As I start my new venture, I continue to encounter the question, “What are you passionate about?” It has come from many sources and in various forms, but it always comes back to this same question. You’ve probably had these types of questions before – they are very broad, but hard to really define in a couple of sentences. I thought it would be an interesting and challenging topic for me to write about, as it pertains to my new venture. I’m going to focus on my passions as they relate to business, but be assured that there is a significant overlap between my personal and business passions. I imagine that is the case for most people who have a difficult time separating the two from a time-management perspective. I am going to talk about four areas of business that I am very passionate about: Professional Development, New Business Ventures, Turn-Arounds and Team Building.
I have always been a reader and a studier. When I encounter something new, I try to absorb everything about it and understand it from multiple angles. My current new area of interest is data analytics. I have been trying to attend as many conferences as my schedule allows to learn about Big Data, The Internet of Things, and how analytics can help grow a business. Not having a mathematics or statistics background, it is a little more challenging to understand the concepts. I find myself researching terms and definitions while I am reading an article. While it gets a little frustrating that it takes additional time to power through a technical paper, it’s gratifying to me once it’s done and I understand it. Unless I am flexing my mental muscle, I tend to get complacent.
New Business Ventures
I have encountered this learning curve multiple times throughout my career when I learned a new discipline, whether it was creating a new division in a different industry, a new platform to deliver an existing product, or developing an entirely new product. While it is never easy working through the curve, once you are on top, you realize it was worth the effort. The key to success in this area, in my opinion, is defining your path up the curve. There needs to be an adequate amount of planning and preparation completed prior to starting up the curve. Shortcuts along the way usually end up costing you. You also need to be prepared to handle the occasional curveball thrown while you are executing your plan. While it is great to have a thorough plan, inflexibility can potentially cost you just as much. I’ve enjoyed being nimble enough to balance these two and execute in a variety of complicated situations.
I love fixing things. I have grown throughout my career with my ability to go into a troubled situation and turn it around, usually in pretty short order. I’ve had the opportunity to work on issues as small as a process to a large multi-state business division. While the sizes are on each end of the spectrum, the approach was the same. I will probably write future posts that cover this in more detail, but the simplistic explanation of how I approach these situations is to take an appropriate amount of time to understand all of the issues. Once you really understand what you have to do, the rest is fairly simple. You just break down the issue into manageable portions, prioritize and begin to execute. Where I have seen the process break down is when there is not enough time spent on understanding all of the issues or making assumptions about the issues without getting all the available information. Similar to New Business Ventures, as soon as you start in the wrong direction, it’s extremely difficult to correct your course.
While this is the last area I am discussing, it is, by far, the most important part of an organization’s success. I am a firm believer in the importance of great teams being the ultimate driver in an organization’s success. You can have the best product or service, but if you don’t back it with the best team, you will never maximize the organization’s performance. As leaders, it is our responsibility to create, develop, challenge and reward our teams. In my mind, there is not much more rewarding than seeing a team I am leading perform. I love the opportunity to congratulate people on doing a great job and succeeding at their goals. Ultimately, this is my passion – helping people. This is the overlap for me between my business and personal life. The satisfaction of helping people and subsequently improving their business, is the driving force in my new adventure. I am excited at the opportunity to continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I look forward to sharing my journey.