Get to know the people in your company. I walk through our building, I visit every facility we have around the world a number of times throughout the year and I get to know our people as much as I can. It’s not so much to give advice or to preach or anything like that, but just to let them know I’m there. If they have questions or concerns, I’m there to answer them.
It’s funny People say, ‘You have a lot of people working for you,’ and that’s weird, because I feel more like I have a lot of people I work for. At the end of the day, I’m only going to be effective if they’re all effective. Making them effective and making them do their jobs better is the most important thing that I can do.
At the end of the day, the most important asset a company has is really the people. The people are not machines. They’re human beings. It’s important that they realize the same of you as a leader.
You’re going to make mistakes every once in awhile, because you’re also a human being. Getting that personal element and getting that interaction and having a relationship with people is critical. Otherwise they will just see you as some sort of inanimate object that is sitting there in a corner office and making all of these cold-hearted decisions, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Trust your instinct. Common sense is important, and we have learned that a number of times. We have hired a lot of the ‘experts’ out there, and those experts are experts at one thing and a lot of times, it’s being consultants and billing you. They are great at billing you.
At the end of the day, if something does not make sense, if something does not add up to you and an expert is telling you, ‘You just don’t understand’ you have to question that. There have been times where we have just blindly followed, and most of the times that I have blindly followed something, especially when I don’t understand why I’m following it, I end up getting burned. It’s always good to question the experts and question what is going on.
Don’t stop at thinking out of the box. The old saying is ‘thinking out of the box,’ which is another way of saying being creative.
If it wasn’t for creativity, we’d be selling commodities. Selling commodities is trench warfare. We much prefer the blitzkrieg. We avoid trench warfare any way we can, and we always like an unfair advantage.
Thinking around the box means you’re not the only one thinking out of the box. A lot of times, your competitors are trying to think out of the box, as well. Thinking around the box means thinking in terms of not only what you can do but also what your competitors are doing. It’s basically a situational analysis of what you’re doing and what the next steps are. What’s around the corner? What’s around the next corner after that?
Nothing ever seems to happen the way you think it will. If you’re in a competitive business like we are, it’s like a game of chess. You’re going to make one move and, trust me, your competitors are going to make another, and they’re not going to do exactly what you think.
It sounds like it’s paralysis by analysis, but it’s not that at all. It’s just a way of thinking to make sure you don’t fall down a slippery slope where either you became the victim of your own strategy or you became the willing victim of your competitor’s strategy, and neither is good.
Don’t count on getting lucky. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. If you don’t know where you’re going and you just head off in a direction, you might get lucky. But good business leaders don’t grow their businesses by getting lucky.
There’s a component of luck in everything, and there is some truth in the old saying, ‘I’d rather be lucky than good,’ but you really need to know where you’re going. The only way you’re going to really know where you’re going is to have a goal in mind. I’m very goal-oriented, and I love to know where the goal is and push to the finish.
You have to be driven to succeed if you hope to be successful. There are a lot of businesses you really don’t have to be creative in, and it’s really a matter of execution. There are a lot of businesses that aren’t so people-oriented, so the humanistic side of business is not all that important.
There are a lot of different types of businesses, but the one thing you find in every single successful leader is the desire to succeed in any way that’s possible. Sometimes you climb over the fence and sometimes you crawl under it, but at the end of the day, as long as you get on the other side and you haven’t breached anybody’s ethics or done anything wrong, that’s all that counts.
HOW TO REACH: Discus Dental Inc., (310) 845-8600 or www.discusdental.com