Enterprise failure is leadership failure. This is my personal belief and experience too. In an environment where entrepreneurial spirit is growing fast, it becomes imperative for us to analyze the causes of failure. This is similar to risk analysis. Failure can come in several disguises. At times success can also follow failure if not maintained right. And failure after success is more painful. Thus, an individual as a business leader and as an owner of a startup project should take note of the foregoing to join the coveted list of successful entrepreneurs.
Respect business hours: A business leader should never make his team unduly wait for his audience or allow communication gaps. The habits of working beyond office hours, going unavailable during crucial moments, and disregard to the personal time of the team members are some of the discouraging practices that affect the working spirit of your team.
Clarity is every thing: Ambiguity and indecisiveness can mean lurking risk. Ensure that you have absolute clarity for every ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ you deliver. Don’t yield yourself to a specific situation out of obligation or pending confirmation of dependent facts. Don’t also allow swinging moods or thoughts which could fuel the operational inconsistency jeopardizing the business progress. When you are faced with conflicting opinions or numerous opinions weigh your decision taking the help of professionals or professional tools. This will save you from possible trying situations in future.
Be business wise: Never act prerogative to over rule or ignore project metrics. Believe in analytics and respect facts and figures even if they present an unpleasant picture in a given situation. It is easy to take things for granted but will be very difficult when it comes to bearing the bad consequences.
Nurture professional identity: Stand for the honest, transparent, value driven, and complementing culture, duly honoring the commitments and promises made to stakeholders. Your personal stature and professional conduct largely influences the sustenance and growth of your venture.
Never holdback resources with intent of saving: When your business demands certain resources be it time, team members, consulting expertise, money or other infrastructure, spare it as planned and never start projects without ensuring these things either. We can’t churn out relishing dishes with scarce ingredients.
Don’t interfere with the functional style of team members: Understand the core strength and working style of your team. Never interfere in their functional style or resort to constant follow-up. No two leaders will approach an issue in the same style. Freedom, empowerment, and delegation are the most required elements for successful productivity.
Maintain calm and composed attitude: It is highly conducive to arrive at conclusions with a calm and composed attitude. Intolerance, emotional outbursts, and hasty inferences on important issues will mean big damage. This will reflect you weak in the minds of your team.
Listen without bias: Listening to others is the most important trait of any leader. At the same time don’t give prominence or encourage eavesdropping and whispers. A team member with this habit will become a big nuisance some time later. Also never dislike any thing or any one. Dislike is the first hurdle in learning process and leader should be a constant learner.
Trust every one knowing when and whom to mistrust: Build trust in your team. Inculcate the intelligence to read in between lines when situation demands. Don’t wear the attitude of mistrusting every one. Mistrust produces counter measures.
Boss is the primitive word: In any working environment every one should be given specific responsibility and be empowered with relevant authority to achieve designated tasks. An entrepreneur as a true business leader should never feel himself / herself above board at least overtly. Be friendly with your team giving them required space to interact with you. A business leader should be a solution provider and problem solver first to his team and then to other stakeholders.
Ignorance is not bliss in business: Keep yourself abreast of things in your business line. It could be any or all of the areas like technical, market related, team related, growth related, company documentation or about the evolving innovations in the line.
Know the benefits of technology: Be open to introduce technology tools to increase your business performance or accelerate business growth. It could be your web identity, an ERP product, or customer support infrastructure. Exploit the social networking platform to expose your entrepreneur profile and build personal branding.
Invite change: Many entrepreneurs remain themselves static when it comes to expansion or growth. They are content with the achieved self-sustenance and like to continue even for decades. However, a true leader should always hold big picture and invite any change required in this direction. At times the change could be towards improvement of present environment or changing your functional style. You should move ahead strategically, leveraging the benefits of core competence, expertise and present net worth.
Greed is voracious and if not controlled will even eat you: Business should always be a win-win contract. You can earn only when you allow others earn out of you. Don’t try to milk the cow beyond the last drop.
Respect, respect, and respect: When we respect others we excel ourselves. Respect brings in the best reciprocal value. This reflects our individual culture. So don’t be biased as to whom you will respect or who not. An employee at the lowest rung to an external stakeholder, every one is equally important in the business. Every business must conduct itself with an attitude akin to hospitality industry. Love and respect should be proactive feelings and should never be limited by barriers.
One man army: If you are the lonely team member in your business setup, you can have collaborators and partners as an extended and external team. Collaborative productivity is more powerful and instills better confidence in the stakeholders. Be socially active so that you can build an excellent team as you progress in your stride.
Resist temptations: Don’t indulge in any such thing that can cause a blemish to your character, professional image or future prospects. Resist them at the very sprout. It could be to amass sudden gains through unethical means or get entangled in relations that could bring embarrassment at a later time.
Restrain family involvement: Unless it is professionally relevant, an entrepreneur should never involve his family members in the business matters. At the same time, the personal side of yours should never affect the business matters. Don’t allow your personal problems impact the business affairs.
Nurture big picture: I quote here one of the tweets I came across on Twitter “If you are dreaming, dream big” (apologies, I will not be able to provide immediate reference as to who said it). Dreams are the first sprouts for your growth. Plan to achieve your ambitions and make your dreams true. Document your dreams and ambitions so that you can develop them into an action plan.
Enjoy criticism: Critics are our well wishers. Criticism is a tool to achieve refinement. Accept it with humility wherever it is genuine. Allow it silently even if it was unreasonable and respond appropriately. Criticism may not always come from expected or deserved sources. Still it is an exercise made by others on your behalf and for your benefit.
Contribute to social causes: Society gives you business. What are you giving back to society?
Once you raise an enterprise and connect with several stakeholders, you are socially responsible to nourish it healthy. When it fails it would mean a loss to several stakeholders including the very employees who worked for it. That way, an entrepreneur should always guard himself first, so as to ensure his enterprise flourish and enjoy social pride.