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Business: Prime Business Credo

What credo do you live by?

A credo is a "system of principles and beliefs" that provides direction and impetus to your life. It acts to guide your attitudes, decisions, and actions in everything you think, feel, and do. You can think of a credo as a manifesto for your life; it espouses what you most profoundly believe. To not have a credo means to go through life without defined purpose, clear focus, or identifiable direction.

Because of the powerful influence that a credo has, you should develop a credo that accurately reflects the principles and beliefs that guide your professional life. To assist you in this process, I have provided below the Prime Business Credo that I have developed through my work with business leaders that can form the "superstructure" of your professional life and from which you can build the business career that you want. This issue of Prime Business Alert! will conclude with an exercise to help you to create your own business credo.
Values

There is nothing more important in your life and career than your values. They establish priorities, guide the choices you make, and affect everything and everyone in your life. Your values act as the road map for the direction in which you take your life.

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  • I have given deliberate thought to and chosen the values that guide my life. Gaining clarity on my values ensures that I know what my values are, why I hold them, and how they direct my life.
  • I live in accordance with my values. The ultimate governor of my behavior are my values (i.e., integrity, trust) and my ability to choose and act on positive values when faced with conflicting values (i.e., ambition, the bottom line) in my professional life.
  • Living a value-driven life gives my life meaning, satisfaction, and joy. A professional life that is based on my deepest values will be one filled with a deep sense of purpose, fulfillment, and contentment.

Perspective

You can think of perspective as a lens through which you see yourself and the world in which you live and work. Your perspective impacts what you think, how you feel, and how you act toward whatever life presents to you.

  • I take a long-term view of my career. Business success is a marathon, not a sprint. Short-term results are less important than doing what I need to do in the present to get where I want to go in the future.
  • My career is important to me, but it's not life or death. Seeing my work as a part of life, not life itself means I feel less stress, am more productive, gain more satisfaction, and make better decisions that will lead me toward my professional goals.
  • I maintain balance in my life. Though I am committed to my professional success, I also understand the value of having other sources of gratification in my life, including family and friends, physical health, and spiritual and cultural activities.

Understanding

To perform at your highest level and achieve your goals, you must have a complete appreciation for everything that impacts your efforts. A careful analysis of your own capabilities and the demands of your current and future career paths will help you gain this knowledge.

  • I know myself, strengths and weaknesses alike. My willingness to gain a deep understanding of myself will provide me with the self-knowledge necessary to grow and achieve my professional goals.
  • I know what it takes to reach my long-term goals. I have a clear understanding of everything I need to do to attain my career objectives, including my education, knowledge, experience, skill sets, and resources.
  • I am open to learning new things that will help me achieve my goals. The only way to become successful is explore all avenues of my work life and continue to grow and develop new skills.

Priorities

The priorities you establish in your life act as the foundation for the direction your career takes, the quality of your work, and the level that you attain. Giving thought to your priorities will help ensure that your career path is one of your own choosing.

  • Performing my best in my work is a high priority in my life. I have chosen to make my career a central part of my life and one that takes precedence over most other avenues might take.
  • My lifestyle supports my goals. Because my career is important to me, my personal life buttresses my professional efforts by living a healthy lifestyle.
  • I make decisions in my life that will help me achieve my goals. Though I value many aspects of my life, I make deliberate decisions about how I devote my time and energy that further my career goals.

Responsibility

Responsibility is two sides of the same coin; you can't take responsibility for your achievements and successes unless you are also willing to take responsibility for your mistakes and failures.

  • I have ownership of my career and my life. I have chosen the career path I am on and, as a result, am highly invested in my professional success.
  • I take responsibility for all of my actions in my work. Only by holding myself accountable for both my successes and failures can I be assured of achieving my career goals.
  • I take control of anything that impacts my business performance. I know what affects my professional efforts and make sure that I have the power to influence those efforts.

Commitment

Perhaps the single most important predictor of success in the business world is the commitment made and motivation directed toward your goals.

  • I have an unwavering commitment to be my best. I know how difficult it is to become successful in business and I am willing to give everything I have to reach my goals.
  • I give my best effort in all aspects of my work. Only my full and consistent effort will enable me to realize my professional goals.
  • Every day I focus on areas in which I can improve. By directing efforts into my weaknesses, I know I can overcome them and raise my level of performance.

Challenges

The road to the top of the corporate ladder is a bumpy one and those who traverse that road successfully are able to, when faced with challenges, stay clear of mind and calm of body, and find solutions that enable them to continue down that road.

  • I expect obstacles, setbacks, and down periods in the pursuit of my goals. I anticipate that I will have difficulties in my pursuit of business success, so these roadblocks will not surprise me and I will be better able to continue down my chosen road.
  • Every experience I have, positive or negative, is an opportunity and a lesson. Though setbacks and failures are never enjoyable, if I view them as experiences to make me better, then I will be better equipped to overcome them.
  • Whenever I am faced with adversity, I respond positively to it. Only by staying confident and focused, and remaining committed to my goals will I be able master the many challenges I will inevitably face in pursuit of my goals.

Support

The road to the top of the corporate ladder is also not one that you can take alone. There are many people in both your personal and professional lives that contribute significantly to your success.

  • I show respect and gratitude for the people who help me achieve my goals. I realize that any success that I achieve, in addition to my own efforts, is borne on the backs of others who helped me get there.
  • I listen to and learn from my mentors, peers, and support team. I am thankful for the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge from the people who came before and those who joined me along my journey toward success.
  • I never lose sight of the importance of my family and friends in my career and life. Whatever success I attain, I always remember those people who care about me most and were willing to make sacrifices so I could get where I wanted to go.

Objectives

My work with business leaders indicates that those who have a clear vision and specific objectives of what they want to accomplish are more likely to fulfill their goals.

  •  I endeavor to have a career and a life that is of my own design. Though luck and happenstance do play a role in career development, I strive to be captain of my life's ship and direct it where I choose.
  • I strive to achieve professional success and personal well-being. I believe that success without well-being is not success at all. Instead, I strive to weave success and well-being into the fabric of my life.
  • I aim to succeed while making a meaningful contribution to the world. Personal success, no matter what level I achieve, isn't truly meaningful unless I also make a significant contribution that leaves the world a better place.

Design Your Own Credo

A business credo is a personal statement that will come from your most deeply held beliefs about your career and life. I would suggest that you give yourself time to develop your credo, allowing the ideas to take root and grow until you have created a business credo that truly reflects your professional vision and objectives. Use the following to help shape your credo:

  • What areas do you want to include in your credo (you can use those I identified above and create others that also have meaning for you)?
  • What values, attitudes, beliefs, and actions do you want to include in your credo?

Once you have developed your business credo, read it, think about it, internalize it, and live by it until it becomes the guiding force in your professional life.

Jim Taylor, Ph.D., teaches at the University of San Francisco.

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