Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jack Zenger, co-founder and CEO of Zenger Folkman, located in Orem, UT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our business is improving the effectiveness of leaders by giving them accurate feedback about their current behavior. We help them appreciate and magnify their strengths. For a fifth of leaders, we make them aware of behavior that drags them down. Our gift to the profession is the concept of strength-building behaviors (much like cross-training in the world of athletics.) By understanding these empirically discovered strength-builders, we can multiply their pathways for development. Our customers are mid-sized and large organizations who are serious about developing better leaders.
Tell us about yourself
Most rational 90-year-old people are home watching TV. I choose to continue working because I deeply believe that better leaders make better organizations that, in turn, produce superior results. The world desperately needs that.
My career has been a mixture of academic, corporate, and entrepreneurial roles. I chose to become an external vendor because I wanted to impact thousands of organizations versus one or two. Our firm makes a powerful contribution to the success of clients who adopt our solutions. Jumping out of bed and working gives me far more purpose in life, making me feel better psychologically and physically. It may be delusional, but I believe I'm about as productive as I was at 50, and I know I'm wiser.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a highly respected organization that has extremely loyal and satisfied clients. Unlike many firms, we did not lay off people because of the pandemic. With loyal colleagues working together, we're now experiencing growth and increased profitability.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Succession planning. Small organizations are not deliberately building bench strength. If half of the Fortune 500 go outside for their next CEO, it's no wonder that small organizations struggle with having an ideal successor in the firm.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you have a product or service that differentiates you in the marketplace.
- Carefully assemble a team of competent and compatible people.
- Deliberately and frequently seek feedback from your colleagues. Always ask for their opinion on important issues.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There are monumental pressures and headaches in creating a business, but also enormous rewards, especially for those of us who resist bureaucracy and love autonomy.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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