As many readers of my blog posts know, I am an avid cyclist. I ride to stay fit – but deep down inside, I ride to challenge my endurance by riding harder and faster. And when training for a long ride, I head for the local hills that make my legs burn, my heart rate soar and lungs gasp for air. Riding is about pushing your body to its limits to achieve incremental gains in performance. Sports physiologist Allen Lim says, “Suffering is essential to the beauty and mystery of the sport. It gives the ride meaning. The greatest racers have a love of suffering that goes beyond any ratio of sacrifice to payoff.”
It’s the same in business and leading a company to achieve the extraordinary. The pain and suffering is in the work of leadership. It’s in your ability to hold yourself accountable first, before you can hold those you lead accountable. It’s about higher standards of thinking and behavior. It’s about pushing projects and change initiatives across the finish line. It’s about culture, building and protecting that culture from any form of internal or external contamination. This is what it takes to lead and grow an extraordinary company. If you want something easier, go to Staples and buy their “easy button.”
I call it “going No Compromise.” No pain – no gain. It applies to life, fitness, leadership and business. Going No Compromise as a leader is hard work. Shifting an entire company to a “No-Compromise Culture” is the hardest work of all. But guess what? It’s the most exhilarating and fulfilling business ride you’ll ever take. Lift your company to that next level, stop, celebrate, allow the rush of achievement to energize you and your team. And the moment that glow begins to wane, take aim at that next elusive level and go for it. That’s what No-Compromise Leadership and going No Compromise is all about. WINNING!
Here are some no-compromise strategies to shift from “What if?” to achieving extraordinary:
- You can ALWAYS get better: You know this already – so why are you standing in your own way? You can bog and beat yourself down with endless excuses like; I don’t have time, we tried this before, we’re too small, we don’t have the money – you know the rest. Fear of failure can be debilitating – but so is failure or knowing you allowed the greatest opportunity in your career pass you by. When was the last time you gave your business all you’ve got? When was the last time you felt the burning in your leadership muscles? You can always get better. It’s time to go No Compromise.
- Average is unacceptable: Average is easy. Anyone can lead an average company. Average means not breaking a sweat. Average is 9 to 5 thinking. Average is looking the same as your competitors. Average is being lost in the masses. No-Compromise companies relentlessly fight and claw their way to the highest rungs on the success ladder. Winning the award for “Best Average” is one quest they leave their competitors to squabble over. Fact: Average exists in your company. What are you going to do about it?
- Blow it up: Many years ago, I heard author and thought leader Tom Peters say, “Every five years you need to blow up your company.” That was his dramatic way of saying that new eventually becomes average and comfortable. If you’re still riding the wave of a major change initiative you started five years ago, there’s not much of that wave left to ride – if any. The energy is gone. It’s time to shake things up and set off some dynamite in all that stuff that’s become routine and boring. No excuses. Do it.
- All to gain and everything to lose: Fear of change is debilitating. Fearing what it will really take to win the game is a waste of time. Giving in to the fear that those you lead will push back and reject change is surrendering to average. Do you truly want to lead an extraordinary company? Of course you do. Do your employees want to work for and be part of an extraordinary company? Of course they do. But you’re the leader and only you have the power to initiate your vision for change. Fact: If you continue on your present course, you could lose everything. If you go No Compromise, you have a chance at achieving something truly wonderful for you and your team. You’re an entrepreneur and being an entrepreneur is about taking risks and innovating new ideas that others cannot see. I’d rather lose it all by giving it all I’ve got than sitting on the sidelines. What’s your choice?
- Accountability: It is the essence of No-Compromise Leadership. Without it, the best plans crash and burn. Leaders become all talk and no action. You get comfortable tolerating the intolerable. You and those you lead turn the “blame game” to a new sport. Holding yourself accountable is tough. Holding others accountable is the work of leadership. If you implemented a new system or initiative a few months ago, what does it look like today? Did it blast off and blow up – or is it refined, gaining traction and producing measurable results? No-Compromise Leaders embrace and tenaciously instill the accountability mantra throughout their companies. Neilism: If it needs to be done – get it done.
For more information on Neil Ducoff and Strategies, go to www.strategies.com
Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO
About: Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies. Since 1993, Strategies has been transforming salon and spa businesses into dynamic, profitable, and sustainable team-based cultures. Neil is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and award-winning author. For more information on Neil and Strategies, go to www.strategies.com. You can email Neil at [email protected]