Written by Patricia Murugami
Vice Dean, Executive Talent Development @ SBS
Many times, from my experience at Strathmore Business School (SBS) and in executive coaching, I have constantly observed the challenges that entrepreneurs face in separating themselves from their businesses. And I do not mean neglecting the business but developing a strategy, system and structures that separate interdependently the value of business and your personal life as an entrepreneur. As a result of this, we have developed interventions and learning habits that enable them respond more positively to the question: Are you living your eulogy or business plan?
Globalisation and the fast speed of technological development have caused increasing & more complex demands on our time, talents and energy. This has resulted in increasing illness and sleep deprivation due to a dilemma of boundaries across all aspects of our lives. Ultimately the key challenge is the challenge of execution of meaningful things.
How do entrepreneurs know they are losing themselves?
They begin to lose the capacity to take a long-term perspective rather than making the most expedient choice. They become reactive rather than reflective. They lose precisely what they need most in these complex times: the capacity to think analytically and imaginatively. Its not good for them, their families, communities and it is not good for their companies, our country Kenya and our continent Africa.
The more attentive they are to meeting these core needs, the less likely they will feel overwhelmed and exhausted, and the more sustainably high-performing they are capable of becoming.
So what do wise and successful entrepreneurs do consistently to achieve a genuine sense of real success and significance across personal and business life? Wise Entrepreneurs consistently do the following 8 things:
They determine and live the mission of their business & meaning of success:
They check if the business mission is serving others. A truly authentic mission serves others, meets the needs of the common good and ensures that you achieve triple growth in people, planet and profits. Wise entrepreneurs know & follow through on their business purpose, document it and ensure their values enable them achieve their mission.
1.They detect, document & review their personal mission as an individual:
They detect, document & review the purpose and mission of your life by asking themselves: why am I on this earth? Not only do they review their mission but they align their commitments to their mission. We all have a mission inbuilt in us and which needs to be detected and lived truly.
2.They assess the relationship between their companys values and their personal values
They determine and document their personal values and assess the company they have incorporated. Is there a link between the two sets of values? If there is a disconnection between the two sets, they make speedy strides to reduce the tension as this may cause suffering subconsciously from value incongruence which causes internal conflicts in CEO entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur one has more control over the values and aims of your business than an employee has. I encourage all entrepreneurs to use this control positively.
3.They conduct a Quarterly Personal Review and Quarterly Business Review
Wise entrepreneurs conduct a personal SWOT assessment and a business SWOT assessment regularly and in doing so there are some key relationships between the variables in each. They then decide which are the priority opportunities and threats to work on for the next quarter or year and begin to work on them decisively.
4.They focus and develop their personal 5 aspects of health
For any human beings to develop and attain a sense of overall wellbeing we need to focus and develop our physical health, spiritual health, emotional -social health, mental- professional health and financial health. Wise entrepreneurs find moments to reflect and take small key actions in each area daily. When is the last time as an entrepreneur you had a full medical review, optical, dental and proactively? Research has shown that work life integration is hardest to attain by entrepreneurs unless they are aware and prevent the spill- over effect of lack of boundaries and inability to guard against burn-out. They realize that when all is said and done, the state of their soul is what will really matter.
5.They develop critical leadership behaviors that result in true transformation
One key aspect that drives entrepreneurs is to make the highest profit possible. In order to make sustainable profits rather than sporadic profits, good entrepreneurs tend to invest time regularly to learn and unlearn business skills. Wise entrepreneurs invest time to not only to learn business skills but to develop their character and their families by learning habits of excellence and virtues. They also develop emotional and social intelligence attributes continuously. Wise entrepreneurs thus become outstanding resulting in sustainable success that can outlive them and all this is founded in the habit of discipline and humility.
6.They ensure their business is a role model to others and as an individual that they are role models to others and have a role model
Many businessmen do not realize that their businesses, especially the successful ones in the public eye tend to be role models for other smaller businesses. They realize that all communication, be it in a billboard or via other media, has an impact on their credibility, business personality and personal character. Also as entrepreneurs many younger people aspire to behave like them. This means that wise and successful entrepreneurs, are aware about the power of their example and are keen to ensure they remain authentic and virtuous. They also seek for mentors and coaches to continuously grow and be held accountable.
7.Manage their digital presence strategically
Research on digital strategies is showing that people are becoming more abrasive when they use digital media. Successful entrepreneurs, depending on their type of business ensure that the use of digital media is in direct alignment to their business and personal values.
8.They take a daily assessment of their daily actions and take remedial actions quickly
This results in having a can- do attitude and not taking failure too seriously. They have a good sense of humour and as a result bounce back from disappointments ready to begin again.
Wise entrepreneurs tend to be reflective leaders who examine their conscience and constantly assess how they use their time, what they believe is important & focus on and how they can improve. As a result, when asked if they are living their eulogy or business plan, they respond that they are living their eulogy with their business roles being a part of the legacy they want to live and are constantly assessing how they are progressing. After all the unexamined life, Aristotle said, is not worth living.