As a business leader, you’ll wear many hats, both during and outside of working hours. It’s demanding work, being a boss, and certainly not a 9 to 5 job. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that complacency and loss of motivation is not an option for those in roles of leadership. You’re someone who your team look to for inspiration and drive; a lack of both may result in a negative impact felt right across the company.
This was the case for a solicitors’ practice with which I am familiar. When a senior partner at the firm lost his mojo, it was clear that the effects were being filtered down through the business. His lack of drive, whilst his partners and colleagues were advancing, resulted in an increasingly isolating situation for him. When timekeeping lapsed and staff began to question his role, a frank discussion was had. Ultimately, he was ‘bought out’ of the business following a realisation that his time and future there had come to an end.
No company wants to get to the point where a lack of motivation from a leader starts to affect the morale of those around them, and no boss is immune from this, no matter how high up your position may be.
Staying alert for good ideas is key to good leadership
While you may experience tough times in business, it’s important that, as a motivator, you remain vigilant for the next big thing that will continue to propel the company forward. Two pieces of advice I believe are vital to remaining motivated are to always believe that your best idea is yet to come; and to not be put off by others who may not share your insight. The second is something that I will personally testament to and share my own experience of.
Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach® makes the excellent point, “Try your ideas out on cheque writers.” The premise of this being that if you can test the water out with those who would pay for your products or services and they like it, then you’ve got a good thing going.
Stand strong in the face of adversity
My own example of remaining motivated in challenging times comes from 2009. It was the credit crunch, a tough time for all. With some investment funds dropping by as much as 30%, my directors and I realised that we needed to act to ensure the protection of our clients’ investments in the future. At this point we weren’t sure how to do this but the answer came from a presentation by one of the major financial service product providers in London’s ‘Gherkin’ building.
We were shown a fund that had managed the instability of the situation well. However, it involved employing techniques generally available to large institutional investors prepared to invest funds of £1m upwards. I decided to put forward a proposition that we, as a company, be considered as a prospective ‘client’. Although the proposal was received well by the product provider, my colleagues were wary; this was unknown territory for us. But for me, this was what I can only describe as a ‘lightbulb moment’ and I refused to be discouraged from it.
And I’m glad that I didn’t sway. Within three years, we had launched a company effectively ‘sponsoring’ two new investment funds with inbuilt volatility protection that have delivered very respectable returns over the years.
The point of this example is that, while it may not be easy to drum up the energy and drive needed to convince others of a new idea, if you have the conviction that you’re right then don’t be dissuaded. Listen to your gut, stick to your guns and continue to be motivated. Next month, I’ll be looking at my tenth Principle for Healthy Business Finances: ‘Treat staff well’. I look forward to sharing that with you then. In the meantime, don’t forget you can download the whole ‘Healthy Business Finances’ chapter free of charge here. See you next time!