Never Grow Up

Posted on April 28, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Why companies can never get too set in their ways.

Legendary and iconic Beatle Paul McCartney is still rocking and rolling, having recently embarked on a world tour. Tom Selleck is the star of the CBS hit drama series ‘Blue Bloods’. And the greatest golfer ever, Jack Nicklaus, who mostly designs courses these days, still has it. He recently nailed a hole-in-one during the Par 3 contest prior to the 2015 Masters tournament. What do these all have in common? They are all well into there 70’s.

One of the biggest secrets to never growing old is to think and act young. Channel that robust childlike exuberance and imagination.

Companies wary of the ever shortening business cycle and challenged to stay ahead of the curve could probably take a page from these ageless celebrities’ staying power. Here are six business lessons that will help you stay forever young.

  1. Stay fit and agile

“As a small business or entrepreneur, your agility is a primary competitive advantage,” says best-selling coach and business author, Lee J. Colan, Ph.D. “Being agile means being quick – responding to things quickly and acting quickly. Agility is a trait of a successful leader, and it becomes particularly valuable in times of change and uncertainty.”

  1. Continually strive to build meaningful relationships

Eric Holtzclaw, an entrepreneurial coach and strategist says that companies often gather some transactional data initially, and then assume they know and understand their customers. They make decisions accordingly, when in fact, the data they are using is outdated or skewed. “The best way to really get to know your customers is to talk with them, visit your best customers at their places of business, and see firsthand what they do and what their challenges are.”

  1. Get outside your comfort zone

“When we get too comfortable, we no longer challenge ourselves, and by ceasing to strive toward goals or push ourselves to accomplish, we stop growing,” says senior advocate Liza Horvath, president of Monterey Trust Management company. Lee J. Colan says that seeking discomfort is essential to keeping your momentum and staying ahead of the curve. Most growth and learning occurs when you are uncomfortable.

  1. Broaden your horizons

Today, business need to continually push their boundaries, explore new territories and look at the markets beyond their own industries. “You have to look beyond your competitive set,” Colan says. “Explore and discover best practices beyond your immediate industry. find out who is doing what you aspire to do – whether it’s customer service, innovation or cost management – better than you are doing it.

  1. Listen and learn

Colan says that reverse mentoring is an effective way to pass on experience and knowledge within an organization. Companies in all industries have formal and informal programs designed to hone their talent and sharpen their competitive edge. Colan also emphasizes that it’s important for leaders to make a personal commitment to staying fresh and continually breathing new life into their organizations by encouraging small ideas, and that means listening to the younger members of the workforce. “Put some new minds on old problems. You might discover that you are so far out of the loop you can’t even see the loop.”

  1. Have a positive outlook

Having a positive attitude is essential for ongoing business success, as Colan emphasizes in his book, “Orchestrating Attitude,” where he says, “You are the conductor of your own attitude. Nobody else can compose your thoughts for you. Once you develop a habit of choosing a positive or negative attitude – that is exactly what you will send and receive from the world. our attitudes are our personal boomerangs to the world. Whatever we throw out comes back to us. A life filled with positive attitude is also filled with positive impact.”

Taken from the article “Never Grow Up,” by Lorrie Bryan, originally published in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Connect

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