Inc., The Magazine for Growing Companies (October 2011), has an interesting story, “The Don’t-Do Lists.” Jennifer Alsever and Adam Bluestein asked 16 business leaders and experts to share their own don’t-do lists.
Inspired by the story, I created my list of what a business leader absolutely must NOT do. What do you avoid at all costs? In no particular order, here is my list:
- Don’t promise what you know you cannot deliver. In my case, I would not promise to sing the national anthem at an Atlanta Braves baseball game. Frankly, I would not offer to sing anything at any event. I have it on good authority that I cannot deliver. However, I can make a joyful noise.
- Don’t exhaust yourself and those around you getting every minute detail before making a decision. You never can know everything.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of the little things. Recently I visited the office of a multi million-dollar business. The small bits of trash on the floor and dust piled high in the corners made me wonder about the quality of their work.
- Don’t disregard the ideas and opinions that differ from your perspective. As a member of small church preparing to call a new minister, I suspect we will have many opportunities to practice appreciation and acceptance.
- Don’t over invest in employees that consistently demonstrate a bad attitude or lack of talent for the job you pay them to do. I called to make an appointment at a business that caters to upscale clients. I know this because of what I pay for the service. The receptionist almost seemed inconvenienced by my call to make an appointment.
- Don’t isolate yourself from understanding the operational side of the business. High-level strategies as well as day-to-day operations are key to building a successful business. Strike a good balance.
- Don’t make a sales call or a presentation without thorough preparation. Winging does not work for me. Thorough preparation increases my confidence. I have more fun and can listen attentively to others.
- Don’t agonize about failures. Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, advocates celebrating mistakes by exclaiming, “How fantastic!” Celebrate failures. They are stepping-stones in your success.
- Don’t stop learning. A hallmark of successful entrepreneurs is life long learning. Do you make investments in you and your team to improve skills and find new ways of serving your customers?
- Don’t assume you know how your business is doing. Keeping track of your key performance indicators (KPI) gives an up to date view of what is working and what is not working. Regularly monitor and track the indicators of success that are unique to your business.
By now you have discovered that the don’t do-list can be converted to the “Absolutely Must Do-List.” Turn it around. Now you have a guide of useful tools to implement in your business now. What is on your list?
© 2011 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved
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