Imagine yourself in this position: You are far ahead of most other business owners in that you have a concise business plan that gives you tangible, doable action steps for the next 90 days. Your team has helped you create the plan. Consequently, your team has bought into the action in the plan. You have introduced an accountability system you and your team are willing and able to adopt. Now, what’s standing between you and outrageous success?
In this article you discover what “Success Behaviors” are and how they build a culture of success & fun that make the most of your company's expertise.
This is the seventh in a series of blogs about the Business Plan Toolbox. If you didn't see the first six, don't worry. Here are the key takeaways:
- Part 1: High-expertise companies struggle to transform their expertise into corresponding success. They face five common challenges:
- There is a significant skill gap between the company's core expertise and the ability to convert that expertise into money.
- Many visionary founders find building and running a team challenging.
- The core expertise lives only in the brain/s of one or a few key people.
- High-expertise leaders often prefer to do the work themselves instead of delegating it to others.
- Investment monies are difficult to impossible to get due to lack of scalability.
- Part 2: One of the five challenges is that the core expertise of the company lives only in the brain/s or computer/s of one or a few key people. Brilliance Extraction™ is a process for extracting expertise and ideas out of your key people (including yourself), which makes this knowledge available to others to grow the company. This process is crucial for scaling up your high-expertise company.
- Part 3: The Business Power Plan™ (BPP) is a tool for effective business planning that is fast. The resulting plan is also much easier to carry out than traditional plans. For optimal results and buy-in, it’s important to involve your team of experts in developing this plan. Doing so also begins the critical process of Brilliance Extraction™. You can download the Business Power Plan™ template.
- Part 4: I shared examples of building business plans (Business Power Plans™) for high-expertise companies.
- Part 5: Fresh Eyes are essential for business planning to be successful. These are eyes that see things you don’t because you are too familiar with your business. Fresh Eyes unearth opportunities as well as threats that may be lurking around the corner.
- Part 6: To implement your action plan requires consistent execution of little action steps. In order to make that happen, your team of experts must buy-in to an accountability system that works in high-expertise companies.
Do you want to skyrocket your results? In part 7 I will talk about how you can define what we call success behaviors, i.e., behaviors that support you and your team in effectively using the accountability system I shared with you in part 6. Of course, your team helps shape them, and that is why they work to create a thriving and fulfilling experience in your work (and life). Curious? Read on!
What are Success Behaviors?
At first glance, success behaviors are simply behaviors that lead to success. You might think “Duh, that’s obvious!” Yes, and yet there is more to it. There is a critical distinction many business owners miss to their own detriment. Success behaviors are a set of behaviors that allow you to win the game of business.
Here is the distinction: How do we play any game? Say football. Lots of rules that define how to play the game – and win. Baseball? Same thing. Monopoly? Does it matter whether you can buy a hotel after you bought 0, 2 or 4 houses first? You bet!
Games have rules – or you could call it “success behaviors” if you are the type of smart person who doesn’t like to feel confined by rules. Any game has rules - or else we would end up in conflict with each other.
Playing the Game of Business Without Defined Behaviors/Rules Erodes Success
The issue is that, unlike sports or board games, in business, we often don’t talk about the rules of the game. Instead, we ASSUME that everyone on our team operates by the SAME rules or success behaviors. In reality, when success behaviors are not clearly defined and agreed on by the team everyone makes up their own rules! This may not be obvious at first but, over time, conflicts and lower productivity and profitability are a certain result. Executing an action plan – even one the team has helped to design – will likely falter as well if success behaviors are left to each team member’s own imagination.
Examples of Powerful Success Behaviors
I will give you six examples of success behaviors that have proven themselves to be foundational to moving the success of high-expertise companies to the next level. Typically, the teams we work with agree on a set of 14-16 success behaviors/rules – this will be enough to get you started.
Example 1: Be supportive of the company’s purpose (including mission and vision), values, and goals.
If a person is not supportive of your company’s purpose, values and goals, don’t have them on your team, regardless of how smart or capable they are. Even one such person can pull down your team.
Example 2: Complete your agreements:
- Only make agreements that you intend to keep.
- Avoid asking others to make unreasonable or unrealistic agreements.
- Ask for help when needed and offer help when possible.
- Identify and communicate risks to keeping your agreements at the first appropriate time.
- Fix a broken agreement as soon as possible to minimize the negative impact.
This success behavior or rule is frequently violated, even in great companies. Establishing agreement among the team to adopt this success behavior, and then living up to it, has transformed the performance of every team we have ever worked with.
Example 3: Discuss with courage, respect, and empathy.
This success behavior is also critical. Discussions held with these values in mind go much smoother and have greater results than those where some people don’t dare to speak up or someone dominates the discussion. Gossip is also out because it certainly doesn’t fall under discussing things with courage, respect, and empathy.
Example 4: When challenges arise, look for how to improve the systems (tools and processes) and then propose solutions to those who can do something about it.
When things go wrong blaming someone for the mishaps or failure is common. However, most people want to do a good job. When breakdowns or challenges occur, first ask “What tool or process could have prevented this situation?” Also, let’s agree that talking about this to people who can do something about it is much more effective than talking to others who can’t.
Example 5: Commit to decisions made.
You and your team may discuss the pros and cons of various decisions. At some point, a decision is made. It is important that the whole team upholds the decision, even by team members who might not have been in favor of it.
Example 6: Hold crucial conversations as needed along the way; don’t let things fester.
It is critical to address important matters regularly, instead of letting them fester. Learning to hold high-stakes conversations safely and respectfully is an art and skill that is worth practicing. If necessary, get a third party involved to resolve the situation in a timely manner.
How Do You Establish The Success Behaviors That Work For Your Team?
- The most important aspect is to create a set of success behaviors that you and your team agree on.
- Successful implementation of success behaviors requires discussion and training. The team needs to thoroughly understand each behavior/rule and its intent. It is not effective to hand team members a sheet with these behaviors, ask them to read it and then act accordingly.
- It is likely that it will take your team a bit of time to get used to these behaviors. Make sure each person gets a written copy of them and posts them by their workspace. Encourage the team to gently remind each other of the behavior/rule as needed.
- Remember: It is all in the name of playing the game of business (and life) more successfully and with greater ease.
- The six behaviors I gave you above are a great set to start with. When we work with companies, we typically discuss 14-16 behaviors with the team. The team often asks questions and, at times, we modify the wording of a behavior, so it makes more sense to them. It is critical to engage your team in defining the success behaviors. That way they have greater ownership of them (this is the same benefit I discussed with the business plan and its resulting action plan).
- Success behaviors are agreed upon rules for how we play the game of business successfully and harmoniously.
- Unlike sports or board games, in business, we often don’t talk about the rules of the game. We ASSUME that everyone on our team operates by the SAME rules or success behaviors. In reality, when rules/behaviors are not clearly defined and agreed on by the team everyone makes up their own!
- Engage your team in defining their own success behaviors so that they have greater ownership of them.
- Feel free to contact us if you want more ideas for success behaviors and/or talk about how this process could work in your company.
In the next and final installment (part 8), I will talk about how you can grow and scale up your business – and your personal freedom as well. I will pull together all the pieces we have talked about in this article series, and answer the ultimate question: “How can my business keep on growing while becoming less and less dependent on me?” This critical question ultimately affects all business owners, especially in high-expertise companies.
Have a top-notch day!
Dr. Stephie Althouse is the founder of Top-Notch CEO and Top-Notch CEO Academy (TopNotchCEO.com). She has a Ph.D. in chemistry. She has worked with many high-expertise companies, first as an award-winning innovator herself and then as executive, turnaround authority, growth expert and executive coach. Her success in helping high-expertise companies get more from their expertise is based on her ability to bridge the languages of their crafts with that of leadership and business.