Business development 10 November 2016

Watch and learn – Why you should observe the best people in your industry

speaker
Sometimes we miss the opportunity to watch and learn from others’ experiences.

Here, entrepreneur and business author Royston Guest outlines to readers the benefits of watching and emulating the habits of those that have already made their mark on your chosen industry.

‘It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.’

—Zen Proverb

When it comes to doing anything new, you have two choices. The first is to put in the hard yards, learning through trial and error as you reinvent the wheel, the second is to watch and learn from those who have already navigated a pathway to success.

I personally know many business owners, business leaders and entrepreneurs who have started businesses, achieved phenomenal success, perhaps even sold their business, but have failed to embed the lessons they learnt.

They’ve spent the next decade frustrated, setting up numerous new ventures, which never delivered the same levels of success. Why does this happen? Because they never had a replicable framework or formula that allowed them to deliver consistent, repeatable, predictable results every time!

I learned early in my career that observing and emulating the habits, processes, and attitudes of successful people was a reliable way to fast track my own success.

On reflection, this was one of my most important life lessons and it has stayed with me ever since.

Upon leaving school at 16, I was keen to get into the ‘real world’ and my first opportunity was an apprenticeship at a construction company working a six-monthly rotation through each department of the business. It could have been a long process of trial and error.

But instead, my very wise site manager advised me that as I moved between the various departments, I should ask the three best people in each area what they thought I needed to know in order to be successful from day one.

When I joined the planning department, I asked the three best planners, who shared tips and tricks I would otherwise have had to learn the hard way. When I joined the quantity surveying department, I did the same.

Adopt a success modelling approach

If there is one idea that can ‘fast track’ your success: personally, professionally, and in your business, it’s this: success modelling.

You can either develop yourself and your business the hard way or the easy way. Which pathway are you currently on?

The first pathway is the hard way – learning through your mistakes, trial and error and constantly re-inventing the wheel.

This road can be long, winding, and a painful experience. Sometimes we become so locked in our own world, so inwardly focused on thinking we can do it all ourselves and we know best, that we simply miss the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences.

Is there an easier way? Yes, and top achievers follow this second pathway. They have an insatiable need and thirst for discovery, tapping into the success formula of those who have already been there and done it.

Knowing that if they learn from their lessons, they might just accelerate their own journey, and in the process, avoid some of the common pitfalls which can easily derail and sabotage their success.

It doesn’t mean there isn’t some trial and error involved. When a child learns to walk, they start by modelling the people around them, but they still fall over constantly to begin with.

Why does a second sibling generally develop faster than the first? Because they have a role model to emulate and copy, they are ‘success modelling’ from an early age.

The optimum solution therefore is a blend of pathway two – modelling other people’s success – and pathway one – trial and error – testing out some of your thinking and ideas, making some healthy mistakes, and learning from them fast.

What if you could ‘fast track’ your success and reduce the timeline in delivering accelerated, sustained and profitable growth in your business?

Who are the market leaders in your industry and sector? What can you learn from them? It doesn’t even need to be in your industry. Some of the best innovations and ideas come from what others are doing and personalising and applying them to your own unique situation and scenario.

Re-ignite that child like instinct of curiosity and asking the ‘why’ questions. Watch, learn, take insight from others, apply and integrate them into your own success formula. The result; a smoother, accelerated journey in turning your goals, ambition and dreams into reality.

Royston Guest is author of Built to Grow, a guide to help entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals.

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