C-Suite Advisory

Awareness is Key: The Most Successful Leaders Are Those That KNOW They Have the Most to Learn

Growing up it always seemed like the majority of people around me knew something I did not. They were more successful than me, yet it did not seem like they were working harder than I was – if anything, it was the opposite scenario. In hindsight, there are a few things I wish I would have known sooner to unlock my full potential and tip the odds in my favor to achieve increased business growth, exponential success and reach my goals faster than everybody else.

In hindsight, the missing piece of the puzzle to success was a sense of awareness.

Think about it for a second. Have you ever seen another business owner do something that surprised you and instantly questione why you didn’t think of that first? In hindsight it now seems so obvious right? Chances are you weren’t focusing on the right things and as a result weren’t aware of the opportunities soon enough. The reality is, most business owners or leaders get left behind because they’re not willing to change the variables and think differently. They are too focused. Meaning, they are trying to force their current decisions to just increase production rather than focus on the bigger picture. For example, some business owners fall into the trap of spending countless hours and time trying to move their business from $100 to $200, however, the most effective business owners and leaders learn how to move their business from $100 to $10,000 – with the same amount of effort. The key here is creating an environment of awareness from the get-go, here’s how.

Avoiding “wish I knew that sooner” moments begins with awareness

When it comes to creating awareness, every CEO or business owner needs to admit to themselves there’s a better way to do what they’re doing now – they just don’t know about it yet.

Recognizing shortcomings is crucial. Meaning it’s important to recognize that there’s things you don’t know, but that you need to learn as soon as possible. The biggest regret leaders usually have is not acting on something sooner or when they did make a choice, it wasn’t well enough informed. Awareness can serve as the tipping point for leaders to unlock areas of opportunity, create accountability and an “always learning” mindset. You have to get real with yourself – ignorance is not bliss. No leader wants to be the one that just defends that their strategy is the “only” way. If this is how you think now, consider the amount of opportunities you’ve already missed out on. The most successful people are the people that are most aware. They’re most aware of themselves, their strengths, weaknesses, blind spots and most importantly their competition’s opportunities as a result of these unknowns.

Create a plan to improve on What you need to know

Becoming aware of what you don’t know comes down to working into your life the idea of constantly pursuing new information in the form of podcasts, books and mentors. Develop a personal improvement plan and stick to it. This could be in the form of reading one book a month, meeting with a mentor once a month or attending one leadership conference a year among additional small everyday habits to identify new ideas and ways of doing things. This development plan should be designed to constantly keep you aware, so that you act on your goals and don’t forget about them a month from now. It’s about asking yourself what habits you can work into your life that help you avoid falling back into a pattern of nescience.

Recognize success is not possible by yourself

No matter how good you are or how hard you try, recognizing the type of success that you want is not possible by yourself is critical. No matter how many books you read or conferences you go to, you’ll never replace the power of bringing an expert on your team that specializes in a particular area.

Whether you’re a CEO of a corporation or a small business owner, it’s important to create your panel of experts, key consultants or hire the right people to fill critical roles. The most successful CEOs have the best teams around them. They have financial, legal, real estate and business succession experts looking out for things that they may be blind to. Essentially, it’s a team of five people that can help you avoid those “wish I knew that sooner moments.” You’ll never be able to replicate the knowledge these people have by yourself – it’s simply not possible. A team of key experts will exponentially increase a leader’s level of awareness by bringing their sphere of knowledge to the table. The idea is for a business owner to do only what the business owner should do, which is focus on strategy and vision and delegate as much as possible to internal team members or consultants to really increase the owner or the CEO’s bandwidth. It is only then that rapid success will occur.

It begins with awareness

In my experience, most business owners avoid change. If something’s working just good enough, they stick with it as opposed to realizing that what brought them to this point may not be the best path toward the next level. Awareness is key among successful leaders. It’s about realizing that the unknown can be an area of opportunity that can lead to personal development and creating a solid team that will take their organization to the next level.

In hindsight, it’s about understanding that as a business leader success does not always come from knowing it all, but rather realizing that asking for help, learning, planning and delegating can lead to unprecedented growth and help leaders avoid unfortunate “wish I had known this sooner” moments.

Written by Sten Morgan.

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Sten Morgan
Sten Morgan, CFP, ChFC, Legacy Investment Planning. Sten is passionate about helping clients manage their finances through the different seasons of their lives. He focuses on retirement, estate and tax planning strategies for individuals, business owners, corporate executives and their families. His certifications as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a Chartered Financial Consultant® help him advise his clients on virtually any financial issue. Sten Morgan is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on LinkedIn.