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4 Business Essentials to Maximize Growth

4 Business Essentials to Maximize Growth

Networking is a magical exchange of value between one individual and another.  Over the course of the past week, I’ve been fortunate enough to sit down with some amazing professionals in various industries across the greater Chicago area and converse with them about what’s working, what’s not working and what we can do for each other to boost both business and the bottom line.  I’ve come to the realization throughout this experience that really only 4 things matter when it comes to sustainable business growth.

Relationships.

They are the backbone of business and without them a company/organization ceases to exist.  Networking is essential to the growth of your net worth.  Of the 13 individuals I sat down with, each conversation lasting between 2 to 4 hours, I recognized how amazing each individual was, how much potential they had, how much value they were adding to the Chicago community and how that was impacting communities around the world. Each of these relationships was formed over a period of time, starting from a simple connection on social media, to a phone conversation, to later meeting each individual in person.  These relationships, whether I’ve personally reached out or we were connected through a mutual friend, have been vital to both my own growth and the growth of my business.  The most successful individuals grow their network so that when a problem arises, they have immediate access to the solution, allowing it to consume less time, less money and causing less stressed.  This fundamental key to success sets individuals and organizations apart.

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Product.

The product is the most essential element to a successful business.  But a product not packaged and positioned properly will always fail no matter how great it is.  Learning to sell a product isn’t difficult.  Learning to position your product with simplicity leads to greater quantity of sales in a smaller period of time.  Regardless of what the product is, what its value in the marketplace is, or how much it costs, one thing remains the same: it has to appeal to consumers’ emotions, or it won’t sell.  When consumers have an emotional attachment to your product or service, nothing else matters.  What I mean is this: let’s say, for example, you go to buy an ADT Security System–it isn’t the system you’re buying, it’s the emotion of security and peace of mind.  The same is true for all things in life; it isn’t what you’re selling, but our emotional attachment to that product or service that we, as consumers, are purchasing.

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Processes.

Each of us is a slave to convenience.  If the phone is not charged, we leave the house when it is.  If our gym bag is not packed, we won’t go to the gym.  When we’re in the store, we buy what’s convenient, not necessarily what’s healthy.  If we make the process for both ourselves and our consumers simple, easy, and convenient, our ROI automatically and dramatically increases.

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People.

There is no bigger asset to an organization than its people.  People are everything.  If you don’t take care of your people, they won’t take care of you.  Employees, contractors, and commissioned sales people are no longer just looking to hold a position within an organization; they are looking to lead, help, encourage, and set the tone of the organization’s future.  They want to be involved in decision making, have leeway on projects, be directed and guided–but not told what to do–while at the same time having flexibility when it comes to choosing their schedule.  Providing these small benefits can make a world of difference.

These 4 elements are present in every successful business, and they should be present in yours.  Learning how to build relationships, position your product, systematize your processes and take care of your people will help you build a solid foundation for long-term sustainable growth within your organization.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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