Monday, April 10, 2017

Lessons That You Could Learn the Easy Way

Lessons that you could learn the easy way
In business and in life, there are generally two ways to learn just about anything: see what has happened to those who have gone before and absorb the lessons, or learn the hard way, by taking a loss and recovering. Each lesson offers new opportunities, and each mistake might close a door that would be better left open.

Focus on what only you can do. A lot of leaders, especially younger leaders, try to do too much of what they know needs to be done, and they don’t invest enough time doing the things only they can do. As a leader, one of your primary goals should be to build a team to do the things you should not be doing, so you can focus on doing only what you can do.

When you can, buy time. Early on, one of the most consequential decisions you will make is what to do and what to pay someone else to do. Look at what it costs to buy time back by looking at the cost of various mundane tasks that must be done … but not by you. Laundry, cleaning, filing, paperwork … look at the time comparison: how much do you lose by doing it yourself versus how much would it cost to pay someone else to do it.

If you don’t have the cash flow to pay an accountant or a personal assistant, look into software that can save you time by quickly and easily managing your books, payroll, marketing, and social media. You have to do this stuff, but you don’t need to do it the old way.

When exploring a topic or a situation, don’t seek knowledge, seek understanding. Ask fewer “how” questions and more “why” questions. As the boss, “why” will always be more your job than “how.” You can always hire and train “how” but you are the only one who really understands why.
Improve your ability to effectively communicate “why.” While you are the originator of why, you should not be the only one who carries this knowledge. Your team needs to understand not only what they’re doing but also why they’re doing it.

Learn to fail on your feet. As the leader of your organization, you don’t have the option of letting a setback take you off your feet and keep you down. You need to learn how to take missteps and mistakes and bad beats the way a heavyweight takes a punch and refuses to go down. When you keep on your feet, you are able to recover and move forward faster. This isn’t about being “tough,” it’s more about being smart, agile, and resourceful. You need to be able to accept the lesson and move past the failure without dwelling.

Focus on relationships, rather than accolades. While atta boys and awards are nice, at this stage of the game, forming relationships is much more vital to your sustained success.

David Milberg is a credit analyst in NYC.

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