“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” – John C. Maxwell

Whether you are an executive of a major corporation, a self-employed professional, a middle manager, an entry-level employee, or the owner of a small business, there is one sure way to improve your business: improve yourself. {readmorelink}Read the whole article{/readmorelink}

At first glance, this may seem trite, but let’s examine the reality behind this statement. Regardless of your role, your ability to do your job well depends upon a number of factors, including your ability to make good decisions. This is true even of assembly-line workers. I’m not saying it’s not possible to do your job without good decision-making skills. But it is impossible to excel at your job without them. Since other parts of the business depend upon the output from your function – again, regardless of where that function is – it stands to reason that those other areas of the business benefit from superior output at your position.

If that is the case, then, at some level, the entire business benefits from having a better employee in your role. There are two ways the business can experience that improvement: improve you or replace you. Which benefits you more?

Now that we’ve identified a path that benefits the business AND you, there’s an obvious question: what kind of improvement should you seek?

The answer, oddly, is almost anything. Improving yourself in almost any area will improve you in most areas, so you can’t really go wrong. Of course, some areas will be of more benefit to you and the business. Start with an honest self- assessment. Make a list of your strengths, and a second list of things you’re not very good at. You know where I’m heading with this, right? Maybe not!

John Maxwell, probably the premier expert on leadership and a master of self-improvement principles, explains that we can only improve a small amount on the things we’re really not good at. Our real areas of impact are in those areas we’re strongest in. That’s not to say you shouldn’t improve on your weak areas – just limit those improvements to areas you MUST improve in. If it’s something you can hire someone to do, or which has no real bearing on your life, work, or business, then leave it alone.

Focus your self-improvement on those areas where you can excel. Become an expert in what you’re already good at, then bring that expertise to bear at work. You will be astounded at the level of impact you can really have in an organization – even a large one – if you bring your strengths to bear. The most effective and successful people have found a way to use their strengths, improve upon them, and bring their full focus upon appropriate areas of their lives.

Improve yourself – it’s the surest way to improve your business.

A few self-improvement activities:


  • Take a class. In almost anything.
  • Learn to speak in front of an audience.
  • Study another culture. Find out how other people think.
  • Read. Reading anything is good, reading about successful people is better, reading books that teach you to improve yourself is best.
  • Be positive. Pessimists rarely have a positive impact on the world (or work) around them.
  • Learn to bring people out of their shells. Get other people talking, and you become a great conversationalist.
  • Put aside a few minutes every day to think. Do this with pen and paper – the brain is more effective when you’re writing.
  • Find a mentor or coach. Pick someone who is more successful (in all areas of life) than you. It doesn’t matter what business they’re in.