Who’s in Control of your Business?

What makes the difference between a successful business person and one who struggles to get by? Of course there is no single factor as there are many skills that a business owner must possess if they are to realise their goals.

One of these factors is to first have a goal, it may seem obvious, but in order for one to ‘get there’ one must first decide where there is. I am constantly reminded of this simple fact through my consultancy work with businesses of all sizes where I see those who can best define their outcomes are generally the most successful.

However having a vision is not enough, successful people work hard on constant improvement. They know they have influence over their destiny whatever the prevailing conditions. They know that by changing their actions or improving their skills in certain areas they can succeed whatever is happening around them. People who readily accept responsibility for their outcomes can be recognised in the way they speak. For example, you will hear them say things like ‘I misjudged the market and bought more stock than I could handle’ or ‘I found that my skills weren’t sufficient to handle the negotiation’. These people have what I will refer to as an ‘Internal Locus of Control’. They are influenced but not controlled by external factors. They take responsibility for the outcomes.

Conversely, if you hear people say things like ‘I would have been successful but the markets turned sour’ or ‘I got caught by the GST and had to sell the business” they have an ‘External Locus of Control’. Put simply they blame other people for their failures. Of course those who have an external locus are generally the ones who find it difficult to change. It’s always someone else’s fault or responsibility. They tend to be problem focused, while a person with an internal locus is solution focused. It is through their desire for continuous improvement that successful people see opportunity where others see barriers.

In which category would you place yourself? Listen to those around you and see if you can tell if they have and internal or external locus of control. Listen to your own self talk and note how many times a day you blame something or someone else for outcomes in your business.

There is an ancient saying, ‘For a forest to be green each tree must be green’ so why not consider adopting an internal approach to business management and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you can influence the outcome whatever the challenges.

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