Over the years, The Inclusion System and IBEX Payroll have faced many challenges: how to improve customer service; how to control spending and manage cash flow; how to improve communication on teams and between individuals; and, most recently, how to increase the quality and quantity of our software.
Sounds daunting right? It has been at times. Starting from two employees and no sales 20 years ago to today, when we generate enough revenue to employ over 30 people, we have faced challenge after challenge. Some of those challenges have even taken on new forms and repeated themselves as the company has evolved.
You likely face all kinds of challenges in your workplace, too. If you are trying to grow yourself or grow your company, new challenges come with the territory.
I think our companies—and me personally—are at our fastest pace of learning ever. This is possible because we accept that almost every problem we face has been faced before and the solutions are generally out there. Some key publications have given me perspective and tools to face our challenges head on, including:
Team issues – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Managing people, strategy, execution, and cash – Scaling Up
Customer service needs a boost – The Customer Service Revolution
Developing software sustainably – Shape Up
When we need to shake things up in a key area, we seek out the most respected school of thought in that area and then adopt whatever we can. Where we used to talk about problems and complain about them, now we just find the solution, learn it, and put the best parts of it to use.
Perhaps even more important to me than solving business growth issues is learning to live the life I want to live. Notice I said “learning” here around how to live a good life. To live a good life, we need to learn good habits. A couple more sources of knowledge and inspiration:
Being a productive person and still enjoyable to be around – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Getting over guilt, trauma, and blame and moving on productively – The Way of Letting Go
The answers are out there; it is a waste of time to re-invent the wheel when life is so short. The thing to do is to take the best of all this and use the best ideas to enrich your life or your organization.
My fifth personal core value is around this idea. This is how I have written it out for myself:
I seek to learn: Most problems already have a solution and learning inspires me to take action. I indulge my love of learning.
All progressive organizations seek knowledge and learning. Think of any regime that tries to undo reality and suppress learning and you will find no examples of long-term success. This is particularly true in business. When you have competitors moving fast, you need to learn faster than they do to succeed.
I think one of the keys to our success is that I personally love to learn as do many others on our team. We simply see most challenges as opportunities to learn more.
I am sharing this very personal value not to brag or to try to impress. I share it because I don’t think we talk enough about stuff like this. I wish we lived in a world where we were all clear on our core values, talked about them, and lived them.