When I made this transition from corporate which I had been in for many years in the public and private sector to being a small business owner, I did not have an appreciation of the differences between what measures of success would be. I have tried to outline some of the key differences below as it relates to my experience.
My measures of success in corporate life were:
- Position and title
- Beating other organisations, competitors and even other parts of the business
- Keeping others happy including my boss, my key stakeholders and others critical to achieving our success
- Keeping the client happy at all costs
- A focus on the bottom line, profit and growth
- A focus on developing other people in our team
- Remuneration for my role
It is hard to write these things down now without reflecting on them. A lot of my focus was on looking good, keeping others happy, title, status and my ego. Not flattering but it says a lot of what the corporate environment did in shaping my thinking.
If I now reflect on what my measures of success are as a business owner in a consulting firm, they are:
- Serving the client. I love the focus on being at the coal face with our clients
- Profitable work with aligned clients. The work needs to be profitable but what is more important is working with clients that love what we do and get it. This means making some difficult decisions on some clients that don’t fit this criteria.
- Developing people in our team. I love seeing the growth of our people every day.
- Time. I love the flexibility and autonomy of working hard when you need to but also taking time off when I want to. Spending time with family and friends is now far more important to me.
- Making a difference. Doing work that truly matters to me, our team and our clients as well as the communities we interact with i.e. our industries.
- Enjoying this journey of learning and improvement. This is now a big driver for me as I have realised that I love learning and growing every day.
The contrast in the two lists are stark. One is driven by external factors and recognition and the other is about internal growth and development of our team and myself
True success is internally driven. My own consulting business has allowed me to thrive in this environment. One is not right or wrong but you need to know your true measures of success if you are going to get the satisfaction and fulfilment you a striving for.