Successful businesses are predicated on the breakdown of tasks to separate departments that focus on one goal. For example, Human Resources’ goal is to source outstanding talent to ensure great people with strong skills are assigned to roles in which they will provide the organization with a great return on investment. Meanwhile, the Finance department reviews budgets, creates forecasts and ensures the business is profitable. Each division of the business needs to focus on it’s assigned task while keeping the values and vision of the greater picture in mind. If that is how a company becomes and stays successful, why can’t you adopt a similar outline for your own life? Below, I will outline the similarities to running a business and running a happy life.
Every great company has one. This is the ‘why’. If you don’t have a mission statement, how do you know what to aim for? What keeps you grounded when times are good and what keeps you pushing ahead when times are bad? Having a Mission Statement is critical to success. As people join your team (or enter your life), how will you judge whether they are helping you achieve your mission or taking away from it? How will you stay the course when all roads seem to lead to a dead end? A mission statement will keep you accountable and focused on the tasks at hand.
Each year, the Finance department of a company is responsible for releasing proposed budgets for the entire company to adhere to for the following year. These budgets are created after much analysis of the previous year compared to others, and benchmarked against forecasts. These are detailed down to the last cent to ensure financial accountability. To do the same in your own life would require a monthly budget. Each month will present new challenges. As such, each month needs to have it’s own unique budget. For instance, we all know Christmas and the holiday season is in December. This usually means you will be buying presents for family and friends. If you do not treat December differently than February (31 days in December versus 28 days in February), it could result in a negative balance. If you had budgeted out the projected expense ahead of time, you could have given yourself a cushion and a plan to keep yourself within your proposed budget. When you don’t have a budget for each month you are leaving things to chance, in business this is unacceptable.
In addition, within the Finance department there will be a team responsible for investing funds for future expenses such as an office upgrade or the acquisition of a new company. In your life, this may be saving money for a new dining room set or a sizable down payment on the purchase of a new property. Companies are always thinking ahead to tomorrow, next month, next year, next decades- you need to be thinking ahead too.
Human Resources has recruiters to source top talent for the organization. Your friends and the people you decide to spend time with are the talent you surround yourself with. With this in mind, you really need to make a judgement call on who is helping you get where you want to be and who is not. A friend should be positive, supportive, accountable, motivating and a great listener- all qualities you would look for in hiring a new team member. If they are negative and adverse to change, why are you allowing them to stay in your world? Companies are large organizations made up of individuals that influence the current state and future trajectory of the whole. Your circle of friends will also influence your future plans, therefore have high standards of who you welcome aboard.
In your life, you are the executive team. The purpose of the executive team is to solve top organization level problems with the Mission Statement at the forefront. If you are facing a big-life decision, you need to weigh all options. Write down the positives and negatives of the decision, along with the best case and worst case scenario. This is how an executive team makes important decisions- they lay out all outcomes, good and bad, and review the entire situation and the impacts such a decision would have on the future of the organization. If you don’t trust yourself to weigh all options, perhaps bring in a trusted friend to aid in your analysis. No executive makes a blind decision with ‘hope’ as a part of the equation.
In the world of business many organizations start, have short lived success and fizzle out. It could be a combination of errors that lead to their demise but, I’m willing to bet they didn’t follow the points I outlined above. The ones that last generations follow these guidelines and are always willing to adapt to their environments. You too are building multiple generations worth of life so be sure to have a mission statement that leads you, have high standards for the people you allow into your world and you are the Chief Executive Officer of your life so act like it.