by Tom Begley, Jr.
Leading a business is very much like coaching a sports team. The goal is to make people around you better. Just as good coaches develop players, good business leaders develop their key personnel and their staffs. Here is a 10-step program for training others:
- Believe in Yourself. If people believe they can accomplish their goals, they will. If they believe they cannot accomplish their goals, they will not. Success is self-fulfilling prophecy. People tend to want to live in their comfort zones, but comfort zones inhibit growth and frustrate success. The way to break out of the comfort zone is continually to set goals a little higher. A soon as the current goal is achieved, the bar should be raised.
- Be Positive. Everyone in an organization must be positive. Rather than a business person telling a client or customer all of the reasons something cannot be fixed, the business person should explain that the assignment is difficult but that, with skill and perseverance, the client/customer’s goal will be achieved.
- Be Proactive. Anticipate what the client/customer needs and get it done. Anticipate deadlines and opportunities, and act before they become major problems.
- Be a Visionary. Each member of a business organization should have a vision for the future and a roadmap on how to get there.
- Don’t Procrastinate. Time management experts say that the first thing to do each day is to deal with the most difficult problem of that day. Two good things happen: (1) the problem is addressed when the individual is fresh and can best solve it, and (2) the individual feels good the rest of the day, because a tough situation was handled.
- Be Honest. Reputations are built on integrity. Always act ethically and be honest with clients/customers and with other team members. Most of all, be honest with yourself.
- Focus on the Client/Customer. Zig Ziglar says, “The best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.” Too many people focus on the bottom line and miss the entire point, which is to help others. By focusing on the client/customer and what is best for the client/customer, the business person will build a reputation that will be the cornerstone of financial success in the future.
- Develop a Sense of Urgency. Develop of a sense of urgency in meeting client/customer’s needs. Establish internal timelines for managing each project no matter how large or small. Tell the client/customer how long something will take, and then exceed that expectation. Fast delivery of client/customer’s goods and services is WOW. Internal marketing is the best marketing.
- Thrive on Pressure and Deal with Adversity. Pressure energizes us to accomplish more than we believe possible. The key is not to take the pressure home at night. The greatest source of pressure is deadlines. Doing things ahead of time alleviates that pressure. Adversity is different from pressure. Pressure is routine – adversity is more serious. Dealing with adversity makes us stronger.
- Accept the Blame, Share the Credit. We all strive to ensure that things do not go wrong, but inevitably a certain percentage of the time they do. When that happens, accept the blame, apologize to the client/customer, and fix the problem. Don’t blame the problem on other team members. Conversely, when there is success, share the credit. Success is always a team effort.
Thomas D. Begley, Jr., Senior Partner, Begley Law Group
Tom Begley heads the Begley Law Group, which has four offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He has specialties in elder care and disability law as well as trust and estates, and has been widely published, quoted and interviewed in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Business Week. He has received numerous awards for his achievements, rightfully so, especially in the area of supporting the rights of the elderly and disabled.
Tom is a founding member and a past president of the Special Needs Alliance, a national network of attorneys dedicated to serving families of persons with disabilities.
I am honored to have Tom as my guest leader. We were classmates at Georgetown, and I have admired his leadership qualities for a great many years – his interest in helping and serving others, his quiet confidence and composure, and his very effective communication skills, especially asking purposeful questions and listening to understand. Tom is an outstanding leader and person!