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3 Business Lessons From The Spartan Mindset

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You may have seen the movie 300, which starred Gerard Butler. It is about the 300 ripped Spartan soldiers attempting to fend off the Persians at the battle of Thermopylae. The Spartan lifestyle was marked by intense military service training from an early age for males and extreme levels of austerity.

There are three lessons that business owners can leverage from the Spartan way of life in your mindset that will help them become as formidable as the Spartan military.

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Lesson One: Simplicity In Operations And Strategy

The Spartans lived notoriously simple lives focused on training their young boys to live on less and only consume what they needed.

Many businesses become bloated with waste, personnel, and unclear objectives for the direction of their business. According to the research firm IDC, inefficiency costs businesses between 20% and 30% of their revenue annually. So, if your company earns $500,000 annually, inefficiencies cost $100,000.

It is crucial that business leaders in your company, whether ownership or senior leadership, assess how efficiently your firm is running and whether any areas of the company can be made more streamlined. Quarterly reviews of employee, sales, marketing, and customer processes will allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of how effectively you are delivering value to the marketplace.

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Lesson Two: Disciplined Work Culture

The Spartans were also known for their discipline. They engaged collectively in activities to build bonds between the military and work to accomplish their goals harmoniously.

As a business owner or senior leader, you must build a culture of collaboration, communication, support, and trust. When your employees understand that you value their input and seek ways to make it easier for them to perform their jobs, you build trust. However, building trust is based on consistency; you must consistently show up for them in various ways, and in return, you should communicate your expectations for what they are supposed to deliver.

Holding your employees to a high standard for performance and allowing them to own their tasks is a great way to get their buy-in, as long as you provide them with the tools and support to get the job done.

In addition to the soft skills of motivating employees, you must implement performance management systems to track and monitor the results of your employee's work.

The primary type of performance management system that most companies use is OKR. OKR stands for objective and key results; essentially, this is a goal-setting framework to track how well your employee's efforts are keeping up with targets and goals.

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Lesson Three: Enhancing Team Resilience

The Spartans were highly resilient and worked well as a group. According to history, "no one soldier was considered superior to another. They were highly skilled in the Phalanx formation, which required close, deep formation and coordinated mass maneuvers."

Building team resilience comes from creating a culture within your business where employees work together to overcome shared challenges.

The first way to build resilience in your workforce is to have clearly defined roles. When issues arise, there should be a transparent chain of command and defined responsibilities to prevent the problems from becoming muddied by a lack of clarity about who should handle the situation.

It makes workshops, training, and frequent team meetings important to building the confidence that your employees can handle anything thrown their way.

Reflect on how your business operates and ask: Is my operation lean? Do I have a defined work culture? Is my team resilient? This reflection could lead you to implement key Spartan principles in your business.

The future of business belongs to companies that can remain resilient in the face of a changing market and whose employees work collaboratively to achieve results.

When Phillip II of Macedon was conquering every Greek city he could, he turned his attention to Sparta. He sent a messenger to Spartans saying, "If I invade Lakonia, you will be destroyed, never to rise again." The Spartans responded with a one-word answer, "If." As a result of their grit, Phillip II left Sparta alone.

Your business is Sparta, and your mission is clear: eliminate inefficiencies, build collectively, and become resilient so you can confidently say "IF."

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