Making it to the top is easier than staying there. Leaders who rise to the top need to be ready to continuously improve if they want to stay there. The world continues to change at a faster pace and changes to the business landscape happen daily. If you’re not trying to disrupt your own business model, someone else will.
Here are my top tips to continuously improve:
- Always be listening: Many leaders fail to listen to voices at the bottom, especially their employees. Employees may be at the bottom of a company’s hierarchy, but they are often more connected to the day-to-day of your business and they will have ideas about where the future of the business is heading.
- Learn from mistakes: When a competitor makes a mistake, it is the perfect time to learn from what they did wrong to keep yourself from making a similar misstep. It is also important to learn from any mistakes you or your employees are making. Mistakes don’t lead to failure unless you fail to learn from your mistakes.
- Plan your professional development: Outside of networking and trying to generate sales leads, conferences offer a chance to learn what is going on in the industry. Conferences are the place where you will find competitors discussing their best practices, which you can use to improve. In addition to typical networking, use conferences to build strategic partnerships.
- Teach others: Teaching is a great way to deepen your knowledge; you never really master a subject until you are forced to explain it in front of a group. I’m part of different entrepreneur and mentorship groups where I am able to learn from and teach others. Even if you aren’t being asked to present at big ticket events, seek out local opportunities where you can get started.
- Develop yourself: Learn more about yourself and analyse your strengths, weaknesses and biases. Understanding your personality and areas of personal development that you need to focus on will make you a better leader. You affect the people in your organization, so develop yourself every chance you get to improve your business from the top down.
- Engage with your peers: Every leader’s journey is different, but you can learn from others experiences. Other leaders can offer great insights on how to deal with the challenges that you’re going through or may go through in the future. While you may have handled certain challenges to the best of your ability, seeing other perspectives can improve your strategies for facing future challenges.
When you make it to the top, enjoy that moment, but don’t sit back for too long because “the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement” (Helmut Schmidt) and there is already someone working hard to improve or disrupt your industry.