(PRWEB) January 26, 2015
The U.S. economy is on the rise – despite a lowered 2015 global growth outlook recently announced by the International Monetary Fund. Given this upward trend, many business leaders are anticipating a year of expansion. And while he shares their excitement, at least one east coast CEO credits his own successful career to far more than a healthy economy.
Duane Hixon, founder and CEO of N2 Publishing, believes business growth is all about having three things: the right people, a defined culture and a steady demeanor.
Hixon said the first lesson is likely the hardest for owners to accept, particularly young entrepreneurs: The leader does not need to be the smartest person on the team.
“I graduated from college with a 1.9 GPA, yet the company I founded will surpass the $100 million sales mark this year. All this to say if you onboard the right people, you don’t have to have all the answers because excellent people want to be challenged,” Hixon said.
“They want to problem-solve and leave their mark on the company with the solutions they bring to the table. Leaders should empower their team to do this very thing. You'll find answers faster, but more important, you'll have the buy-in from your team that’s necessary for long-term growth.”
As company “culture” goes, Hixon admits the term – Merriam-Webster’s pick for 2014 word of the year – is overused, but nonetheless true: Culture is a vital concept in business.
“Even if you are tired of hearing about culture, it’s the starting point for all organizations,” he said. “You must know and share what behaviors will be rewarded, and which ones will lead to separation.”
Hixon also points out that excellent pay and great benefits may make an attractive job package, but a firm with a poorly defined culture will have a hard time retaining top talent.
“If leadership is unstable, employees may quit, or worse, stay on to keep the pay and benefits, but ‘check out’ mentally as a way to cope with the unhealthy environment,” he said. “If you want a great company, define the culture that will enable you to keep the people you need to build it. Once you define it, simply live it.”
Hixon said that using overstatement to make a company sound exciting or flashy – a common practice among some professionals – is not the way to represent a business. From his perspective “steady" is the word of choice.
“Steady is sexy. There are a lot of words that people love to use, that sound exciting, that generate flash and headlines. However, ‘steady’ is not one of them. But it should be. I remember meeting a man that worked with my grandpa for more than 20 years. I was in college at the time, and both he and my grandpa were retired from that company. My grandpa's name was Ed, and this man affectionately referred to him as ‘Steady Eddy.’”
Finally, Hixon adds that decisive action, not emotion, is what has built their business.
“Our top leaders, our most successful salespeople, our most valuable creative team members, they all share this characteristic,” he said. “Day in and day out, year after year, they work when it is time to work. They don't make excuses. They lead with their actions and their decisions… not their emotions. Ask anyone who has been married for a long time, or been in plenty of relationships over the years, and ask them how important ‘steady’ really is, and you'll find it's true in love, and it's true in business. Steady is sexy, and it is extremely important when it comes to building a great organization.”