In the early days of a startup, the short term is what is on the horizon and the medium term is often the farthest we can project. However, it doesn’t really have to be this way.
Building a company that will stay on top for years to come is no easy feat. In fact, it might be one of the hardest things to achieve for any type of organization. But it is still achievable for some.
The not-so-positive news
That said, here is some not-so-positive news: In order to stay on top in the long term, you need to maintain a level of team performance that is nothing short of exceptional. When companies and teams manage to perform this consistently for a few years, they become extremely successful. But, when companies do this for a decade and longer, they become the legends we talk about today; like Apple, Amazon, Netflix and others like them.
So, the question is this: How do you get there? How could one maintain a level of excellent product and service performance for long stretches of time? When you look at all the literature there is about leadership and high-performing teams, the way to elongated success is defined in a very unexciting manner. They all come to this same conclusion: You have to adopt a few monotonous habits and do them day after day. Easier said than done, right? But, that’s the one difficult thing about continuous success; doing it every single day.
One thing I can suggest that might create a shift in thought is this: Forget about your past success. Leave it behind. If you never feel comfortable or complacent enough to hinge on your past achievements, you will aspire more for present and future feelings of success. As a leader, you can demonstrate that you are not stuck up in your past in a number of ways; in your writing, in your decisions about your team, or even in your decisions about your working space. Once the mindshift is fully in place, you’ll see how frequently past stories penetrate your present thinking. Get rid of them.
Let go of people
The other thing I can touch upon is the people you journey with. If your team is not the best team out there, even if you are currently the best, this indicates that you will not be in that seat for much longer. If you want undeniable success, make sure your team comprises people who have the potential to grow into foremost practitioners in whatever they are responsible for creating. On top of this, if your team doesn’t share your aspirations to be on top, they will not take you there. This means you might have to let go of certain people or even whole units within your team. But if winning and staying on top is your strategy, strategy is often saying a definitive “no.” Practice this objectively and fairly.
One last note I want to leave you with is this; even the best of the best had one thing in common, a desire to learn and adapt. These will give you the ability to stay alert in face of change.
Until next time…