The #1 Personal Quality for Success in Business21 October 2019
As a business owner or manager, what’s the most important personal quality you must have to be successful?
Reflecting upon my own experience in business, I think one quality stands above them all: commitment.
To me, commitment means never giving up on finding a way to win and executing on that plan until the goal has been achieved. It’s a dogged determination to see it through, to stay the course and be willing to do what it takes to succeed.
But I know, it’s hard to be fully committed to your business.
The external environment is forever changing, threats are ubiquitous, and our own personal lives become a priority at some point; especially when kids are in the scene or your marriage is at stake.
Sometimes staying committed in business can feel like holding up a dam wall with your bare hands.
The death spiral
My business lost a lot of money in 2012, and I mean a LOT.
After riding high with some early years of success, the ‘house of cards’ came crashing down as I encountered difficult projects, problematic staff, and inadequate systems that couldn’t support growth. My company was spiraling out of control and our losses for the financial year were near-fatal.
Until one night I asked myself: should I cut my losses and quit?
That night I drafted a survival plan.
During the next three months, it seemed daily our future was held in the balance: would we win that project? Would our clients pay us on time? Would our suppliers keep faith? It was a white-knuckle ride.
Thankfully, we made it through.
However, it took another two years of grinding hard work to recoup our losses and build the people and systems required to move the company forward.
From there we took off like a rocket, ranking within the Australian Financial Review’s BRW Fast 100 growing companies for 2015, 2016 and 2017. More importantly, we posted record year-on-year profit growth and established a credible brand within the market.
In all business failures, owners choose to end the business or they are forced to.
Sometimes ceasing trade makes sense. After all, there’s no point in throwing good money after bad. But when I talk about commitment, I don’t mean continuing on with ‘blind faith’ and ignoring reality.
True commitment means doing whatever it takes to:
- Identify issues early and implement solutions at the root cause
- Gain the knowledge, experience, resources, and relationships needed to execute well
- Be transparent and bring everyone in your company with you (let people help)
- Maintain your optimism and intensity until the battle is won
At some point in any business failure, owners and managers have fallen down in one or more of these points and time has run out. That’s why they eventually give up.
So, if you’re faced with an existential threat in your business, can you say that you are truly committed? During hard times, I am forever asking myself this.
I hope for you the answers yes. If not, it’s never too late.