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Building a winning business team

Building a Winning Business Team

Copyright (c) 2009 Willie Horton

Anyone out there got the guts to do it? I mean, is anyone “brave” enough to create and lead a team of like-minded people towards the kind of exceptional business success that one only sees, if one is lucky, once in a career?

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks talking to and working with business people – I heard a lot of anecdotal evidence which proves the old adage that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Highly placed executives falsifying new business projections whilst lining their pockets based on their lies. More highly placed executives getting massive compensation payments – once when they were unceremoniously booted out (and rightly so) from their lofty perch – and again for when the company that had sacked them was subsequently sold (because it was in their contract). We all know about the rogue bankers, the rogue traders the realtors who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them. We all know that, given a little power, people generally look after themselves first. I must admit that even I (and I’ve been around for years) was taken aback by an answer from a senior company executive to the question “What are large organizations in business for?” I expected the usual – “bottom line”, “shareholder value”, “profit”. But the answer I got was entirely unexpected: “The really senior guys are there to make as much money for themselves in the shortest space of time possible and then get the hell out before the wheels come off!”

And, yet, once in a while, I come across a group of people who are different and, as a result, exceptionally successful without being dishonest, untrustworthy or downright jailable! Only a couple of times throughout my career (in large organisations and as a “consultant”) have I had the experience that I’ve recently enjoyed with a Senior Management Group who not only know how the world really works – they’re actually putting it into practice. Part of an multi-national organisation, their business is the most profitable division in over ninety countries. They hold the number one market position in their market (with more than twice the market share of the number two) – whereas their colleagues’ normal market position is somewhere between number seven and eight. And they only set up their business two years ago! These guys and girls don’t just work hard – they play hard too, having the kind of fun that was squashed out of companies by bean-counters in the late 1980s.

Why are they different from any other organization I’ve ever come across? First of all, the CEO takes a very alternative approach to business and life. He understands that you’re at your most effective and impressive when you’re abnormally focused in the present moment. He knows that, if you’re worried about trying to make an impression (on his team, on customers, on the international board, on whoever) you’ll never make one! He knows that if you don’t find a way of truly listening to your real “gut instinct”, then you’ll never take the bold decisions and the bold initiatives which have taken him to where he and his team are. He knows that you don’t take “No” for an answer to something that makes sense – that’s why his entity has been allowed so much scope and freedom by global HQ.

He knows about the “power of now”, how to focus in the present moment and how to be achieve abnormal success effortlessly. He practices what many of my clients call their “mental exercises” – for all the world very similar to age-old meditations – because those exercises develop a sharp discipline of mind that creates a single-mindedness and presence that creates effortless success. But, more than that, he’s introduced his entire senior management team to the concepts and practice of how to clear one’s mind, how to discipline an otherwise wayward and distracted mind and how to fully focus in the here and now.

Some members of his team have called that decision “brave” or “courageous” – but such decisions are only brave and courageous to the so-called normal idiots who research tells us only use 1% of their mental power. Some say that it takes “guts” to do what he did but, surely, the old (and insanely stupid) template of planning next year’s business growth based on this years’ simply doesn’t stack up when you ask the question “What could our business be doing? What could we really achieve? What if we start from a completely new perspective?”

Seventy years research tells us that normal people are not in control of their own minds – in other words, normal people are mad. By definition, normal business and normal business practices must be, at the very least, totally dysfunctional (all you have to do is read the psychological research on team dysfunction). You need to be abnormal to be abnormally successful – you need to control your mind to be in control of your destiny. It might take “guts” to do what my friend has done – but no one would argue with the stunning and effortless nature of the results. Is there anyone else out there who’s “brave” enough?

The secret to business success: act on your ideas

The Secret To Business Success: Act On Your Ideas

The real secret of a success is simple: Do something about your ideas. Each of us has seen a new idea and said, “Why, I thought of that a year ago.” We say it with scorn, but we should direct the scorn at ourselves, not at the person who had the drive to do something about it.

Successful idea men generate ideas all the time, and they don’t hoard them. They do something about them, even if they give them away. There are a lot of other satisfactions than money in doing your. When I give an idea away and see it acted upon, I get a great thrill of satisfaction and accomplishment. The important thing is to keep having ideas and to keep putting them to work.

Most of us are lazy, however. We mean to do better, to improve ourselves, to make this year better than last one. But we fall down, we forget, we drift.

There are ways we keep prodding ourselves into reaching farther, to going beyond ourselves. We must, just like an athlete, consciously exercise our brain cells. If we do this, we will be amazed at how our creative energies will increase.

The more we see, the more our powers of observation increase. It is imperative that we push, goad, drive, and spur ourselves into being more creative. The more we look, the more we see. The more we think, the more thoughts we have. The more combinations of ideas we try, the more combinations we realize are available. The more we practice the principles of problem solving, the more problems we will solve.

Listen to H. W. Prentis, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Armstrong Cork: “To analyze and synthesize is not always easy, but here, as in most things, practice increases one’s ability. It was interesting for me to watch myself develop to the point where I could tackle problems I could not possibly have handled a few years before. Unless a man tries, he cannot develop this capacity. In this business of taking things apart, there’s hardly a week passes that something doesn’t come up that seems just about insoluble, like a greased pole you cannot possibly climb. But if you keep at it long enough —keep the problem constantly before you—gradually you can break it down into its component parts, which you can grasp and solve.”

I learned to exercise my creative powers several years ago when I read an article in the Reader’s Digest, which advised “Try Giving Yourself Away.” I tried it.

My first attempt was a smashing failure, but I still found it was fun. I broke a shoelace one morning and couldn’t find a substitute, so I sat right down and wrote a number of shoe manufacturers, suggesting they give a spare shoelace away with a new pair of shoes, or send a pair to a customer after six months. The idea didn’t catch on, but I got a stack of amusing letters from shoe manufacturers for my troubles.

Later I was writing to a friend overseas. I wanted to send the letter airmail—the postage was high and rated by half-ounces, but I couldn’t tell how much the onion-skin paper weighed. I wrote several paper manufacturers and got some action. I didn’t get a free box of stationery, but I do have the satisfaction of walking into a stationery store or a Wool-worth’s and seeing the weight of the paper—one sheet, two, three, and so forth—printed on the bottom of the box of airmail stationery. I admit it gives me a real lift and feeling of accomplishment. This increases my motivation to do something about other ideas, bigger ideas. It boosts my confidence and makes me know that my ideas can be put to work, that someone will listen to it when I have one.

A bigger idea I’m much more proud of is the dial-a-prayer one. I read on the subway one night about a YMCA man in Baltimore who had an inspirational message, which people could get by phoning a certain number. I was job hunting at the time, and I thought what a lift I would get if I could dial a number and get a Scripture reading or a prayer before going in to have an interview for a job. Then I thought of all the other times I needed a lift in a day full of the pressures of modern life.

I tried to get this done in New York but failed. I have since learned that the idea had struck other people, and that it was practiced on the West Coast. But I didn’t know this, and a year or so afterward I tried again to get some action on this —and it caught on in New York City (Circle 6-4200). Today hundreds of churches have the service, and many churches have had to add numerous telephone numbers and tape-recording machines to keep up with the need. I know the dial-a-prayer idea helps people when they need help most, and I get a great deal of satisfaction out of the role I have played in it.