As many entrepreneurs will tell you, the first six months in business is all about survival. In year one you start to figure things out and, if you survive, year two is where everything starts to come together. As 2017 draws to a close, I can safely say it was a year of out of this world success, and just as much failure. It’s not unlike starting a new job!
It has been well documented that we learn best by doing. What a year it was for DX Learning! I am blessed because every day is a learning day, and I and the business get better as a result. As I look back, I realize one thing; how lucky I am to live and work in a culture that allows for things to go wrong and rewards when things go right.
We welcomed three new rock star team members this year who will help DX grow. And, we will grow them as well!
We ran 122 DX leadership development programs touching over 2,100 people! Many of those will do bigger things with their newfound knowledge and their teams are better off as a result. How do we know this? We have received numerous unsolicited emails from participants and customers who intend to keep doing business with us.
2017 was also a year of learning for me. I would have been fired by a Fortune 500 company for some of the things I did this year. I would have been fired for micro-managing a team member who ended up leaving. I would have been fired for making a financially terrible marketing decision that left a big hole in our profit. I would have been fired for sending a personal email to a business customer by mistake. And, although it was necessary, I probably would have been fired for leaving work early numerous times to tend to my wife and our newborn son! Being with my family isn’t a mistake, but it is my priority and a Fortune 500 boss might not be as understanding.
These actions have had a negative effect on the business, but we are still here. That also means those same mistakes won’t be made again by me nor by any member of my team.
How many people work for a company or a leader who truly allows you to live, learn and get better every day? How many of your leaders are self-aware and embrace their strengths as well as weaknesses? It is amazing how many of us walk around unconsciously incompetent! Not everyone is comfortable knowing they have flaws. But how can we get better unless we know what to improve upon?
The problem is we don’t know what we don’t know, and most don’t know they are micro managing an employee to the point of leaving, and we don’t give them the feedback they need to do it better. I am lucky to get feedback like this every day! 10,000’s don’t.
What is the leadership lesson? Know that you are human. You will make mistakes. Share this with your team. If you learn from your mistakes, you will improve and perform better in the future. If you go to work each day in fear of making a mistake and only perfection is allowed, neither you nor the business is going to survive in the long term. Create a feedback culture instead so you don’t have leaders walking around unconsciously incompetent.
Towards the end of the year, we did our own “Jim Collins’ Hedgehog”. We aspire to be the best in the world at breaking bad leadership habits through designing self-awareness games that motivate people to continuously improve their EQ. We are passionate about unlocking as much hidden leadership potential as we can discover together. While our short-term strategy is not global domination, our vision is unlocking hidden leadership potential wherever it can be found. We found it in seven countries and 57 cities this year! DX is going global! We will know we’ve made it when 20,000 participants go through our programs in a single year. That’s 10 times the size we are now!
My 8-month-old son, Dom, drives me to do better and gives me the grit to drive through the days where I want to give it all up. My motivation is stronger than ever before! I want to transform the work place where people work for leaders who care about their teams, like I care about Dom. As practitioners and leaders, I hope we leave the workplace a better place to be, so the Dom’s of the world come to work with a smile, and leave work with smile too.
Here’s to your personal success in 2018!