Your Character and Your Business
People often think starting a business is about the needed resources and setup, and they completely forget about the need for the person behind the business. Businesses all over the world fail daily because of a CEO having character flaws that have affected the business. We can look at several companies with these issues over the years, businesses such as Enron, Microsystems, Kmart, etc. These companies did not fail because they weren’t making money; they failed because of the character of those running the companies.
In our society, social media, television reality shows, and commercials make us think character is not important anymore. We are now in a world where the internet has made it easy for people to say how they feel about something or act unbecoming on live feeds. People think it is acceptable, and often times, this pours over into their businesses.
If you want to have a lasting business, it takes character. We pair character and integrity when discussing how someone should behave in a business. However, this time I just want to talk to you about character.
We hear the word character, and we think of behavior. But we are talking about the moral and mental qualities or the personality of the person. There are some very distinct personality traits you should have when you are looking at emerging as an entrepreneur.
I want to help you not make excuses as to why you are not starting your business or why it is not succeeding. We are so quick to think it’s the marketing, the branding, the setup, a failure to network, etc. Those issues can be contributing factors. However, statistics have shown that a CEO, whether hired or owner of the business, can affect the success of a company.
Here are three areas you should work on before you start your business. The last thing anyone wants to see is a newspaper article with your name on it saying, “Closed due to CEO who had flaws.”
I. Make Truth Your Friend
The Bible speaks clearly on truth over 235 times, so this has to be very important to God. People tend to think “If I can stretch the truth, tell half-truths, or just bluntly lie, it won’t come back and cause problems later.” When you lie, you cause those who work with you, are on your board, or are investors to decide not want to work with you. Truth is the best option even when the numbers look bad. You may have to lay off staff or an idea might not work, but your employees, vendors, and prospective clients would rather work with a truthful CEO, not one who tells lies. Become familiar with the truth in your daily life, and it will be easier to walk in the truth when you build your company.
II. Passive Aggressive Is Like the Flu
The worst leaders are the ones who are passive aggressive because it is hard to understand their position or expectations. Passive aggressive behavior is avoidance of direct confrontation. Your company may be experiencing conflict or failure, and your staff needs to know. You decide to look away because you cannot deal with the negativity that is occurring right in front of you, but that passive aggressiveness can infect your entire company. You can avoid emails or calls and use the silent treatment, but that doesn’t help the company grow or deal with the issue head-on. Passive aggressive people tend to return to introvert behavior or look for someone to help them escape the responsibility. The longer you as a CEO operate in passive-aggressive behavior, the more your business will suffer. Get a shot of courage and direct conversation so that your business doesn’t succumb to flu-like symptoms.
III. Stay Teachable
A CEO who cannot learn is a CEO destined to become outdated. Building a business or expanding an existing business requires a CEO who can constantly learn from others. Learning is a lifelong journey, and if you want to expand your business or go from being solely a product business to a solution-based business, then you need to be teachable. Know it all people tend to not go far in life, and they miss opportunities for acceleration in their business. Learning doesn’t mean you are not able to lead; learning makes you a better leader. Yes, sit in the classroom whether it is getting a coach, taking courses, or watching others YouTube videos. Stay in a place of learning. “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. Wisdom is very important to your starting or managing an existing business.” — Proverbs 9:9
A great example of a good CEO is the widow in 2 Kings 4. She faced the truth of her debts and what resources she had, and she confronted the debtors who were trying to take her sons. She did not shy away or hideout, hoping it would go away. She faced her issue head-on. Then she listened to the prophet Elisha and learned from him how to create wealth. Her character was full of truth and courage, and she was teachable. That resulted in her being able to pay off her debts and save her sons.
You want to become a CEO, but you need to first develop the traits to stand in the business sector. You may see those in business succeeding and creating wealth, but if their character is flawed, they won’t last long. Your goal is for your company to be around for hundreds of years, so build a solid character before building a solid business.