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Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!

Article:  By Dennis Keay

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!

This is a quote attributable to Henry Ford, and I pretty much agree with it. Our belief systems are what often holds us back in business, and in life. These belief systems or ‘paradigms’ can be hard to change. So, starting off with an appropriate belief system gives you a kick-start to keeping your business moving forward and breaking new ground.

Since starting Lean Logic in 2006 I’ve keenly observed the characteristics of business leaders I’ve interacted with, and their approach to continuous improvement in their business. Some of these leaders have become clients, and of these, here are some of the common characteristics I’ve noticed in those who most effectively implement continuous improvement strategies and get the best results:

  • Self-awareness: in particular, being aware of their weaknesses, not just their strengths
  • Openness: they’re willing to admit mistakes they’ve made during their career
  • They are typically humble people regardless of their successes…and know they don’t have all the answers
  • They’re life-long learners. They know there’s always a better way and strive to find it
  • They’re happy to share their knowledge…even with some who may be considered competitors, and always look for win-win opportunities
  • They care deeply about their team: They look to build their people, not just their business
  • They’re very customer focused
  • They treat everyone with respect and compassion
  • They give credit where credit is due and motivate people via pride rather than fear
  • They have an ability to step back and prioritise the longer term important over the short-term less important but urgent
  • They’re a real pleasure to work with.

These are characteristics of people I choose to work with not only because they’re a pleasure to work with, but because they inspire me. I love helping them fill some of the knowledge gaps they may have, or even just act as a sounding board. I learn from them too!

You may have noticed that academic achievement IS NOT one of the common characteristics I’ve observed. I’ve worked with some people whom I consider to be academic geniuses, and some who left school early and consider themselves as poorly educated. Makes no difference! They’re all extraordinary people!

But, is it as simple as, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!”? After all, many people who go into business, ‘Think they can!’, yet their business still fails.

I think the belief that you ‘can’ is necessary, but not sufficient. It needs to be coupled with at least a smattering of the above characteristics, not the least of which is knowing that you don’t have all the answers, yet continuing the quest to find them.

If that’s you, then good luck with your quest. I already know you can!

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