What Has 2011 Taught You About Business and Leadership?

As this is the last week of the year, many of us are understandably looking back at the past 12 months and discussing what we consider to be the significant events of 2011. In most cases, such discussions tend to focus on the numerous challenges and upheavals we’ve either watched from afar or witnessed first-hand. From natural disasters to political uprisings, there’s no question this year has placed our collective humanity within the frame of adversity and unimagined change.

Of course, adversity in and of itself is not necessarily a good or bad thing. Rather, it’s what we do and whether we’re open to learning from it that should decide whether it’s been of benefit or harm to us.

Certainly for businesses, the state of the global economy and the growing level of competition coming in from multiple fronts counts as one of the biggest challenges organizations and their leaders have had to contend with. And yet, contrary to what we might be reading in the papers, this doesn’t mean that weren’t some bright spots to be found amid all that doom and gloom.

One such example of this comes from the article, “Business Lessons Learned in 2011”, where a number of business leaders look back at the past 12 months and share their experiences of the lessons they’ve learned which will help them to improve and build on their business in the coming months.

Some of my favourite lessons shared in this piece include:

“People often say ‘listen to your customers,’ but that’s not a complete enough process. First, ask your customers what you’re doing right and wrong, and listen carefully to what they tell you. Then, take action. Here’s why. If you don’t ask, many times customers won’t say that their experience wasn’t quite perfect. If you don’t put aside your prejudices, you may not realize that a customer is right when you think they are wrong. If you don’t take action on what your customers are saying, they will simply quit providing you with feedback.”
— Salah Boukadoum, Soap Hope
“One of the main lessons I learned this year is that my best return on investment is through holding free marketing classes and educational seminars. What started out as an idea to give back to the business community has led to new opportunities.”
— Karen Taylor, New Destiny Marketing
“I’ve learned this year not to take on too much work. I have an 18-month-old little boy who is taking up a lot of what used to be my ‘work from home’ time. Rather than stressing about all the stuff that’s not getting done, this year I made it a priority to try and ignore the small stuff, understanding that, if left alone, none of these non-actions would cause the company to go down the drain anyway.”
— Adam Koos, Libertas Wealth Management Group
As you can see, the lessons some business leaders have learned over the course of this tough year include how to listen better, the financial – not to mention social – benefits of giving back to the community, and how to make more time for family without feeling guilty over the loss of time that could be spent working.

There are several other wonderful lessons shared by other business leaders that are worth noting and I invite you to check those out as well by reading the article “Business Lessons Learned in 2011”.

As this is my last piece for the year, I’d like to end by asking you, the readers of my blog, what lessons you’ve learned over the course of the past year? What new understandings did your choices/decisions reveal to you about your business and the teams you lead? I look forward to learning more about your insights and experiences.

Disclaimer: My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive monthly incentives to share my views on content I find noteworthy and relevant for my audience.

Some other posts you may enjoy:

  1. 10 Questions to Help Leaders Prepare for the New Year
  2. What My Kids Taught Me About Inspiration and Execution
  3. Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #4 – CEO Dave Balter on Humility in Leadership
  4. Learning to Appreciate the Gifts That Come With Leadership
  5. Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #2 – Interview with Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer
  6. Are You Fitting Employee Personality Into Your Leadership Puzzle?

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Tanveer Naseer is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed leadership writer and keynote speaker. He is also the Principal and Founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership, a leadership coaching firm that works with executives and managers to help them develop practical leadership and team-building competencies to guide organizational growth and development. Tanveer’s writings and insights on leadership and workplace interactions have been featured in a number of prominent media and organization publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, Inc Magazine, Canada’s national newspaper “The Globe and Mail”, The Economist Executive Education Navigator, and the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.

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