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  • Writer's pictureHassan Younes

6 Proven Ways to Create a Stronger Business (And Overcome the Cancer of Complacency)

What do successful people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Elon Musk Have in common? They’ve never fallen to the trap of complacency.

If Elon Musk thought life on Earth (and the galaxy around it) is good enough as it is, the world would have never known Tesla, SpaceX, or the Boring Company.

Had Oprah Winfrey believed everyone who told her she was not right for TV, she never would have become the most successful talk show host of all time.

And if Bill Gates let himself think it was good enough to have tried and failed once with his first company, Traf-O-Data, he never could have created Microsoft.

Complacency would have been the common enemy that brought these three world changers down. Instead, they created strong businesses and established their places in history on the back of their never-ending hunger for improvement, innovation, and transformation.

As a business owner or someone aspiring to be one, you can do incredible things, too.

But the moment you let yourself feel too complacent in your comfort zone, you shut all doors leading to progress — and success.

Now, let’s take several pages out of the books of some of the world’s most successful innovators on how to create a stronger business by overcoming the threat of complacency.

The Ways

The opposite of complacency is having a burning desire to do more and be more.

To help you do just that, here are six actionable steps you can take to keep complacency at bay and make your business stronger than ever.

#1 Encourage and Incentivize Innovation

Nothing says complacency better than settling for tried-and-tested solutions. If you really want to establish a strong business that changes the life of your target customer, you need to encourage and reward your team members for thinking of better, more effective, and more efficient ways of doing things.

Here’s an example.

Since the days of Steve Jobs, Apple has driven innovation by rewarding employees and executives for coming up with disruptive ideas. These ideas allowed the birth of an entire ecosystem of Apple products that a lot of people can’t live without.

As CEO Tim Cook says, “Innovation is deeply embedded in Apple’s culture. We approach problems with boldness and ambition, and we believe there are no limits. Innovation is in the DNA of the company.”

#2 Hire the Right People

Before you can incentivize innovation, though, you’ve got to have people who are capable of thinking outside the box. This is the reason why a lot of successful innovators like Amazon, SpaceX, and Apple are known for having rigorous employee selection processes focused on finding the right people for the job.

If you are to overcome complacency in business, you need to hire people who have a knack for challenging the status quo by continuously improving and innovating. You need people you can trust to think independently, and you have to trust them enough not to micromanage them.

Take this piece of advice from the late Steve Jobs:

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. At Apple, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

#3 Lock in Your Long-Term Vision and Short-Term Goals

Another fatal form of complacency is not setting goals you can use to measure your success. Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, has always believed that you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Being clear about what you want your business to achieve both in the short term and in the long run will help keep you on track and in the right direction. It’s easy to be complacent and think you’re doing just great just because you’re making sales, generating leads, or closing deals.

But how do you know if you’re doing enough of these things to consider your business successful? Without having set goals, you can’t. That said, meeting your original targets should not be the end of the line for you. In the interest of rejecting complacency, the next step for you should be to set higher goals.


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