Entrepreneurial Minds: Leading with Goals

If you could get all the people of an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time-The FIVE dysfunctions of a team, Patrick Lencioni. 

Last week I received a book, a gift from a dear friend overseas titled ‘The FIVE dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni.’ And here is how it’s forward started: ‘Not Finance, Not Strategy, Not Technology. It is team work that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it’s so powerful and so rare.’

Now all great leaders have things they do consistently, and they do them well. For successful entrepreneurs, we might identify 4 key things that are indispensible:

– Selling – being practiced at winning customers,

– Financial bottom line – they keep their eye on their revenues and expenses,

– Creating and communicating a vision and,

– The team – including recruitment and continuous training and welfare.

Let’s talk a little bit about customers, creating and communicating a vision and goal setting.



We have mentioned in this column before, that any business that is not winning customers and is not retaining those won already, will soon find they have no customers and have to close shop.

The day you announce (vocally or otherwise) that you are an entrepreneur, the game changes. You must win business. The entrepreneur must be practiced at winning customers and making sales. But the entrepreneur should also decide early on in his business that a good customer experience will be part of his business culture.This means that every interaction a customer has with your business will be an experience. Smiles and thank you’s from the front office are good, but they are not the be all that ends all. You need a customer experience strategy and you need to execute it. It’s not optional.

The question you need to ask yourself often is; why do customers love my product or service? Here are a few quick facts about customer care:

– It cost 5-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

– Customers on average are willing to pay a 10% premium for “better service.”

– Delighted customers tell 9-12 people about their experience – Unhappy customers tell up to 20 about theirs.

– Only 1 in 10 customers who receive poor service complain.

– 80% of customers who have a problem solved by customer service will continue to do business with a company.

– 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree.


Creating and communicating vision

I recently had an opportunity to talk to a mentor online and when I asked her what she considered the one repetitive habit she considered has spurred her on the most, she quickly mentioned “leading with goals”.

She went on to mention that all companies are only as strong as their leaders. Why? Because the leader of any company should spend a great deal of time working ON the business, rather than IN it. What do you mean “working ON” on the business? That is, she spends time looking at the big view picture, planning for the future and creating paths into that future.

She has a vision.  What do you mean “IN the business”? Don’t we all work IN our businesses? When a business is small and you are involved in its daily running, it’s easy to get weighed down in the details. Be sure you are spending a significant amount of your time on the strategy. It pays a higher dividend in the future if you focus on strategy now.

Christianity, Islam and Buddhism; all these religions have a big following because those who received the vision for them did one thing very well beyond “seeing clearly”. They were great communicators. I will use the example of Jesus. He continually communicated his vision to his disciples. He spoke directly, told stories and used plenty of imagery. Whatever else he did, or didn’t do, he continuously communicated the vision. The following continues to gather strength thousands of years later. A vision so grand that many have been willing to die for it.


Leading with goals

“So, is it a process the entrepreneur embarks on to growth only?” No, no, no she answered. Many entrepreneurs have made that mistake. Once they begin seeing success, they quickly forget what got them there – goal setting.  Perhaps even worse, they start demanding that their team sets goals and they offer none. The team is waiting to receive a big picture and their buy-in helps them see the significance of their role.


Improved communication resulting from shared goals.

One of my favorite things is to enjoy my coffee at a window, or as I call it, with a “view from the window”. Now, we have a training center in Lugogo that offers me a great view of Legends Rugby Club. For a game that I didn’t grow up playing, I have observed a lot.

I have come to the conclusion that it has a very simple goal: put the ball in the end zone. Every team member Knows this basic goal. Whatever the obstacle, put the ball in the end zone. And if someone is not doing their job, do it for them. Just put more balls in the end zone more than the other team.

When you work for a small company or start up, you have to “do every body’s job”. Whatever it is “put the ball in the end zone”. And let everyone know this is what matters.


Achieving success through shared goals

Goals inspire. They create energy to achieve them and in the process, synergies are built which create unity. I see it continuously while watching the training sessions from my “view from the window”. Why? Because the team can clearly see how linked their success is to that of the whole team.  Also, when the individual hits a personal goal, every one celebrates, including the spectators (who support the team scoring). They bang the boards incessantly to celebrate.

“I have a dream” Martin Luther King Jr roared “…that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed…”.

Having a dream that translates to a vision, and then to mission, followed by goals is essential to the success of the entrepreneur.

Make it your business to make it known to your team. Don’t tire of it.