The terms ‘commitment’ and ‘loyalty’ bring to mind a lot of different perspectives for people in business: the terms are most often used in relationship to the hiring and retention of good employees, and also in reference to gaining and growing a faithful and sustainable customer base.
Seldom are these terms used in reference to the owner or executive of a business. But the truth is, commitment and loyalty to your own company, its mission, and the vision you had when you began, is one of the requirements of successful business, part of the process, the obligation, and ongoing challenge.
“Something in human nature causes us to start slacking off at our moment of greatest accomplishment. As you become successful, you will need a great deal of self-discipline not to lose your sense of balance, humility, and commitment.” – Ross Perot
Tough customers, complaints, scheduling and production problems, and slipping service standards, are all potential plagues for the average executive. If you forget the vision, or the vision no longer fits the market reality, it’s time for change.
Can you reinvent your business? Sometimes it’s necessary when the market changes, or when you suddenly realize there are opportunities you may be missing. Think about the photography industry, with tremendous changes in the past 10 – 15 years (think Eastman-Kodak versus Canon, and the conversion from film to digital imaging); or look at the new methods of communication now that were not around 10 years ago, (think Skype, Facetime, What’s App) and how that has affected the land line phone industry; and, how online access to books and advertising have changed forever the publishing industry. Those companies that saw the future coming were much more likely to survive these market transitions. Now ask yourself how you are managing the digital marketing for your company, Facebook and website design. It takes courage and commitment to deal with all the changes.
Maintaining your passion for your business is a challenge that every business owner and executive struggles with at some point or another. In order to maintain a level of energy to feed the commitment and loyalty to your business, you need to be attending to today and, thinking ahead, holding the vision, anticipating what is coming down the pike.
You have to stay ahead of the proverbial curve, to anticipate changes in the marketplace that you serve, and deal effectively with the challenges when changes happen in your own or other industries that affect your business.
The best way to manage it all is to focus your attention forward on the vision and future; see problems as simple barriers to be managed or opportunities for change that benefit that vision. And if you have employees, use the talent you hired. You don’t have to do it all alone.
“Cherish your vision and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napoleon Hill
There are always downturns in business – in every business. They can be short or extended. They are simply indicators that your business has to change up something to survive. This is when you need to step back and take a broader look at what is happening in your field, regardless of your field of business. It may require restructuring; something that requires a huge level of commitment and loyalty to the business. Those who have been there can tell you. But once you have identified that solution, envision the future you want and rebuild the business into something that can be sustained. Holding the vision will take you where you want to go, and help sustain your energy for the commitment and loyalty needed.
If you have employees, the commitment you made when you hired them was to provide them with a sustainable employment -part time or full time. If you fail to sustain the business, you fail them. If you expect your employees to be loyal and committed to the company, you must lead by example. People know when you are committed and when you are not. When you lose your drive, rest assured, you will begin to see similar symptoms among the staff and managers. If you have worked in more than one organization, you have likely experienced this.
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar
As a business owner, someone who took the plunge, you are among those born to win, but it takes committing fully – 100% to the vision. Just talking about persevering is not enough, although, as we talked about in another article and as many highly successful entrepreneurs and business people have observed, perseverance is an absolute requirement.
What works to sustain the effort, your commitment and loyalty to the business or company you built, acquired or grew into?Continually have the big dream in front of you. Paying attention to the vision over the day-to-day problems or issues is one way. Beyond that…
Look objectively at your strengths. Evaluate your weaknesses. Assess the obstacles, and opportunities. Identify and name the problem. Plan and take action.
Ascertain which news vehicles you must scan to stay abreast of innovation in and around your industry.
Constantly seek new information and learning to keep your enthusiasm front and center and your approaches fresh. There is much online. A coach can help you sort through what is available and what is worth your time.
Join and use community clubs, professional organizations, business organizations and groups. This one is a must. It is difficult enough to find new clients, but find them you must in order to grow your business. A large number of referrals still come through this type of networking, despite all the online buzz.
Most important: Talk and mix with other business owners and executives; here is an opportunity to talk with people who often face what you face in business. Being able to share both problems and potential solutions is a huge bonus. Two heads are always better than one. Having people around you who understand what your position and responsibilities entail is vital.
Ensuring you have the proper supports in place help ensure that you can maintain the level of energy, commitment, and loyalty to your dream, your company. Put those supports in place now. Don’t wait. Don’t fall victim to the “I don’t have time” meme. This is part of slowing down to speed up and win. And if you are still struggling, commit to your business by hiring support that can help you redirect your efforts.