A reflection on success….
Merry Christmas to all the readers of my blog! You have given me invaluable feedback that makes me a better and better person (not just a better writer).
As we close the year and reflect on months past and months to come, I thought of a topic that drives everyone – success. Everyone wants to succeed. Whether it is in love, work, wealth, we are all looking for success. For most people, the definition of success is not necessarily about getting monetary wealth. I am of that school of thought; for me success is about fulfillment of my life and my life’s ambitions. From a very young age, I wanted to be rich. I wanted money to be able to do what I want. I believed that money bought you respect, got you a good family, and gave you the most loyal of friends. Of course, as I grew older, I realised money does not deliver these things. So, I had to go back to the drawing board to review my game plan. Since I have never been one to change my stand on things, I decided I would not change my life ambition. I retained my dream of being rich. But I changed my definition of ‘rich’. Rich ceased to be about money and became about having a rich life.
A rich life is about family, friends, legacy, impact on all the above.
But this blog is about entities and entrepreneurs. So how is the topic of rich, relevant to my normal thread? Well, for me rich and success come together. Both are the sum total of your actions. But all actions need guidance or pillars. When I engage with an entrepreneur, I think of the following pointers, that guide me. If I can do all of these things, I go home saying ‘I had a successful day’.
- Create credibility – I demonstrate to my clients that I have the right background, know the right things, and most importantly, I know how to bring the two together for the right outcome. But in building credibility, I am always ready to admit when I don’t know something. I admit it, because I am willing to learn. Sometimes being willing to learn earns you more brownie points than showing you know all.
- Doing the right things – once you are credible, you need to demonstrate that you can do the right things to the right people. You continuously learn how different people react to different stimuli and you either change your approach or prepare for the reaction that will inevitably come. That is experience.
- Doing the right thing at the right time – many comedians will say that being funny is not just about what you say, it is about delivery (how you say it) and timing (when you say it). Life is the same. Just because you have the right answer, does not necessarily make you the best consultant or engineer or entrepreneur. Similarly, if your delivery is condescending or arrogant it will not gain you the success you desire. Lastly, telling someone the correct answer when they don’t need it (either too late or too early) will also not help you achieve your goal
- Being reliable – reliability is about being there for people when they need you. Think about your family, friends, customers, vendors, employees, everyone. If you are not ‘there’ when they need you, you are not reliable. If you sell a product, and the day someone needs that product they cannot find your brand… your relationship with that person gets damaged. Being able to be there for your stakeholders is an important step to success. Reliability is also about doing what you say you will do. No point of saying you will deliver in three weeks and you don’t. Everyone likes and trusts a person who does what he says he will do. Note, just like admitting you don’t know everything makes you credible, saying you cannot do something makes you reliable.
In my mind, having a rich life, is about balancing the above – if you focus too much on credibility, you might become a ‘know-it-all’. If you focus too much on trying to do the right thing, you become risk averse because you don’t want to make mistakes. If you focus about doing things at the right time, you will miss the opportunity. More often than not, those who do the right thing at the right time say ‘It was just instinct’. If you focus too much on being reliable, you will struggle to say ‘No’ and over promise. Similarly, if you try to be there for everybody, you will never be there for yourself.
As an entrepreneur, balancing the various traits must be combined with a balance of your various stakeholders. If you want to be all the above to your vendors, you might overlook your employees or customers.
As you reflect about the year past, you may want to think about your credibility, reliability and connection with various stakeholders. Do you feel that you had a good year? Does your business feel it has achieved what it sought to deliver? There are many elements to a successful enterprise and we are here to help you gain on all fronts. As you go into the new year, remember, an entrepreneur needs to balance the above points to have a fulfilling business. One that gives him or her the satisfaction as they walk in every day. It is not easy, but 3K&L can always help you get there!