THERE is an old African proverb – “To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.”
As we approach the end of the calendar year I like to pause and reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like most people, our year has seen many successes, a few disappointments, the odd moment of embarrassment, numerous lessons learnt, and tremendous personal and business growth.
As with most aspects of life, success in your chosen career is a team effort. No matter the position you hold in the industry, your accomplishments are the sum total of your own effort combined with the efforts of the team around you. This is true for any successful business.
Often, the focus of business strategy is the customer. Whilst a necessary ingredient for success, to focus purely on the customer is a recipe for disaster. A lasting and successful business needs a team. Smart operators value the contributions made by staff, suppliers, and leadership equally.
You can’t have a successful business without great staff – people who are valued and respected, given the opportunity to grow and achieve, and feel a sense of fulfilment for what they have contributed and accomplished. Serial entrepeneur Richard Branson looks after his staff, knowing they will in turn look after his customers.
You can’t have a successful business without great suppliers. Often overlooked, the importance of having a great relationship with your suppliers cannot be overstated. Retail magnate Gerry Harvey values and respects his suppliers, for without their products and support he would have empty shelves and nothing to sell.
You can’t have a successful business without great leadership. Great teams have great leaders – a direction, a goal, and a plan. Leadership provides unity of purpose, guidance and support as needed, and the comfort of knowing you are valued as part of the team. Business author and speaker Simon Sinek has long championed the role of leadership, arguing that members of a successful team don’t want to be managed, they want to be led.
It is at this time that I pause to reflect on the team I am proud to be part of. I recognise how fortunate I am to work with the colleagues I have, how rewarding it is to have relationships with my suppliers that span several decades, how blessed I am to have the leaders and mentors that guide me as needed, how important the support of family is, and how my customers are not just customers, rather they are part of the team – they understand why we do what we do.
I appreciate your support throughout the year and I wish you a safe and relaxing festive period. When time permits, I ask that you take a moment and consider the many parts of your team.
Recognise that to go far, you need staff, suppliers, leaders and customers.
To go far, you need to be part of a team.
To go far, you need to go together.