In today’s fast-paced world, the only constant is change. Technology is developing faster than we can learn how to use it, long-established companies are feeling the heat from digital savvy newcomers, and jobs are being created and/or restructured faster than workers with appropriate skills can be recruited to fill them. In the 30 years that I have been an entrepreneur, I have watched trends change and technology advance, but while the mechanics of business success have evolved, the foundation has remained the same. Here are 5 universal business truths that I believe will stand the test of time:
- Fixing a problem starts with clearly identifying it.
A quote that I often reflect upon comes from one of the best problem solvers of the 20th century. Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Rushing to provide solutions to problems you don’t fully grasp is a recipe for and may result in time and resources being spent to solve the wrong problem. Successful and innovative business leaders take the time to examine and completely understand issues before acting on them and to identify the nature of a problem before solving it. They ask the right questions to eventually uncover the answers needed to solve the problem.
- Diversity of thinking enables us to “think big and bold”.
Our thinking is shaped by our backgrounds, experiences, and personalities and is sharpened by our interactions with people who are different from us and have had diverse experiences. By being open to new ideas and listening to the voices of those who don’t think as we do, we enhance our problem-solving skills and grow in ways that would not be possible without these exposures.
- There is value in the process.
While I do encourage impromptu actions among my Northridge colleagues when appropriate, I also recognize the value of a consistent process. As we increase our service offerings and add clients to our roster, we frequently add new leaders and support staff to our team. Out of necessity, we have developed a Northridge process that ensures our clients experience consistent Northridge quality and branding from all our consultants across all our projects and deliverables. This has led to repeat business and requests for additional services from satisfied clients.
- Don’t let your problem become someone else’s.
When we are busy with numerous projects, the stress of sustaining high performance and meeting deadlines can easily be passed on to team members and even clients if we are not careful. However, in the interest of maintaining strong relationships with clients and colleagues, it is important that we not allow our issues and conflicts to become problems for them. Being forthcoming with project updates and proactive about upcoming deadlines helps us maintain professional standards and promote problem-free, longstanding relationships with clients and colleagues.
- Personal reflection is critical to making us the best we can be.
Throughout my career, I have made it a priority to take time each day for self-reflection. This gives me the opportunity to contemplate my thoughts, my personal development, my successes and the areas in which I need to improve. As a leader, I choose to teach by example. Building accountability into my daily routine helps me maximize my personal success and inspire others to be successful.
While trends may come and go, certain business truths remain consistent. Understanding and implementing these five universal truths has helped me be the best leader I can be and might help you be the best leader you can be in the years to come.