"The first basic ingredient of leadership is a guiding vision.
The leader has a clear idea of what he wants to do--professionally
and personally--and the strength to persist in the face of setbacks, even failures."
-- Warren Bennis
This quote holds clear meaning to me now, having been in business for myself for some years now. Now I think that of all the things that are critical to success of an enterprise, it is having a guiding vision--not just of the company or business enterprise, but personally. Jim Rohn, a person I have studied for many years said it well, "Of all the things that can have an effect on your future, I believe personal growth is the greatest. We can talk about sales growth, profit growth, asset growth, but all of this probably will not happen without personal growth."
I'm way down the road in looking at our company, while cognizant of what is happening today. I see where it may go, where I may want to go. I say want, because I am not hung up on firm destinations, for I have learned that better destinations can be found by being flexible about the outcome. Enjoying the journey then becomes the most logical and effective daily habit.
Indeed, the vision should be enhanced by others too. A company is not one person generally, so more people can add more input and it can be amazing how that affects the travel. Or, it may just affect your own thinking that they has you leading the company in a new direction.
I am reading business books all the time and have for many years. It's not that I'm trying to figure out how to do business. I already know a good deal about that, but I am trying to be open to new ideas, new twists, old ideas renewed from the X-files--in other words: inspiration! There is nothing so special as inspiration in business, or in personal life for that matter. It is a joyous experience and I want it as often as possible. Besides, it moves me forward pretty steadily.
So, personal growth is a key element in my thinking. I remember one of Jim Rohn's quotes, where he asks, "how may years do you want your child to be in the third grade?" His answer was of course, one. But, I look at that and people I've seen who spent many years in a certain grade, or place by avoiding personal development. Business owners can be that way too. They go into business all excited and grow the thing in their first year, and then perhaps they repeat that over and over for the next ten years.
How about looking at it this way: How would you feel if you found out that your doctor graduated medical school and then never read a book afterward? He just kept doing the same things over and over again. You would probably being looking for a doctor who wanted to keep learning, right?
I see the vision thing and the learning thing tied so closely together that it is so hard to tell one from the other.
Want to try some books to help re-energize your vision? I highly recommend these:
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins, The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie, any book by Seth Godin, and any book by Jeffrey Gitomer, and especially Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless. If you want more titles, let me know and I'll be happy to get you a list.