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Edition 94 – Lessons from our Government

Let’s be blunt. The current Federal Government in Australia, right now, are a massive disappointment. For a party that was swept into power in 2013 with such a significant majority, and for a newly minted Prime Minister to offer so much in 2015 when he took the top job, so much more was expected than we have ever received.

The past few weeks has seen the Government lurch towards a Constitutional Crisis as a result of the inability of some otherwise smart people to check the basics before running for Parliament. It looks and sounds chaotic and, frankly, being a keen observer of politics for almost my entire life, it is chaotic. We’ve stopped talking opportunity and prosperity and instead are talking personalities and stupid behaviour. This Government is focussed inward and the Australian people have, in my opinion, already made their mind up about how they will deal with that, whenever that times arises.

Now, before you switch off and consider this to be a political opinion piece, I’d like you to consider that what we are observing right now is a wonderful lesson for the owners and managers of family businesses. Here’s why:

  1. If you are the owner or manager of your family business and your business messes up, the buck stops with you. You need to own up, admit your mistakes, rectify the situation and move forward. The longer you drag out the drama, the weaker your business looks, as does the perception of you as a leader of the business.
  2. If you’re passionate about the role, but not everything your business sells, you’ll never succeed. Don’t take on a product line or service if you really don’t believe in it. People will want to engage with you if you are enthusiastic and offer a solution to their problems. If you don’t believe in your offer, your market knows immediately.
  3. Be careful upon whom you rely. If you have key partners in your business – suppliers, subcontractors, etc – make sure they have their act sorted. If they fail, it reflects on you and your business. You might get away with it once. Twice looks stupid. Three times looks incompetent.
  4. Create the vision – your staff, customers, suppliers and bankers want to know what your business stands for, now and into the future. If you can’t articulate it, you’re toast. If you can’t sell it, you’re either selling the wrong product or are the wrong sales person.
  5. Create a core set of principles and stand by them. If you bend on some of them to gain a position of strength, you’ve sold yourself out. You’ve thus created a weakness in your business that will be used against you by your competitors.
  6. Be a firm, decisive, enthusiastic leader.
  7. Make sure you have someone dependable and thorough looking after the finer details. There are some people inside your business that aren’t necessarily great “front of house” people, but fantastic at ensuring on time, every time delivery of your product or service.
  8. If you’re going to release a new product or service, make sure it stacks up better than what you shout out aloud about. Telling your customers you can promise the world, but in the end can only deliver them an atlas, is overpromising and underdelivering.

Do you know any businesses that should heed some of these lessons?

This Weeks Tip

Be enthusiastic about your business, what it does and how it helps your clients. Otherwise, why are you doing it – and why should anyone engage with you?