Classical Wisdom and Business Success in the 21st Century

Classical Wisdom and Business Success in the 21st Century

Wisdom is not the same as Intelligence or even technical knowledge. Thousands and tens of thousands of very smart business owners were technical experts at what they produced and should have had business success, but their companies lie in unmarked graves across the economic landscape.

Lack of market demand is the primary reason provided for many start ups failing, but that does not fully explain why 50% of SMEs fail within five years.

Another factor given is forces outside the control of the owners themselves. Although there are numerous examples of disasters and other crisis destroying profitable businesses, most often you will find a company’s inability to adapt to a particular crisis dooming it to failure while its competitors survive or even thrive.

Business Success through the Socratic Method?

As we move past COVID we will face new uncertainties. This is a perfect time for us to reconnect with a timeless resource that has been devalued or discarded in a constant quest for new and shiny things.

The resources of classical wisdom which enables us to face new and uncertain times with proven and timeless insights and tools. After all, our ancestors used this wisdom to adapt and thrive throughout the centuries. 

A wisdom that includes:

  • The humility to accept you do not know everything.
  • The curiosity to continuously develop your skills and knowledge,
  • The strength to handle challenges to your beliefs and assumptions – even by your peers or underlings, and
  • The discipline to ask the necessary questions to neutralise your biases and uncover underlying issues.

In short, a wisdom that will enable you to identify what you do not know and the uncertainties you are facing.

A wisdom that will guide you in confidently addressing these uncertainties, and in taking the necessary steps to minimise the underlying risks.

A wisdom that will strengthen you while you face the unexpected, and lead you in preparing your business to adapt and survive while so many others fail.

So yes, the Socratic method and other classical wisdom insights can be used to enjoy business success.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young

Let’s come down from the Ivory tower. What does this mean in your day-to-day leadership and quest for business success.

Three Practical Areas Where to Apply Wisdom

First, acquire wisdom about your company. Gain insight on where your business stands in terms of its underlying value and strength – including how prepared it is to handle the unexpected.

  1. Do you know the value of your business? Where does it stand on the 8 key drives of business value
  2. What is driving its underlying value and strength? What is holding it back?
  3. How independent is your business? What would happen to it if something were to happen to you?
  4. If you had to exit would you get what it is worth or even anything?

Second, gain wisdom to make better decisions. A good example comes from Vistage, the CEO advisory and coaching company for over 60 years that has come up with 7 Laws of Leadership to transform a CEO from good decision maker to a great one.  These include:

  1. Reject shortcuts to growth.
  2. Create the space to work on the business.
  3. Challenge your thinking with fresh perspectives.
  4. Stoke curiosity.
  5. Apply discipline to decision-making.
  6. Find a trusted guide.
  7. Rise by helping others.

Third, develop insight on where your business stands in terms of supporting your lifestyle and your long-term dreams and plans.

  1. Is your business fulfilling its primary mission for you? Specifically, does it give you the freedom to spend your time where you wish, and provide you the resources to fund your desired lifestyle?
  2. Will you run your business until the day you die, or do you have an exit plan in mind?
  3. How will you want to exit your business? Besides financial security, what non-financial criteria are important to you in terms of an exit?
  4. When will you want to exit your business? Is there a point where it is too risky to continue the business instead of exiting?
  5. Are you mentally Prepared to Exit or step back from your business? What will you do afterwards?
  6. Are you financially prepared to exit or even step back from your business?

Know your Business, Know Yourself, Know your Situation.

Acquire wisdom and implement the insights you develop. You might not only better survive the next crisis, but may even better position yourself to thrive and enjoy extraordinary business success during it.

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

I’m Too Busy…is a debilitating excuse and a symptom of paralysis. A blind comfort with a status quo that leaves you at the whim of the markets and others. If you feel you are working too many hours and do not have the time to “develop your wisdom” and thereby enjoy business success, than you have become a slave to your business.

If you feel trapped and enslaved by your own company than come talk to us. At Sophiall, we guide you in developing the insights and solutions you need to make your company more independent and able to thrive without requiring your daily involvement.

This not only makes your company more enjoyable to run, but it also transforms your company from “your job” to a thriving investment that frees your time and provides the resources for you to pursue the lifestyle you and your family desire.

Why else sacrifice and take risks to own a business in the first place?

Get Wisdom. Though it cost all you have … Get Understanding. Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; Embrace her, and she will honour you.

True Freedom comes from Owning a Business that is Valuable, Scalable, and "Sellable".

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Gain Insight on the Independence and Value of your Business

The value of your business is influenced by 8 key drivers that also help tell you how independent it is. Compare you business with how nearly 60,000 companies have scored on these drivers.