Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
“What is the first thing we must do in order to be a category of ONE,” I asked. Everyone in the room had the answer. Or so they thought.
I had just rode into town with my black hat on and destroyed their idea of strategic planning. Each member of this committee came with ideas as to how they could beat their newest competitor and reclaim their rightful place as the market leader. Some of them prepared their data for more than three months and I had blown it all up in the space of two minutes.
Through answering a couple of careful questions, the room was beginning to understand that their solution was not going to come from focusing on their competitor. The old model of doing what their competitors were doing, only better, was now seen as only a bandage on a broken bone. It could cover the wound, but it wouldn’t fix what was wrong.
In revealing these hard truths I introduced the concept of being a category of ONE or C1 business. This methodology takes the old focus of being number one in your category and turns it on its head. Instead of just being better than the others that do the same thing as you… you separate from the pack and stand on your own.
So far, it wasn’t a hard sell. What they were doing wasn’t working for them and their interest was high. The soil was ready. As their hired gun, aka: consultant, I was about to introduce them to something I knew none of them had ever done in a board room setting. I had a chance to look brilliant or get ran out of town.
“If you want to become a category of ONE, a C1 company, what is the first thing we must do?”
The answers were a smattering of marketing strategies, operational jargon, and product research. They had caught on that we weren’t focusing on the competition though. The closest answer was, “We have to become more entrepreneurial. Our thinking is too corporate.”
“You are absolutely right. We must become more entrepreneurial, but that isn’t the first thing we must do,” I answered. They were thoroughly confused now. “In order to be a C1 company, we first have to discover why WE are here in the first place.”
Cue the pin drop…
I went on to explain that being entrepreneurial isn’t something you do, it’s something you are. It’s a mindset. The difference between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs is whether or not they have their mindset fully developed and engaged.
When I begin working with entrepreneurs, business owners, or executives the first order of business is to determine what they want from their life… not their business. To have sustainable success in business you have to start with the type of life you want. My question for them is, “What do you want your life to look like?”Once we know what they want in and from their lives, we turn our attention to how their business can best support that life. We make decisions about structure, staff, delivery models, and more based on how the entrepreneur wants their life to look. It might not happen instantly, but everything moves in the right direction.
Most people come at it from the exact opposite direction. They focus on growing their businesses to the detriment of their lives. Then, when the business is moving, they try to fit the remainder of their life around their business.
The trouble is that they’ve become consumed. Happiness and fulfillment are things for “someday” when I’ve reached a certain point. The business becomes the reason for the business and people start dropping from burnout. Doesn’t it make sense that the business will show the effects of this lack of purpose?
When entrepreneurs know why they show up everyday and what role their business plays in life, they don’t burnout. The business is treated with the respect and attention it deserves, but not at the expense of their family, friends, or personal fulfillment. When a company is ran by purposeful, fulfilled people… the customers feel it too.
On a corporate level the same things apply. Those at the top must have an awareness of why they are showing up. What is the purpose of their jobs, this company, in their lives? Are they in roles with responsibilities that support a life of their choosing? Or, have they let social ambition call the shots? The trickle down effect into the rest of the company is staggering.
Imagine a multinational corporation where every manager knew why they were there and why each person in their charge showed up. Yes, everyone shows up for a paycheck, but what does that paycheck represent to them? What would happen if those managers helped those they manage find the value of showing up and giving their 100%?
They would be on their way to becoming a C1. That’s what would happen.
Why are you in business? Why do you show up to your job everyday? To become a C1 you must determine what you want your life to look like. Then begin making decisions and shaping your business to support your desired life. An overnight solution? No. An exercise that begins to separate you from pit of competition? You decide and sound off.