of caution, the metrics of performance should be set internally. Don’t use a performance index that’s dependent on external factors. Like for example, foreign exchange rate.

There a lot of factors that affect FOREX, so it’s not a good representative of company performance. Choose a metric that’s controllable within and representative of the team’s work.

When the goal is achieved within the set time frame, reset another goal. Keep challenging everyone. Keep everyone on their toes.

To deal about these takes a lot of discipline. A lot of discipline if it’s a real challenge. However, when people do have the discipline to follow through, success is more likely to happen.

Strategy – To achieve those goals, you of course need a strategy. Your “how-to” or your plan of action. You wouldn’t just charge without knowing the plans.

After all you wouldn’t want to waste a ton of resources due to the lack of plan or strategy that was not well thought out. We’re not only talking about money, but also time and manpower. It’s best to know how to strategically use them.

A way to maximize resources, is doing it step by step. Instead of launching an idea in a large scale, try it first in a smaller set-up.Make sure it’s size is small enough not to disrupt the ongoing, more established strategies.

Try it and observe. If it works, it’s time to employ it in a larger scale. If it doesn’t work, reformulate another plan. And work again from the start using the smaller scale.

This strategy will use less resources and enables the company to maximize the ongoing successful campaigns while working on new ones.

Being Uncomfortable – Yes, you read that right. This is one of the qualities of a great company and why?

They do not get too comfortable with their success. They are always on the lookout. They continue to challenge themselves despite the success they are encountering. They don’t settle. If needed, they reinvent themselves.

In reality, things do change. Factors that you can’t control can affect your business overnight.  Your business may be on top today and the next day it may go down the drain. However, you can stay afloat by being uncomfortable.

What do successful companies do?

  • They have saved enough money to cushion financial blows. They expect the unexpected and they keep enough cash to be able to bounce back. Some may argue that investing money is better that keeping cash in reserves. But when the time comes, it better to have enough cash reserves than scurrying for a back-up plan. Plan and set an amount for this.
  • They know when to take risks. A lot of decisions entail some risk but they have studied enough which one to take. They are comfortable with the risk they are taking and they are prepared to go with it.
  • They look at the entire picture. They study the market’s probable reaction and they focus internally on how to react to that. They make use of the time wisely to plan an action to adjust to the market. A successful company knows where to focus. It doesn’t set its eyes exclusively outside and they are not too absorbed internally also. They understand that it’s a big picture and they know how to view the whole of it.

Enduring – While it is nice to have nice, short time frame targets, think bigger. Wouldn’t it be better to employ a strategy that endures for a long time? A plan that is sustainable and will endure for a long time.

This is also one quality that makes a leader really stand out. They want the company to be successful way beyond there tenure. That makes a great leader, they think long term. They truly want the company’s success to be enduring.

Discipline, strategy, being pro-active, and enduring – together they do contribute to the success of the company. True, it does take hardwork to do all of these but then again – did success come easy for the companies who made it?

If you’re willing to work hard and employ these learnings, you won’t regret it as it can be really rewarding. Success is not really a far out dream if you’re willing to work hard for it.

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