The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s the best way to keep your company successful? is written by Matt Lhoumeau, CEO of Concord.
Staying at the top of your game in business in an ongoing adventure. Most people know the basics: never stop innovating; serve your customers; and inspire your team. But let’s look beyond the obvious and think outside the box about ways to maintain your company’s competitive edge. As an entrepreneur who sold his first company at the age of 19, I’ve taken every opportunity within my grasp to discover what other successful leaders are doing right.
Apply the rule of three
During the 2007 French Presidential campaign, I worked with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to build the campaign’s policy and initiatives program under the French President’s future Chief of Staff Emmanuelle Mignon. President Sarkozy taught me about the rule of three. Simply stated, the rule of three means you cover three points — no more, no less — at any given time. Steve Jobs, for example, was a master at using the rule of three in his presentations. Scientific research suggests the rule of three is optimal based on the average persons short-term memory capacity.
Applying the rule of three to every aspect of your business could yield astoundingly beneficial results. It can be difficult to find room for improvement throughout your organization when your company is succeeding, but you have the potential to gain even more ground by refining processes that are already working. The rule of three is concise and forces you to distill ideas, maintain focus, and break tasks down into approachable units. It’s especially useful when identifying key selling points, developing pricing models, and defining quarterly objectives.
Look for creative crossovers by seeking inspiration from the things that surround you. I’ve designed software architecture based on concepts derived from building architecture; implemented company policies influenced by philosophical theories; and developed marketing strategies inspired by manufacturing processes.
Marc Andreessen, cofounder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, supports the idea of learning as much as you can about as many different things as possible. I entered his office one day and noticed almost every surface of the reception area was covered with books on various topics. I was told they were all Marc’s “personal books”. Obviously, he practices what he preaches.
Do what’s best for your customers, which means being ready to alter and adapt when necessary. If you see an opportunity to do something radically different in your industry that’s right for your customers, assess the risk, then take your idea as far as you can.
John Legere, CEO and president of T-Mobile U.S., turned the wireless communications industry on its head with “uncarrier” mobile service plans. His radical move provided an alternative to long-term mobile service contracts. Legere’s philosophy is to listen to his employees and his customers, then align his company with what they’ve told him. Risk taking is part of building and sustaining a successful business. View every accomplishment and mistake as an opportunity to learn, grow, and transform.
Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question:What’s the best way to keep your company successful?
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The One Word Managers Need to Say More Often by Kevin Chou, cofounder and CEO of Kabam.
The biggest mistake a successful company can make by Rich Lesser, CEO of the Boston Consulting Group.