As a business leader, there is constant competition for your attention – customer crises, operation decisions, employee issues, and future planning, just to name a few. With all you have to do, it’s easy to become unaware of what’s going on around you. And that lack of awareness can have serious consequences.
To stay up to date and keep your business growing, here are four things every leader should do.
1. Listen to Fresh Perspectives
Business leaders must learn to listen to fresh perspectives in order to keep their ideas and businesses from going stale. US News highlighted an emerging trend of senior executives being mentored by young, entry-level professionals on issues like technology, culture and social media. This reverse mentoring phenomenon has already been adopted by big-name companies such as Johnson & Johnson, GE, and Cisco, and it’s having a two-fold effect. Not only is it helping to make baby-boomer executives technologically and socially relevant, it’s also helping businesses retain eager millennial employees.
As you know, innovation is the key to success in today’s business world. “Business must look ahead, not behind… Every business must innovate to compete. They must create new products and services for new markets,” said Scott MacFarland, a digital marketer and brand strategist. There are definitely tried and true business principles that stand the test of time, but the way in which you implement and communicate those principles to your employees, customers, and the general public continues to change.
2. Embrace the Latest Technology
Second, leaders have to learn to embrace technology. Michael Robson, general manager of General Assembly’s enterprise business, told The Wall Street Journal, “Ninety-nine percent of executives say [digital growth]is important, butonly 10 percent of companies are satisfied with the speed at which they are making the transition.” To keep their companies from falling behind, many executives and managers are now taking lessons on how the online world works.
But these technology lessons aren’t just about digital terminology or how to use social media. “They put the service in context, explaining which strategies work and what a company’s competitors have done,” said Gretchen VanEsselstyn, director of education at Mediabistro Inc., a media job board and training site. This enables leaders to make wiser decisions on what to invest in and how to guide their growing businesses.
3. Stay Engaged
Business leaders also have to learn to stay involved and connected to their team. With all the responsibilities associated with leadership, it’s so easy to push connecting with employees, and even customers, into the background. However, it’s vital that leaders are always talking with and listening to their employees and customers. This communication is how leadership can monitor the pulse of engagement, production and morale.
4. Embrace the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Glenn Llopis, president of a business strategy consulting firm, pointed out in the Forbes article that today’s leaders must think like entrepreneurs. “They need to view their departments and/or functional areas like a small business thatis constantly looking for creative, resourceful and cost efficient ways to grow and compete profitably.” This is what will enableleaders to be proactive and instigate changes before they’re forced to.
Leaders who continue to learn, engage, and grow enable their businesses to go far beyond where they’re at today and reach the level of success they’ve longaspired to.
Connie Druliner, Franchise Owner
Express Employment Professionals
400 SW Bluff Drive, Suite 200
Bend, OR 97702