Edition 59 – Dallas

It’s true what they say – everything is bigger in Texas. From freeways to portion sizes at Texan restaurants, the scale cannot be understated. The US is surely the only place where a Toyota Landcruiser looks like a small car.

I travelled to Dallas where I was fortunate to spend three days learning and collaborating with a bunch of colleagues from across the world. Dallas is a very new city – it is younger than Adelaide, yet is the 4th largest metropolitan area in the US with more than 7 million people calling it home. It is one of the most sprawling cities that I have ever been to. Land as far as the eye can see, it started out as a cattle town in the mid 1840’s.

Dallas is also famous (or infamous) for being the city where President John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Being a keen observer of politics, I took the trip to Dealey Plaza, where there is a museum dedicated to what occurred, inside the building, indeed on the floor, of where it all took place. It wasn’t crass – it was incredibly sombre to be amongst so many Americans who even today pay homage to a leader that was taken before his time. The photograph of Jackie Kennedy, standing beside President Lyndon B Johnson, witnessing him take the oath of office inside the cabin of Air Force 1 as it sat on the tarmac of Dallas Love Field, 90 minutes after her husband was shot, was both powerful and poignant.

The three days of learning, too, were powerful. They were thought provoking and I wanted to share with you some of the lessons that I took away.

  1. Laser Focus – focus your attention on the end goal for your family business whilst accommodating other issues.
  2. Resilience – tolerate short term unavoidable hiccups without allowing it to become a longer term sense of being downtrodden.
  3. Propensity to Help – stop saying yes through some false sense of obligation. If you keep helping the client out but they’re not really buying, they are wasting your time and your opportunity. Stop it.
  4. Unconconscious Complaceny – when you become complacent about your own progress and that of your business, the only way is down. Be conscious of what you need to do to stay ahead of the game.
  5. Evoke Passion – if you are passionate about your business and the solutions you can offer to your clients and prospects, they will be more willing to engage you to help their business.
  6. Consensus lacks Power – your employees are looking for powerful leadership from you and your management team. Leaders that aim for consensus are weak, directionless and too willing to adjust to immediate opinion. Take the high road and stick to it.
  7. Standout – your clients are looking for a standout solution from you, not something that is merely a mirror image of what someone else can offer. If you don’t standout, you are commoditising your business and driving yourself into a price war.
  8. Be Innovative – most businesses are opportunistic in that they look to replicate what someone else has done – and, perhaps, do it better. Why not consider what no one else is doing in your industry and how you can stand out in business?
  9. Utterly enjoy yourself – if you don’t like what you are doing in your life and in your family business, then stop, determine your ideal future, and start working towards that.

This Week’s Tip

When was the last time you stepped away from your family business for a few days to think about the business, yourself and your family without the interruption of the day-to-day? It’s a great opportunity to consider your ideal future state.

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