Four steps to building a successful organization

I had the privilege of being the guest last week on The BusinessMakers Radio Show and was asked at the end of the interview about advice I might have for other entrepreneurs. This is the advice I offered, which applies to the leader of any organization, new or established, for-profit or not-for-profit.

I believe there are four steps to building a successful organization.

  1. Dream: Have a vision for doing something remarkable. Understand what you are passionate to accomplish, then set out to do it. Develop your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and move in that direction. Dreams can’t come true unless you start with a dream.
  2. Team: Reach out to others who can help turn your dream into a reality. Engage people who share your values and your passion. Hire people who are better than you. Jim Collins calls this step “getting the right people on the bus.” In my experience this step makes all the difference in both the journey and the outcome.
  3. Scheme: Develop a plan, a blueprint, a road map. Whatever you call it, be clear about what is essential to success and what is nice to have. Make sure the team is aligned and, as obstacles appear and detours are taken, that they get realigned. Frequently. There is a fine line between adaptability and chaos. Walk it carefully.
  4. Ice cream: As you have little wins, stop and celebrate. As you have big wins, stop and really celebrate. Show your appreciation for those who made the success possible. Thank them. Use this time to renew and re-inspire. The next challenge is right around the corner and you’ll need to be reinvigorated. But, for now, have a scoop or two and appreciate the accomplishment and those who made it happen.

I used this basic outline to build an organization that rebuilt a community in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch and to build an agency that has succeeded through two economic disasters in nine years. I hope that it will also work for you.