Saturday, November 16, 2013

Small Business Leadership 101: Re-Examine Your Core Values

Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.
~Rosabeth Moss Kanter ~ 

As a small business owner, I know the excitement that comes with implementing a service and/or product that you believe will create value in the lives of others. I know what it feels like when business sales don’t happen as fast as I want and feeling overwhelmed by obstacles that seem to delay my ability to manifest my desired reality. The days and the life of a small business owner is not for the faint of heart. The 20+ years I worked in the hospitality industry taught me the importance of professional development and how it actually builds your fortitude to stay the course to realizing goals.

My recent participation in a branding course helped me to see how important it is to re-examine my personal core values and the core values of my business. Taking part in this exercise helped me to see how the actions I was implementing to grow my business were aligned with my personal and business core values and where they were not. And for the primary purpose of the course, identifying the values being communicated by my branding activities. Needless to say, I’ve got to initiate a re-branding campaign.

The insights gained from several exercises during this course led me to make the decision to change the name of my company from the Say So Media Group to Step Into Greatness Training and Consulting. I am currently contacting different service providers regarding costs of services that will help me initiate a rebranding of my business in 2014. Re-examining my personal and business core values led to the insight of how my branding and marketing messages have not represented my passion and sense of purpose for helping organizations deliver legendary service, improve productivity and increase their revenues and profit margins by developing, at all levels, the leadership capacity of an organization.

Prior to this branding course, I’d attended several business meetings and training which sparked memories of specific tasks, responsibilities and experiences about why I was so passionate about business when I worked in the hospitality industry. I realized that outside of my faith in God, developing leadership skills changed the trajectory of my life. I started as a minimum wage worker with Marriott hotels and became an award-winning leader of winning teams and the General Manager of a million dollar plus hotel for the company. After resigning from Marriott, I went on to manage several million dollar restaurant businesses.

Business allowed me to see that leadership is not about a title or authority. Effective leadership influences positive change. It creates paradigm shifts and helps people to see that they are smarter and stronger than they think. It provides opportunities for growth and success. It has the power to elevate the quality of life of those around you. Leadership is critical to the success of our families, businesses, schools and colleges, religious and professional organizations and political affiliations. It is critical to our ability to navigate rewarding relationships and satisfying lives. Effective leadership has the power to change our lives and the world.
Re-examining my core values and aligning my actions through the delivery of services and products that reflect my unique ability and experiences helps me to better position my company for growth and success. I can’t control what my competition is doing. I control how I show up and deliver on what I can do best.

Now that I’ve re-examined my personal and business core values and identified my top five values and what they will look like and feel like for my ideal business customers, I am much more enthusiastic about the value my company can contribute in the lives of individuals and organizations.

There's no better time like the present to review the fundamentals of your business to ensure that you are operating in a manner that is aligned with your personal and business core values. 

The following five questions are simple and thought provoking. They will help you determine if your present actions represent the fundamentals key to consistently delivering your business core values.

v  What is your mission? Why is it that your organization exists in the first place? What are you trying to accomplish for your customers? What are your core values driving your company’s mission? Why are these particular core values critical to your company’s mission?

v  Who is your customer? Describe your ideal customer. Describe an ideal work day that you would experience with your ideal customer. Why would your customer be elated over this experience? How does your ideal work day align with your personal and business core values?

v  What does your customer value? What is it that you do especially well that you are uniquely suited to provide to your customers? How can you exceed the standards set by your competition? How does your business core values give you a competitive advantage?

v  How do you measure success? In what way is your definition for success a representation of your personal and business core values? How will your definition of success translate into value for your customers?

v  What is your plan to grow your business? By re-examining the alignment of your personal and business core values, what actions do you need to take reach your desired business outcomes in 2014? What additional knowledge, skills and resources will you need to make this happen? What are the key performance indicators you will use to measure your progress?

Hopefully, these questions will help you reevaluate your business activities so you can determine what you will need to do to win and keep customers. One of the benefits of managing a small business is the fact that you can be flexible in your approach towards the achievement of your desired business outcomes. Focusing your time and energy in areas of strength while outsourcing or delegating those tasks that are not your forte unleashes your mental, emotional and physical energies.

Improving any business performance begins with the effectiveness of its leadership. Your effectiveness in growing your business is largely due to what you choose to do and what you choose not to do. What you choose to do or what you choose not to do reflects your core values.

I’d like to know what you think. How has re-examining your personal and business core values helped you determine which activities you need to fine tune in order to grow your business, in a way that is authentic to you? Share your comments below.

If this article has provided you with value, I would appreciate you sharing it with your network. Thank you.

Until next time…

Step Into Greatness!

Jackie B