10 lessons from 10 years in business

On August 31st, it was the 10 year anniversary for my company – The Leadership Training Workshop Ltd.

After 10 years of leading my own business and helping other business leaders with their development, I would like to share 10 key insights I have found useful and hope they are helpful on your journey too.

This is adapted from my article in the autumn edition of the Institute of Directors magazine.

1.  Your mindset is your foundation

Leaders can possess the greatest skills in strategy, planning, communication skills and other areas, but your mindset can hijack you or support you. Finding ways to manage the more destructive self-talk and thinking (I call this the destructive self) and realise your potential (the potential self) needs proven and consistent strategies.

2.  Know your direction

Your vision needs to be worked on collaboratively with your team, shared with them and kept in mind continually. I suggest you focus on a 3 year vision for where you want to be in each key area of your business, then drill down to 1 year and finally 90 days. The 3 year vision can be more aspirational and a time to think big! Your 90 day plans should be specific and realistic. Everyone should know and commit to the direction of travel.

3.  Work on developing your identity

Both in terms of the leader you aspire to be (your values, habits and the styles you will employ) and the identity for your organisation. This work will drive your behaviours and those of your team.

4.  Work on your habits and behaviours

These include your daily behaviours, but also regular habits like reviewing your strategy, looking at key measures for the business, keeping on top of the financials and the point below. My most effective daily habit is to always plan the next day at the end of the previous day.

5.  Plan every day in advance

Leading on from number 4, at the end of each day I plan my next day. Don’t allow yourself to become too reactive, especially with the myriad of emails hitting your inbox. Plan your day and allocate time for the important areas that are not urgent, like strategy and planning.

6.  Have quality time with your people

This means both team meetings and 121s for your key reports. Make this purposeful and time box these meetings with a clear agenda and outcomes. Ensure your people know and are accountable for their objectives and tasks. Also take time to praise your people for jobs well done.

7.  Develop and nurture your contacts

It can provide support, potential suppliers and opportunities. Always look to help others and come from a place of service. One day the positive energy will come back to you in some way.

8.  Take time out for creativity and knowledge

On a regular basis, ensure you have time (ideally away from the normal office environment) to allow for some physical and psychological space. It is in the quiet that you have your best ideas. Stimulate this with some good reading and training.

9.  Never neglect life outside work

Your work as a leader can be incredibly rewarding, but sometimes too consuming. Don’t ever neglect your family, your friends, your health and the things outside work that mean a lot to you.

10.  Celebrate the good stuff and learn from the mistakes

Every day I capture at least 5 good things about the day. When really good stuff happens take time out (with your people) to celebrate this and see the progress and growth. When things go wrong, individually and collectively look at this as a learning opportunity and take the key points as reference for the future.

And on that subject, that is what I did on September 1st. I had lunch and a few cocktails with my fiancée Rebecca to celebrate 10 years in business!

I hope you find at least one of these tips useful. If you would like to explore any of them in more detail, drop me a line or give me a call.

Finally, if you would like any support with your Leadership journey, contact me on 07912 143040 or email me at tony@theleadershiptrainingworkshop.com.