What is the the foolproof one and only secret to success in business?

After 20 years of being ‘out of touch’,  an old friend connected with me again via skype (don’t you love the power of google searches??) and this morning we started chatting about the secrets of success. This seemed very appropriate as I just returned from a trip to the US where I spent 3 days with 700 very successful CEO’s, so the discussion was a great follow up from that experience.

In the past 10 years, my friend has grown his business both in revenue and profitability in an industry and geographical area that is quite challenging; he owns and manages dairy farms in Europe. His answer to my question “what makes you so successful” was:

A great family, sense of humor and the iron will to turn your dream into a reality. And of course good old fashioned hard work!

Isn’t that fantastic? Yes, it takes an iron will and the ability to work really hard and keep doing this even when everything seems to be stacked against you. Which is probably where that sense of humor comes in handy 😉 But before even that he mentioned  ‘a great family’.

He didn’t think long about that answer, and it took me by surprise as I expected something like : genetically manipulated dairy cows or a tricky & complicated breeding program!

His first response was “a great family” – and how guilty are we entrepreneurs and business owners of taking our spouses and family for granted. We sometimes feel that we create everything ourself and our egos keep getting bigger and bigger. (yup – confession time, my ego is up there with the rest of the boys! doesn’t matter if you’re male or female… we all suffer from it).

And to link it back to something I heard in Houston last week – Gene Kranz mentioned that the secret to mission control success was teamwork and ‘the ability to check your ego at the door’. Never let ego get into the way; if you want to be successful you need to focus on your goals and be humble in serving the rest of your team in achieving the absolute best.

He actually said…

There is no achievement without risk and to be successful we need to have the following:

  • Discipline and focus
  • Understand the value of high morale
  • Leave your ego at the door

Who best to help you to step away from your ego, but your spouse and family?! They keep you grounded, they keep you real. So ultimately they help you become the successful business  person that you want to be.

Maybe it’s time to spend a bit more time with your family, and a bit less time with your spreadsheets and cheque book?!…. what do you think?

2 thoughts on “What is the the foolproof one and only secret to success in business?

  • I believe the same goes to me as an employee now. The thing that makes me stay strong in this foreign land is that the need to support my family back home, not in terms of spouse or children, but brother and sister.
    I think at the end of the day they are the ones who make us like what we are now 🙂

    • Ivanka

      You are absolutely correct. Personally I don’t see a lot of difference between me as the employee and me as the entrepreneur and employer. Everybody is in business… a good employee is just as successful as a good business person. Many employees put their heart and soul into their job and they can only do this with the amazing ongoing support from their family.

      Thank you for sharing!
      Ivanka

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