How to lead an enduring business

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How to lead an enduring business has a great deal to do with the leader’s presence.  Leaders can learn a great deal from history as we look at how societies have endured throughout the ages.  The greatest societies such as the Romans, the British colonial empire and the present day power houses such as America and China all had or have three characteristics in common.  These include cooperation, cohesiveness and altruism.

Just ask E.O. Wilson who wrote Sociobiology.  His claim was that societies that endured and I will add flourished exhibited those three essential characteristics.

This translates well to a business culture or business society.  Your business is in many ways like a society. It requires a group of individuals working together to increase profits.  As a leader, you can evaluate your business by looking at the words cooperation, cohesiveness and altruism a bit further.

1. Cooperation: You have seen when your people have not been cooperative in reaching corporate goals.  The outcomes are typically below average.  Cooperation is not just about people being nice to each other, it is about a common goal or a pursuit of a similar set of outcomes.

Suggestion To Enhance Cooperation: Remind your team about the vision of your business. A good way to do that is to have the team or unit outline their purpose statement.  I would begin the conversation outlining the current imperatives, strengths and risks of your business.  This will help you outline what it is you want in the future.

2. Cohesiveness:  Cohesiveness reminds me of the word trust and it also includes the ability to persevere when challenges arise.

Suggestions To Increase Cohesiveness:  As a leader, it is important for you to exhibit confidence in the midst of difficulty.  Maintain your view on the future and allow the process you have put in place to develop.  As a leader, you will be tempted to look for a quick fix.   Improvements do not happen overnight.

3. Altruism:  The best businesses not only increase profits, they also have a cause or engage in a societal challenge to improve the world.  According to a recent McKinsey Institute study, the businesses that survive in 2025 will be the ones that not only provide a great product or serve, but are the ones that engage in solving a major societal problem.

Suggestion to Increase Altruism: Communication during celebratory moments in your business.  When you celebrate someone’s promotion, certification or hitting the sales goal be sure to connect that milestone back to the big picture of the business.  Just a few meaningful words can really help people see how these moments connect back to the greater business purpose.

Cooperation, cohesiveness and altruism are all signals that your business can endure.  Strengthen these areas and you will contribute to an enduring business.

Leaders if you notice the symptoms of employees pairing, you are feeling more reactive than proactive and blame passing inside your walls, you clearly have work to do to ensure your business will endure into the future.

You have what it takes to lead your business to be one that truly endures.