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Unlock the psychology behind successful businesses

POSTED: 25th January 2016
IN: Guides
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We spoke to Business Psychologist Hannah Johnson, from Carter Corson, to unlock some of the psychological secrets to running a successful business.

What are your goals for the year ahead? Maybe you want to develop a new product and grow your business? Or perhaps you want to improve efficiency and save money? Whatever your business resolutions for 2016 are, it’s vital that you have the right mindset and remain focussed on achieving your goals.

But sometimes, staying focussed can be easier said than done. So, we sat down with Hannah Johnson, Business Psychologist at Carter Corson, to get some tips for achieving your goals in 2016.

1)   Be clear and realistic when planning your goals

“Firstly, you need to be clear on exactly what your goal is”, Hannah explains. “You’ll only remain focussed on a goal if you’ve invested the time to think it through and identify how you’ll achieve it. As usual, it’s all in the planning. When setting a goal for yourself, don’t make it too broad, be clear on exactly what it is that you want to achieve.”

Making realistic, achievable goals is also key. “Break the goal into smaller steps - one of the main reasons why we don’t achieve the goals we set out for ourselves is because they seem so far from where we are now that we don’t feel that they are achievable”, Hannah adds.

“If you can break down your goal into smaller mini-goals then it won’t see so overwhelming. Also, as you achieve each smaller goal you’ll get a sense of accomplishment that gives you the positive reinforcement you need to move on and work towards the next step.”

2)   Create an environment that encourages teamwork and collaboration

Having a team that can work well together is vital in any organisation, especially one looking to grow.

“Our clients come to us because they want to get the most out of the people who work for them, they want to invest in their development so that they work effectively on their own but also as part of a team”, Hannah comments.

“As a manager you’ll encourage collaboration because you know a certain project will benefit from having different brains with different strategies, approaches, and ideas in a room – you hope that all the diversity will get all the best options out on the table and then that group will be both supportive and challenging to one another in achieving the best outcome.”

However, getting a team to collaborate can sometimes be easier said than done. Hannah highlights the importance of each team member being aware of their individual strengths and working styles, and being willing to adapt.

“In a group who are very self-aware of their differences, but who use that understanding to adapt their style to whoever they’re working with, they’re much more likely to be successful. However, if a group is less self-aware, or struggle with communicating their message clearly, or don’t know how to make use of each other’s strengths, they’ll struggle to achieve what they have set out to do. Using psychologists to develop your staff will give them the understanding they need to work most effectively with those around them.”

3)   Lead by example

If you look at any successful business, they’ll all have one thing in common: strong leadership. Hannah explains what it takes to be a strong leader.

“The best managers are the ones who know how to be a good leader”, Hannah says. “That ability to step back from the day to day detail to look at the bigger picture and consider whether they are taking their team in the right direction. Are they allowing the culture and values of the organisation to trickle through to their team? And from a strategic perspective, do they have the right people in the right roles, and does everyone have the skills and knowledge they need to be effective? These are the things a leader is thinking about and trying to influence.”

4)   Know when to take a step back

As a small business owner, it’s easy to fall into the habit of trying to do everything yourself. As your business starts to grow, however, it’s important to know when to take a step back. For any business owner, taking the time to stand back and review your business, not only from a delegation perspective but also taking the time to review your finances, processes, procedures and your employees to make sure they are working as hard as you are is essential.

Hannah points to a trend that has been noticed among small businesses in recent years. “Business owners who try to maintain control of the day to day running of their business as it grows, and struggle to take a step back will struggle. Unless they begin to delegate certain responsibilities, and spend their time focussing on the long term strategic thinking that is needed, their turnover will plateau and their business will cease to grow. It’s surprising how one person’s preference for control can half an entire business’ growth, but it does.”

Finally, it’s worth remembering that all businesses face challenges at one time or another. As Hannah explains: “Businesses will inevitably struggle with managing and influencing the people that they work with at some stage in their life cycle.

“What we do is helping people understand themselves, their colleagues and their organisation better so they’re able to focus in and work on the areas that are currently blocking them from being the best version of themselves.”

Do you have any top tips that helped you succeed? Let us know.

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