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Book extract: The four pillars that can help build a successful company

In a new book, ‘The Diary Of A CEO’, the author offers some strategies to build great things inside and outside work

The most important success factor in your work is who you work with.(Unsplash)

By Steven Bartlett

LAST PUBLISHED 23.10.2023  |  07:30 AM IST

Being the founder of two successful marketing groups that have risen to the top of their industry, within their market, has meant that I spend much of my professional life in boardrooms working with and advising the CEOs, CMOs and leaders of the biggest brands in the world on how to do marketing and how to tell their story online; Uber, Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike, Amazon, TikTok, Logitech, you name it—they have been my clients.

Becoming great, and building great things, requires mastery within four pillars. I call these the four pillars of greatness.

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PILLAR I: THE SELF

As Leonardo da Vinci asserted, ‘One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself; you will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself; the height of your success is gauged by your self-mastery, the depth of your failure by your self-abandonment. Those who cannot establish dominion over themselves will have no dominion over others.’

This pillar is about you. Your self-awareness, self-control, self-care, self-conduct, self-esteem and self-story. The self is the only thing we have direct control over; to master it, which is no easy task, is to master your entire world.

The Diary of a CEO: The 33 Laws of Business and Life, By Steven Bartlett; Penguin Random House India, 368 pages, 799

PILLAR II: THE STORY

Everything that stands in your way is a human. Science, psychology and history have shown that there is no graph, data or information that stands a greater chance of positively influencing those humans than a truly great story.

Stories are the single most powerful weapon any leader can arm themselves with—they are the currency of humanity. Those who tell captivating, inspiring, emotional stories rule the world.

This pillar is about storytelling and how to harness the laws of storytelling to persuade the humans that stand in your way to follow you, to buy from you, to believe you, to trust you, to click, to act, to hear you and to understand you.

PILLAR III: THE PHILOSOPHY

In business, sports and academia, an individual’s personal philosophies are the single biggest predictors of how they’ll behave, now and in the future—if you know someone’s philosophy or beliefs, you can accurately forecast how they’ll behave in any situation.

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This pillar is about the personal and professional philosophies that great people believe and live by and how those philosophies result in behaviour that leads to greatness. Your philosophy is the set of beliefs, values or principles that guide your behaviour—they are the fundamental beliefs that underpin your actions.

PILLAR IV: THE TEAM

The definition of the word ‘company’ is ‘group of people’; at its essence, every company, project or organisation is just a group of people. Everything the organisation produces, good or bad, originates from the minds of the members of your group of people. The most important success factor in your work is who you choose to work with.

I’ve never seen anyone build a great company, project or organisation without a group of people, and I’ve never seen anyone reach personal greatness without the support of a group of people.

This pillar is about how to assemble and get the best out of your group of people. Assembling any group of people is not enough; for your group of people to become a truly great team, you need the right people, bound together by the right culture. When you have great people bound by a great culture, the whole team becomes greater than the sum of its parts. When 1 + 1 = 3, great things happen.

Excerpted from The Diary Of A CEO: The 33 Laws Of Business And Life by Steven Bartlett, with permission from Penguin Random House India.

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