learn from clientsThis is the perfect time of year for review, reflection and learning. All year, your focus is on guiding your clients so you may miss the teachable moments for you and your business. Looking back on 2014, you should be able to find the business lessons that were meant for you, and apply them in 2015. Here are a few lessons Tasha Eurich shared with Entrepreneur:

  1. Eat or be eaten. M&As were viewed as ways to increase market share in 2014. They also widened geographic reach and lowered corporate tax while adding new customers and technology. The Financial Times said global deals in between January and September of this year surpassed the levels of the past five years. Acquisitions were high, and it is advisable that businesses are ready to buy or be bought.
  2. Seek to do better. There is no room for complacency in business. Plan strategically by setting milestones for 2015 to be a better year than 2014. Develop a plan to monitor progress over time and be prepared to make adjustments as needed.
  3. Leadership is learned. It may not always be easy, but leadership transformation is a possibility. Self-awareness is necessary for the process to begin. Throughout the process, coaching is a necessity. It is important for there to be accountability and trust.
  4. Honesty is a requirement for team success. Members of a team need to be able to communicate with honesty so issues can be raised and addressed as they arise. Teams need to be carefully built and strengthened by honesty and a high level of trust. It is important to express concerns without resorting to personal attacks or harsh critique.
  5. Failure is a learning tool. As much as we strive to avoid failure, it is important to be able to fail well. Failure is not only a sign of poor performance. Lack of failure points to a shortfall in risk-taking and innovation. This does not mean your business should throw caution to the wind, but you should constantly be challenging yourself, and pushing the business in new directions and into new territory.
  6. Watch your top performers. Businesses are always actively recruiting great employees, and your best human capital may be on their lists. Pay attention to them and make it a priority to ensure that their job satisfaction is high. This could involve stay interviews conducted by managers or human resource personnel. By the time you receive a letter of resignation it is too late.
  7. Manage individuals rather than stereotypes. Don’t lump your employees into groups based on identity markers. Try not to judge people and their capabilities based on their generations, religions or cultures. Look to results to inform your decisions.
  8. Self-awareness is a critical skill. As you ascend the business ranks, fewer people will be willing to tell you the truth. It then becomes increasingly important to know yourself well. You need to understand what you enjoy doing, what you excel at and what you are passionate about. Perhaps more importantly, you need to understand your effect on others and the way they see you.