Formulate a solid business plan, assemble a top-notch crew to carry it out, and watch your company grow.
Frank was ex-Special Forces with a fine arts degree — an unusual mix in the world of business. He achieved a lot in his career by following five simple principles he was able to apply to any business. If you can apply these same principles consistently, you will move away from being a micromanager and become far more strategic in the way you run your company.
So, what are these magic principles? Really, they are just good common sense, but as Frank was fond of saying, “Good business is just common sense; unfortunately, common sense is not common practice.”
Principle 1: Define your role
Too often business owners are not clear on the difference between management issues and ownership issues. Management issues are things like dealing with accounting, administration and the sales process. They are seemingly urgent matters that must be dealt with in a timely fashion. The person overseeing these functions can be the business owner or an appointed manager.
Ownership issues are the things that only the business owner can do, such as dealing with banking partners and setting the long-term strategy for the organization.
Frank’s approach was simple: Have a clear split between ownership of the business and management of the business, and find the most talented people to run day-to-day operations. This sometimes means that the owner needs to step aside from management and make way for another
Concentrate on an area where you are talented and do what you are passionate about. Let others take care of the things that you are not so good at and that conform to their strengths. Everyone will benefit.
Principle 2: Create a compelling vision
One of the most effective ways to harness the potential of an organization is to get everyone pulling in the same direction. However, without a compelling vision, this can be difficult to achieve.
Vision is a crucial component in getting employees to understand the company’s goals and encouraging them to make meaningful suggestions about how to meet them. It doesn’t matter if your vision revolves around customer service excellence or creating innovative products — as long as it is inspiring and challenging.
Frank did not believe in having a vision that was just there to tick the box and display on a plaque. Rather, it was an important part of the overall company strategy.
Set time aside to work on your business rather than in your business by developing a vision that enables you to grow the business and achieve your life goals. Don’t make the excuse that you are too busy to spend this time crafting a quality vision — it will be the best investment of time you ever make.
Principle 3: Hire “A” players
Frank believed the key to running an organization successfully in the longer term is to hire great people. As he was fond of saying, “If you can surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are, chances are your business will do just fine.”
Many leaders feel insecure about hiring really smart people, as they believe it will undermine their credibility, but building a great team enhances your reputation as a leader. Make sure hiring “A” players is a priority for you as a business owner or leader.
Principle 4: Develop trust
The key to leading your team is to develop trust. This is what keeps top performers working for you in the longer term. Frank knew if you can become a better coach and mentor rather than micromanage your best people, you will find they trust you and are more loyal to the organization. “After all,” Frank would say, “people leave bosses, not organizations.”
The best employees know their market value. What keeps them working for you is not money, but the ability to work independently and express their talents in their own way. They are self-motivated and driven to achieve excellent results. Too much interference from their immediate superior can strip them of motivation.
Principle 5: Have fun
Frank was always firm but fair in his leadership. One of his greatest strengths was knowing when to have fun.
Celebrating success — such as landing a major new customer or having a particularly profitable quarter — was always something he believed in doing as a way to reinforce the positive behavior that caused it.
Even when under pressure to perform, Frank knew the value of a joke or lighthearted moment to relieve the tension. Look for opportunities in your own business to have some fun as this can be a key retention strategy for your best workers.
By following Frank’s simple principles you can grow your business and also have a lot more time to spend with your family and pursue other interests. As Frank would say, “You only live once and life is short, so you had better enjoy it!”