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Living and working in the world of business is often thrilling and exciting, as it presents new twists and turns that can often be made into opportunities.

However, not everything is what it seems, as life in business also results in various unexpected challenges. Despite this, it is important to take these difficulties on the chin and learn from them to improve efficiency in the future.

With this in mind, here are six lessons that business leaders will end up learning the hard way as they dive into their journey, which will go a long way to assisting them as they experience many bumps along the road that many before them have also experienced.

1. Execution will not exactly mirror a plan

A business plan might be perfectly sketched out and explained, yet the execution will almost always look very different from the original blueprint.

Businesses are constantly faced with roadblocks and challenges that may or not be out of their control, such as changing markets, unexpected shifts in demand, and also macroeconomic events, as witnessed in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The ideal way to prepare oneself for the unexpected is to keep as much of an open mind as possible, and also being able to adapt and improvise when the need arises. Those businesses that achieve the most success are the ones that are able to adjust themselves to change and embrace new strategies.

2. Employees know more than you do

At first, business leaders might be inclined to oversee and be involved in everything concerning the business, yet they soon realise that it is very unproductive to do so, while also not being as effective as initially thought out.

As a result, it is integral that they put their trust in employees and communicate regularly with them to ensure everything progresses accordingly.

Employees require adequate channels through which they can provide feedback or else put forward ideas both directly to the business leader and on an anonymous basis. Leaders can learn a great deal from their workers from each and every level, and their opinions are vital when it comes to finding cost-effective ways to solve problems, as they have first-hand experience working in that particular area.

3. Be aware of managers and supervisors’ styles and keep them in check

Managers, supervisors and other senior officials might be allies to the CEO, yet they can also prove to be enemies to those who are working below them. There are instances where they abuse their authority, even undermine the ideas of others or else passing them off as their own.

Therefore, a channel through which employees can communicate their opinions and report their managers is a must for each business. Additionally, business leaders can also hold regular performance reviews, possibly on a quarterly basis, to review supervisors’ management styles.

Feedback should not be dismissed, as workers’ concerns might lead to the business getting a bad reputation, or even employees pursuing legal action.

4. Pay employees for their extra work

This might sound relatively obvious, but there are a number of companies that simply disregard employees’ increased workload with the aim of earning more profit.

If an employee ends up with more responsibilities than they had initially signed up for when they first joined the business, then such changes should also be reflected in their paycheque. Businesses may try to cut costs by piling on more work onto employees until they burn out, yet this ends up being counterintuitive, as it makes them less productive, and might lead to them resenting their job and the company as a whole.

Underpaid and overworked employees’ moods are eventually reflected in the final product or service offered to customers, so businesses have to ensure that their workers are happy to be as efficient as possible.

5. Avoid cutting corners when it comes to ethics

When trying to find a solution to cut costs, people can get very creative, yet not always in a good way. Businesses might be tempted to hire interns instead of regular employees, dilute their product, or else short-change their service to customers, among other things.

However, such unethical practices will lead to harmful consequences, which might not immediately come to light, but a day of reckoning always arrives.

Various companies are constantly being ordered by courts to pay thousands and even millions of euros in fines and charges each year following offences ranging from harassment all the way to copyright infringement issues. While staying ethical might seem costly in the short term, it is one of the reasons that certain companies keep on operating while others are forced to shut down.

6. Remain connected to relevant industries

A product or service’s lifespan is dependent on the longevity of other industries. For example, this can be seen through the drop in popularity of printers as society moves towards a more paperless way of living, among other notable changes.

It is crucial that business leaders remain updated with what is happening in companies and industries that have an effect on the ones that they are operating in, as while some changes might be slow-coming, others might have an immediate impact that could greatly hinder demand.

Industry shifts have to be considered at all times to make sure that one’s own business remains ahead of the curve and is prepared for any sudden changes.

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