Stubbornness isn’t always a negative trait. In fact, in some circumstances, it can actually help your business to flourish. However, being obstinate in the wrong areas can serve the reverse purpose by holding your company back and preventing it from achieving its full potential. So how can being stubborn assist and hamper on your business?
The Advantages of Being Stubborn
On occasions, being a little stubborn can yield results. Here’s just a few examples:
- Being fixed on a goal. A stubborn approach can actually be very beneficial in terms of achieving goals, especially if obstacles come your way. Having a dogged focus on the end-result, and a determination to achieve established goals, is a good thing in business terms.
- Infectious determination. Your stubbornness can also serve to galvanise your staff. By observing your steadfast determination to succeed, it’s likely your employees will feel similarly motivated.
- Accomplishment against the odds. It’s often those who are stubborn who go on to achieve great things. They keep on going when others have given up, and they’re resolutely fixed on improving their business, even when others tell them that it can’t be done. Thomas Edison and James Dyson are examples of people who stayed to the course and achieved what they are now famous for.
The Negatives of Stubbornness in Business
In my experience working with companies and their stakeholders I have discovered that stubbornness can have serious negative impact on businesses.
- Making the same mistakes. The danger of being stubborn is the refusal to learn from past mistakes. In spite of the evidence presented, the stubborn business-owner will often persevere doing the same process again, hoping for a different outcome each time – wasting time and money in the process.
- Not listening to others. When you become convinced that a particular course of action is correct, it can be difficult to listen to the opinions of others – even if they’re offering you sound advice.
- Negligence of other tasks. Acting in a stubborn way can make you overly focused on one particular task or goal. This can make you blinkered to other key aspects of your business, which can have serious negative impact. You can read more about how being too focused on one thing can make you blind to other important details here.
If you know that you have a tendency to be stubborn, don’t panic. Stubbornness can occasionally be positive, and your natural determination and resilience shouldn’t be ignored. However, the important thing is to know when to be stubborn and when not to be. The following are a few suggestions:
- Surround yourself with those you respect. Work with people who you know you’ll listen to. When they offer opinions and advice, ensure you pay attention. You may not agree with what they’re saying, but their expert thoughts and guidance are likely to be of value. If you do not have anyone who can fulfill that role, find one!
- Take time to reflect. Rather than doggedly continuing in a task, take time to review and analyse the situation. Are you confident that the current approach is working? What results do you think will actually be gained by continuing in the same manner? Sometimes, just taking a few minutes to review the situation sensibly can make you feel differently about your approach.
- Think alternatively. When deciding on a course of action, explore the possibilities. Are there other approaches you could take? What are your options? What do your colleagues think is the right course of action?
Working with Experts
If you know you are prone to being stubborn, it’s a good idea to work with people who will offer an alternative view-point – making suggestions and offering support and guidance where necessary. Sometimes, it’s advisable to work with someone who isn’t an employee of the company, as they’ll be able to appraise the situation with an unbiased, non-emotional eye.