Monday, November 19, 2012

School's in

Discussions at our monthly TAB Board meetings are usually both deep and wide-ranging, as you might expect from a gathering of business owners and CEOs who've come to "talk shop."

From initiatives to ideas to strategies for implementing same, the conversations can get intense.  Board members are focused on improving their operations and their ability to manage the constant change that comes from that striving.  As my colleague John Dini wrote this week, while failure may indeed be an option, in order to succeed, good enough never is.

Or as C.S. Lewis said:  "Experience is a brutal teacher.  But you learn.  My God, do you learn." 

Some lessons from the field, from the mouths of CEOs:
  • Follow the money: When analyzing sales results, "Follow the money."  Poor closing rates usually mean an inability to ask for the sale (the money) or to get to the decision maker (the money.) Find out which it is and coach to correct.  Or find someone who wants to follow the money.
  • Focus on focus: When assigning new initiatives or tasks, always ask two questions: "What do you need to perform this and what do I need to take away?"  This helps focus yourself and your staff on the resources and commitments needed to execute the task and also generates buy-in.  Both are critical to successful delegation. 
  • Important vs. urgent:  Never confuse the two.  Urgent is what's important to others; important is about hitting your goals.  Focus on the most important on your 'to do" list before turning to others' needs.
  • You can always start over:  From a West Point grad who commanded men in Vietnam: "Unless you are sending people into life-or-death situations, relax.  Poor decisions can be reversed or replayed.  You get to start over, usually with little lasting consequence.  Unless you make the same mistake twice."  
In other words, learn.  So a corollary to C.S. Lewis' quote above would be: "Only if you accept the lesson being given."

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I am grateful that I continue to learn so much from so many successful people.  Without too much pain involved!

Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

No comments: