4 Top Business Leadership Lessons from 2022

To close out the year, here are four great leadership lessons from the past 12 months that you can apply to your business in 2023.

“I decided to build properties so cool that people would come to me,” she says. “The house itself — not the location — would be the destination.” — Kristie Wolfe, one of the most influential Airbnb proprietors in the world

People use Airbnb to find a place to stay once they’ve already decided where they want to go for a trip. Location is an Airbnb customer’s primary consideration for fulfilling their need. But Wolfe discovered a way to drive more business, provide greater value and differentiate herself from competing Airbnb hosts by offering one-of-a-kind properties. She exponentially expanded the market for what she offers from “people who needed a place to stay” to “people seeking a great experience.”

Lesson: Expanding your customers’ understanding of what you offer opens the way to new growth.

“The idea of radical transparency is not to be brutally truthful, it’s to share your thinking and make your thinking accessible to everybody.” Mark Bertolini, Co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund firm

One of the guiding principles of the business culture at Bridgewater is that honest and immediate feedback in meetings results in better business decisions. To facilitate this process, they use an internal app in meetings for sharing feedback called the Dot Collector that enables people to express their thoughts and ideas and see their colleagues’ thoughts in real time.

Lesson: The app also allows users to rate one another’s comments. Bridgewater takes the idea of transparency to an extreme, but the basic principle of encouraging employees to share feedback promotes a positive workplace culture.

“Solve customer problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula.” Melanie Perkins, Founder & CEO of Canva, a graphics design business 

Perkins and her partner Cliff Obrecht a business in her mother’s living room with the idea of helping schools design yearbooks because they thought the existing graphics design tools required an excessive amount of training. It wasn’t just high schools that needed a better way of creating graphics, however: the whole world needed an easier tool to create visual content, turning Canva into a $40B business.

Lesson: Focus on your customers’ needs and look for opportunities to expand your market.

“It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” Lionel Messi, champion soccer player

Messi made this statement back in 2004, but it’s just as apt this year as it was in 2004. It’s been 36 years since Argentina’s national soccer team won the World Cup.

Lesson: As long as you keep working, you’re working towards achieving your dream. Don’t pin your business hopes on being an overnight success; it’s great if it happens. But if it doesn’t happen, keep working so you can make it happen.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

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