As a leader of an organisation, I am often asked: 'What does it take to be successful?' 'What are the three most important lessons you have learnt?' These questions always make me think of the same answer 'Have a Balanced Approach' in all that you do, it isn't rocket science but it works in the world of business as a pretty good 'rule of thumb'. As business people we are faced with contradictory advice on a daily basis, for example I often hear the following words;
'Stick to your principles, don't stray too far from what you believe in' against 'be flexible, think outside the box'. Which piece of advice does a leader follow to support both business growth and leadership development? If you choose the first, you may have a stagnant organisation with little room for innovation and creativity. If you choose the other you may be straying from the very thing that makes the business successful. Therefore, flexibility is key. Keep at the forefront of your mind what your overarching objective is but remain flexible in terms of how you arrive at it.
'Take Risks, try something new, don't be afraid of failure' against 'only take calculated risks, don't make the same mistake twice'. Risk taking can only be based upon a balanced set of objectives being constantly reviewed, so why do many leaders shy away from taking risks? In my experience all 'risk' has some 'un-known' outcomes but if you are committed and agile in your solutions you can usually weather the storm of any unknown outcomes without too much chaos to either the project or the team.
'Never give up' against 'know when to stop'. There are many sources of inspiration in the business world of leaders who didn't 'give up' after their first business idea/solution failed, which then went on to run highly successful businesses. Equally, we hear of the flip side. The important thing to remember is to listen to your gut feeling and balance it against the opinion of those around you. Sometimes you can be too close to something to see the obvious answer or perhaps acknowledge it. Therefore, listening to people you trust can ensure you're making the right decisions at the right time.
In all of the these examples I have learnt as a leader to have a 'balanced view' which often means talking to team members, subject matter experts, mentors to help me gain a wider perspective on an issue. Working as a leader of an organisation and succeeding in business is rarely done as a 'solo' journey, surrounding yourself with good people always seems to work!
I believe that succeeding in business is all about being 'balanced'...- in our thoughts and our actions. Sometimes contradictions are positive!