not about you

So many business owners make it all about them. They fail to recognize the bigger picture. As a business owner you have the opportunity to make a huge impact if you realize it’s not about you. It’s about your team members, their families, the community, the economy, our nation, and you could even go as far to say the world. My article below, which was originally published in The Tennessean, describes this with more detail. Read on if you want to grow your business and make a positive impact.


“Dad, how do you know when someone is a grown up?”

My 14-year-old daughter asked me this question as we were driving to dinner the other night. It was completely out of the blue. I thought for a while before answering.

“Well baby girl, you’re an adult when your life becomes more about others than yourself.”

The conversation has replayed continually in my head ever since. One thing I know for sure, it’s definitely a correct statement when describing a mature business. If you want to grow your business, realize that business is not about You.

Yes I know…you own the business, it’s your time, your money and your risk. But trust me, this attitude won’t get you or your business anywhere except all alone on the playground. Try growing a business alone—it won’t happen.

The absolute expert on leadership and, author of “The 5 Levels of Leadership,” John Maxwell, says only one percent of leaders reach the fifth and highest level of leadership, which is respect. Respect as a business owner is ultimately achieved when you fully realize that respect is not given, it’s earned. Yes, your team will follow through with your orders because you’re the boss. If they want to stay employed and continue to bring home the bacon, they will listen. But, that won’t last long, and if your team members don’t ultimately respect you they won’t perform to their best abilities and your business will never reach its full potential.

If you make your business about others, you will gain their respect. More importantly, you can make a positive impact on your team members, their families and your entire community. When your team members sense you operating this way, they’ll begin to do their job not because you told them to, but because they want to be apart of this positive change.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Use words like “us,” “we” and “our.” These build a team environment. Conversely, don’t use words like “I” or “my,” which create walls between you and the rest of the team.
  • Give team members credit when things go right, take the blame when things go wrong. Your team members will know you have their backs.
  • Hold your team members accountable for company goals. When they achieve them, they will have contributed to the company’s success and feel valued. Further, they’ll strive to keep improving.
  • Refrain from asking your team members to do what you are not willing to do yourself.
  • Remain consistent in your actions, expectations and procedures.
  • At a minimum, make sure your team members have comfortable desk chairs and decent coffee. They spend at least 160 hours of their lives each month at work. Make the office a good place to go everyday.

When I told my daughter what it meant to be an adult, she heard me, but she won’t truly understand what I meant until she makes this shift on her own — when she cares for another’s wellbeing and success far more than her own. We gain true understanding through first-hand experience. So, my business advice to you: don’t take it from me. Try it for yourself. Implement some of these tips to take the focus off of you in your business and see for yourself how fast your business matures.


This article was originally published on The Tennessean.

Photo credit: <a href=””>Matteo Bagnoli</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>