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The 14 Principles for Success in Business (September)

This is the 11th instalment of my 14 Principles for Success in Business, adapted from my book, The Little Guide To Your Bigger Future™.

Last time I talked about treating staff well. This time I tackle the subject of making sure you have the right people in the right jobs. And that includes you. No square pegs in round holes!

Let’s start off with a real-life example to illustrate the point.

I have provided a suite of financial services for an engineering company for more years than I can recall. The current boss, Michael (not his real name), is the son of the founder who sadly passed away. I like to think that my input over the years has helped the company develop.

On one occasion when I visited him, Michael seemed particularly disgruntled and unhappy with his lot. This surprised me somewhat as the £150,000 investment I had made on his behalf over the years was now worth over £500,000 in his pension fund! I asked him what was wrong. From his office he looked wistfully across the busy shop floor with its whirring lathes, clattering grinding wheels and the smell of lubricant heavy in the air. Then he pointed to the mountain of paperwork on his desk and said, “Look at this stuff. It drives me mad.” His secretary piped up and confirmed that Michael felt it incumbent on himself to look at every single piece of post that came in – just like his father had done – instead of leaving it to her.

It was perfectly obvious to me that Michael needed to return to the shop floor where he had initially worked when he joined the firm at 16 years of age. I suggested this to him. I explained that his business had changed beyond all recognition since the early days and he needed to do what he was good at – not what he thought his father would have him do! He was still standing in his father’s shadow. He needed to step to one side and create a shadow of his own. He just stared at me.

Twelve months later I visited again. Guess what? Michael was working a CNC machine on the shop floor. He’d gone back to his roots, developed two new successful products and was as happy as a sand boy. The office staff were happier, too!

Michael came over and shook my hand with thanks. He looked 10 years younger than when I had last seen him.

“Well done Michael,” I said, “Your father would be proud of you.”

So how can you be sure you are in the right job? According to a recent poll by AXA PPP Healthcare, one in five SME owners think they may not be, suffering from “imposter syndrome” – the fear of being exposed in their job as a fraud, inadequate or a failure. Nearly half (45%) of those affected are convinced someone else could run their business better, the poll of 500 SME owners and 500 employees found. (Source)

OK, then finally, what are the signs that you are in the right job? Here are my five suggestions:

1. You wake up feeling energised and excited about your work.

2. Your job role allows you to play to your strengths and you don’t feel out of your depth.

3. You love being at work and engaging in new projects.

4. You just feel like… well, that you fit in!

5. You talk positively about your job often to others.

Next time: Persistency wins the prize!

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