The importance of mutual trust and loyalty
The most meaningful lesson learned. By and large, has been that successful business relationships are based on mutual trust, loyalty, collaboration and shared purpose. Without these fundamental building blocks, management teams are missing out on a critical ingredient. Notably, one does not learn these essential attributes. They are fundamental to each team member’s personal qualities and past experiences. Therefore, it is important to ensure a cultural fit and shared objectives. Together with, all team members in the organisation.
Independence has a price
I have worked with clients during the crucial administrative, development and build-out phases of their businesses. However, until recently I never appreciated the high risk and personal exposure being an independent, corporate advisor. When employees of large corporations are involved in a failed transaction. Consequently, the company they represent settles the loss and reputation damage.
As a result, their representatives are protected by the corporate veil. Conversely, working in an owner-managed business as an independent advisor, you are the brand. Moreover, you are the one accused guilty by association when a client fails or is accused of wrongdoing.
You are not your client
Most notably, one of the most significant lessons learned is that people are not always as they seem. Working as an arm’s length service provider to a start-up involves stepping into the entrepreneur’s shoes. Therefore, sharing their passion, buying into their vision and experiencing their growing pains. To emphasise, it is never the arm’s length experience intended.
Ultimately, through association, you are rewarded for their successes through recommendations and new client opportunities. On the negative side, an association can be damaging whereby their failure taints you. Especially, when the failure is as a result of questionable integrity issues and commercial agendas unbeknown to.
Motivations are not always as they seem
My challenging experience occurred five years ago. Significantly, I had an encounter with a client which caused substantial reputation damage. The implications for my personal life, growth and values have been massive. In a way, I am thankful for the experience. As a result, I have gained valuable insights into my vulnerabilities and ignorance. Not to mention, an understanding that everybody is driven by varying values and standards of integrity.
Reflections for personal growth
For me, what is essential to reflect on is what I have gained from this. It has been a significant learning curve and has made me much wiser. In particular in terms of vetting people’s intentions and consistently questioning their integrity and purpose throughout a business relationship. These due diligence processes we often take for granted when the project objective stacks up.
Henceforth, I now value the relevance, especially after experiencing first-hand how greed and vested interests can outweigh integrity. This experience and the resulting challenges that I have encountered along the way has left me stronger. Furthermore, I am confident to implement and enforce a reliable and trusted operational ecosystem for any business. While being alert to recognise and act on control weaknesses and threats to my integrity and that of the businesses I am serving.
A great read on mastering our habits
Purpose wins over profit
An unbeaten business strategy is predicated on achieving a greater purpose. In as much as, creating a meaningful value proposition for customers.
Successful entrepreneurs who I have dealt with all had one commonality. Uniquely, they were all obsessed over realising a purpose. Something, that they identified with when it came to launching their product or service. In my experience, owners that pursue business opportunities with motivation create a customer following based on their motivations. Success is the result of obsessing over purpose, not profit. Hence, creating loyalty which leads to growth in market share and brand awareness.