22nd December 2022 | Written by

Business Owners, Here’s What Your Future Success Depends On

“Tried-and-true” is one of America’s favorite adages. When something has been proven to work in the past, why change it? For a business owner, the answer to that is simple. Because if you don’t evolve, you’ll fail—and your business will, too.

When your past success becomes your present-day identity—or worse, your forward-facing strategy—no one is set up for success. It’s only when the CEO of a functioning company is living in the future that the next growth milestone can be achieved.

Let’s unpack that, okay?

It may sound counterintuitive, but when your business is in the growth stage, the practices and behaviors that got you to this point need to be thrown out the window. They will not help you get to the next stage of business growth. I repeat, they will not help you get to the next stage of business growth.

Why? Because a CEO who sticks with things that “used to work” is a CEO who is letting insecurity run wild. And no successful leadership team has ever operated with insecurity as a viable strategy.

Most successful CEOs struggle to celebrate success in the moment because they’re already looking forward.

Insecurity creeps in the further you move up in business leadership.

  • Naturally, the higher you get, the more out of touch you become with the day-to-day you once knew so well.
  • At the top, there’s a lot of pressure being in charge.
  • At the C-level, there are fewer of you—fewer comrades and peers to bounce ideas off of and admit what you don’t know.

All that leads to a tendency to cling to what worked in the past, stalling your momentum to grow and scale. Unsure of what it looks like when you’re “hung up” on a past success? Here are some examples:

  • Saying “Yes” to every customer and opportunity—regardless if it fits your organization’s plan for the future.
  • Hiring just anyone with a good resume—without making sure that person and their expertise is exactly what’s needed for scaling.
  • Moving forward without set processes—letting everyone work on everything “just like we used to.”

Getting yourself thinking in the future tense isn’t always easy. The next time you experience a milestone of success, answer these immediate questions:

  1. What do I want to happen next?
  2. Where in the current process do we implement a change to make that happen?

The answer to number two above might not be obvious at first—especially if this is the first time you’re practicing intentional forward-thinking for the sake of scale.

Here’s how we approach it in Addictive Leadership using the Three Principles and Say No language:

  1. Practice Rigorous Authenticity – Begin by taking inventory of all the areas of your business operations and your own leadership skills to see where you’re falling short.
  2. Surrender the Outcome – Share those weaknesses with a person you trust and let go of the need to appear perfect or in control. Go even further by creating a list of behaviors and processes that are stalling your growth as a leader. Let go of the things you can’t control, and double down your efforts on the things you CAN control.
  3. Do Uncomfortable Work – Ask for help. Open yourself up to feedback and critique. Share your weaknesses with your team, and model self-leadership as you Say No to poor performance, unclear goals, bad-fit clients, and tasks or projects that don’t help you hit the goals you’ve identified as the most important.

Make all of the above a proactive ritual and fearlessly subject yourself to input and constructive criticism as much as needed.

Remember this: Past Practices are not Best Practices.

So if “tried-and-true” isn’t going to work here, what’s a better motto of choice? How about: “Say No in Order to Grow.”

The kind of CEO you had to be this year, is not the kind of CEO your company needs next year.

I mean, look what inflation has done to the value of a dollar in just one year. One hundred dollars is only worth ninety now—because that’s what’s happening in the world around us. It’s the same with how you run your business. Everything around you will change, even if you don’t. Still want to be running a successful business a year down the road? Want to make sure you’re worth just as much—if not more—than last year? Then you have to evolve, improve, and adapt. And most importantly, you have to continually rehire yourself.

And here’s how you’re going to get the job:

  1. Fearlessly subject yourself to the critique of all the smartest people around you and ask them where you can improve.
  2. Hold yourself accountable for improving those areas within a year.
  3. Show your team how you lead yourself, and model the behavior that allows a business to scale.

Your relentless pursuit of growth and scaling can’t ever stop.

Trust me when I say: nothing is more memorable, nothing makes a bigger impact on the company culture, and nothing is more striking than when the CEO of a company shares their weaknesses and admits that they don’t have all the answers.

Read that again.

The pressure to grow your company is real. I get that. And when you’re riding a wave of success, it can seem like there is no obstacle that can’t be conquered. That’s when it’s most crucial to actively resist the temptation to retreat back to “what used to work” just for the sake of comfort. Instead, lean into the Three Principles and be brave enough to acknowledge that the things that got you here, won’t get you where you need to go—in fact, those practices may even end up causing burnout, turnover, and toxicity in the workplace.

Using my Addictive Leadership Framework and the Three Principles (1. Practice Rigorous Authenticity, 2. Surrender the Outcome, and 3. Do Uncomfortable Work) is the key to creating powerful, organizational change.

Are you ready to join leaders from Google, Dell, Global Payments, and the State of Colorado in using Addictive Leadership methods to ensure a successful management system? Start with this simple assessment to see what’s holding you back.