Trust lies at the heart of most businesses
There are many case studies and stories about the journey of entrepreneurs and it is remarkably difficult to find common links bar one – character. Not in terms of good character but in terms of resilience and the ability to learn and adapt as one grows.
Often the person that is very good at starting a business is not the person to take it from level 1 to level 2 or level 3 as the skill sets do subtly change. A start up requires many skills that range from a good idea to the hunger and desire to run through a brick wall and win business. Once the business is developing the entrepreneur’s skill set does need to change and adapt because early success does not always translate to later success. The skill set of leading from the front, that originally inspired the business at the start can become the barrier as the business begins to develop and grow. So often entrepreneurs become their own barrier to growth. At that stage the key is to develop systems and structures that can be alien to the entrepreneur but allow not just the business to be well controlled but for employees to begin to grow.
Working with an entrepreneur can be difficult. The entrepreneurial character is naturally driven and often a high achiever. People do want to work with such characters but need a softer, almost half way house that links them to the entrepreneur.
This comes from a good management structure and system that allows a culture to evolve and grow. For the entrepreneur this can be difficult as they need to let go, take a step back and trust others. This is arguably one of the hardest challenges for the entrepreneur as they instinct is to lead and to do.
The success of most great businesses will possess a good team and culture at its heart. Growth requires more than just a good entrepreneur. The entrepreneur can be the inspiration but a culture creates sustainable success. Culture can be a difficult thing to define and as such often talk today is more about technology and systems than culture. However most businesses rely firstly on people to be their differential – in building relationships with customers, in service, in care, in managing a problem when things go wrong. So culture should always lie at the heart.
Returning to the subject of business growth, most CEOs will understand and accept that one of their core roles is to manage scenarios when things go wrong. Successful leaders just accept that the bad will happen each day and the job is simply to handle and solve with as little drama as possible. Most days in leadership is dealing with the good and the bad and the great entrepreneurs do seem to be take setbacks in their stride and still be positive the next day. They are fighters, gladiators – they love the battle and are not afraid of the bad. However they are terrified of what they do not know and this can lead to struggling to let go and to trust – which then goes back full circle to how to develop a strong and good culture.
It is not about right and wrong; it is about teams. Entrepreneurs grow with trusted lieutenants. Sir Alan Sugar has had these clearly with him over the years and often they appear on The Apprentice. Trust in work and business is one of the most important factors to success. Trust within teams; trust in each other and trust with the customer.
Too often today, the world focuses on the technology and information flow – which can be misleading and false. Business is business and success and failure can be most determined by people – so people need to come first. Apart from which great teams and friendships are most people’s best and fondest memories.