Chapter 1: Introduction to Leadership Book
Nearly all business challenges are really just symptoms of a deeper problem – a weakness in the core strength of the business. By the same token, nearly all opportunities for growth are enhanced by a stronger core. The value of your business increases exponentially as the core strength, the foundation of your business, grows.
A strong foundation is fundamentally important in every area of our lives. Whether we are talking about a physical building, an individual, or a business; without a strong foundation it's impossible to build and grow. A weak foundation will place height and weight limitations on the construction of a building. It may also result in structural damage somewhere down the road. In sports, if an athlete builds her skills on a foundation of weak basics, she’ll limit her potential and possibly undergo injuries later in her career. The same holds true for the development of a business. A business cannot reach its true potential if it's built on a limiting foundation. If your business is to thrive, it must develop a strong “corporate foundation,” and in order to do this, you must develop a strong “personal foundation.” This is the essence of leadership, the guiding force behind every successful organization.
A business is the reflection of its owner. A disorganized owner, for example, will run a disorganized business and an efficient owner will run an efficient business. For this reason, business development work begins with personal development work. When you are clear about your purpose in life the values that matter most to you, and the goals that will truly inspire you along the way then you'll be in a position to design or redesign your business the right way. This will be the way that works best for you and subsequently your staff, your suppliers, your customers and even your lenders.
The ideal business for you is one that supports your Personal Foundation. Your business can become such a business, if it’s not already, by aligning itself with your Personal Mission, Values and Vision. Certainly a lot of people have built outstanding businesses who have never heard of a Personal Foundation, you may be one of them, but if they truly live a balanced life, you’ll find that these concepts are not entirely new to them. There is simply too strong a relationship between a business owner and his business for the two not to be intertwined.
Throughout this section, we'll be doing exercises designed to help you build one area of your personal foundation, followed immediately by exercises designed to help you build that same area of the Corporate Foundation for your business. If at any point you are unsure about your progress, look back over your answers from the Personal section and ask yourself if your business still fits. Your answer will get you back on track.
While the rest of this series are more concerned with the mechanics of your business, the exercises in this book are anything but fluff. Skimming ahead to get a feel for the whole process is fine, but make sure you take the time to complete each exercise before moving on. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.