Every leader dreams of building a growing, successful and sustainable business.
Likewise, employees, suppliers, partners and others dream of being part of the same experience.
However, very few people realise the dream or benefit of being part of a positive and rewarding journey. In a work life of say, 30 years, many individuals will be lucky to be part of a successful and inspiring business, even once in their lifetime.
Employees nowadays realise this, and are more selective than they have ever been before regarding their choice of employer. Having a job isn’t a primary consideration.
Being part of something special is much more important to them in making their decision to commit their talent and time to an organisation.
This is great news for small businesses.
For the first time in a generation or more, ambitious entrepreneurs and leaders have an advantage over their counterparts in other well established medium and large-scale organisations.
Creating a great journey that will inspire others is critical to maximising this new found people opportunity
The following 10 points will help you to understand the significance of the journey.
1. Business success is achieved by great leadership. Great leaders create great journeys that others want to be part of. Think of an entrepreneur or business leader you most admire and you will find their success has involved a great journey.
2. Journeys are important and are part of all of us. We spend most of our lives on a journey to somewhere, whether a change of location, a career path, even a new relationship. Individuals love journeys and there is no greater workplace experience than a great business journey led by a great leader.
3. Talented individuals actively seek out great journeys. Working with a small organisation is viewed as a more intimate, challenging, exciting, rewarding and inspirational work experience particularly when the business is headed up by an ambitious leader.
4. Great journeys start with a great leader and involve the development of a vision for the business that inspires others to sit up and take notice. The prospect of helping the leader to ‘create something special’ is hugely attractive to others. To say in the future ‘we built that’ is a powerful motivator for many individuals.
5. Great journeys have a clear purpose, challenges and a sense of adventure. Work attaches a more significant meaning to everyone connected with the business. The customer proposition, sales revenue and profitability may dominate the leader’s focus but it’s the inspirational and participative experience of the journey that helps delivers the day-to-day performance.
6. Very few leaders have previous experience and knowledge of the dynamics of growing a business. Many are embarking on the journey for the first time. Great journeys involve asking others to take a ‘leap of faith’ in the leader and the possibilities which may exist for the business. Many individuals love this uncertainty. The challenge of coming up with answers to the problems on the journey will motivate them to help leaders achieve their business goals.
7. The journey won’t be easy. If it were, then every business enterprise in the world would be hugely successful. It will involve hard work, although the number of people who wish to take part on a great journey never surprises me.
8. To be successful on a great journey, everyone needs to play a part. There is no room for passengers. The business experience will resemble a roller coaster ride. There will be many twists, turns, surprises and unexpected challenges. Disappointments will test everyone connected with the business. Team work is important. Navigating the journey with people others admire and respect is a major benefit of the journey experience.
9. The journey will involve setting and passing many milestones along the way. Celebrating each success, no matter how small it may be is an important aspect of a great journey. You might not like to admit it, but your people will spend a large amount of their time at work and they deserve at least to enjoy it.
10. Great journeys live long in the memory of those who participate in them
The journey is surprising to some people, challenging to many and rewarding to everyone. It is a dynamic and inspirational workplace experience. It is also impossible to grow a business if your people aren’t growing. Great journeys create opportunities to increase knowledge and develop new skills.
So what can you do today?
Very few leaders view the work and the workplace experience in the context of a journey. The day to day pressures of running the business often get in the way of thinking of work as anything other than an intense process of actions, activities and decisions. This is understandable.
But viewing the business as a great journey with a clear destination will reap enormous benefits for you and others connected with your business.
Start by looking at your business through the eyes of others and ask yourself ‘are we on a journey which inspires individuals to sign-up and participate or are we just going through the motions?’ Your answer will offer an indication of your level of future success.
Great leaders create great journeys. Great leaders also use the powerful influence and experience of their journey to help realise their dreams and ambitions for their business.
The journey of each organisation is no different to any other life journey, and is just as rewarding. But only if leaders are prepared to view the day to day work experience as an adventure – as a journey.
Best wishes on your journey, wherever it may take you
Article first produced and published for BusinessZone