Looking back, I see that my modus operandus from pizza delivery boy to CEO has remained unchanged and can be summarized in three simple rules:
1. Don’t just do what you’re told.
No, I’m not recommending insubordination here. Rather, I’m suggesting that employees of all levels take initiative and step up to the plate. At my first job, this translated into me answering the phones at the pizza shop and placing orders in addition to delivering pizzas. Currently, as CEO of Ovation Travel Group, out-of-the-box thinking has resulted in my travel management company cornering law and finance markets and expanding into leisure travel with a new travel venture on its way. Rather than maintaining the status quo, we expanded where we saw opportunities to do so and it’s paying off.
2 Dress the part.
When I first started delivering pizzas, I reported to work straight from tennis practice. Since there was no uniform for the job, I wore my tennis clothes on my deliveries. After a short time, I found that by accidentally positioning myself as a student athlete, I had gotten an “in” with my customers, some of whom were former athletes or had children on sports teams. These like-minded customers appreciated my effort and it scored me some nice sized tips. The same is true today. I wear a suit to business meetings because it makes me an equal in a professional setting, and I mention my former law career, so that prospects get a sense that I truly understand their business.
3 Become vested in your workplace.
By taking an interest in your workplace, and seeing the larger picture of how your job affects the bottom line, you can motivate yourself to achieve greatness. In the case of my first job, I strongly believe that my vested interest in the pizza shop, along with my willingness to pitch in where there were holes in responsibilities, helped grow the business into the successful restaurant that it is today. Now, I pride myself in being a CEO that comes into the office every day, answers the phone, and has a firm handle on how my business is running. I genuinely care about my employees, and in turn, they make it their goal to help Ovation Travel Group be the best it can be.
André Beukes is an EU Management Consultant to international companies doing business in Europe. He provides clients with practical business support that makes a real difference doing business in the EU. “Put simply, I am here to help you meet your challenges. I believe in the importance of doing things correctly, meaning risks are reduced and problems are avoided.”