Smith:You tout 10 secrets to success in IBD. What are they?
O'Neil: Most leaders have 10 rules that, when combined, can turn dreams into reality:
000 Decide on your true dreams and goals.
3. Take action (get started).
4. Never stop learning.
5. Be persistent and work hard.
6. Learn to analyze details.
7. Focus your time and money.
8. Don't be afraid to innovate; be different.
9. Deal and communicate with people effectively (people skills).
10. Be honest and dependable; take responsibility.
Smith:What management strategies have you employed to help IBD succeed?
O'Neil: Over time, we've learned more about training-with formalized programs throughout the organization-and communication, via company forums and regular managers' meetings, that have strengthened corporate clarity and defined goals, systems and procedures. We work in teams of five to seven people so we have many different viewpoints.
Because I've researched so many successful firms, I've learned about the "lengthening shadow" of a company's culture. It's often difficult to sustain original core philosophies as businesses grow. We've found that training programs which perpetuate key corporate foundations while maintaining the original, entrepreneurial focus are imperative to an expanding organization. We've learned how significant those messages can be if you are to withstand the growing pains that come with the passage of time.
Part of that training involves guiding people to "think right." Not everyone is brought up to think positively or deal well with adversity. We encourage innovative thinking and appreciate ideas from throughout the organization. An open door creates open minds and helps us retain an innovative edge in the marketplace.