A business suffers when there are no clear guidelines for how to operate. As a business matures it becomes clearer about what it is about and what it will not do or tolerate anymore.

The nature of the business typically changes in three different ways. You might be surprised by them. Here they are.

Be Productively Unreasonable
Early on, the business is unconsciously tolerant of reasons and excuses about why things are not getting done or not getting done on time or on budget. The company is constantly trying to catch up and get closer to the goals it had set. But the reasons and excuses hold it back.

Eventually the business becomes more focused on results. It realizes that it can never be successful unless the leaders and managers become productively unreasonable.

There is little toleration for not achieving the desired results. No more reasons, no more excuses, just results. As this happens, some of the employees leave the company because they don’t want to work with such clear ideas of what success looks like. The new employees are a better fit for getting things done right the first time.

Be Productively Arrogant
When the business is young it is desperate for work. Consequently, it works with clients who are not a fit. The result is lots of stress and not getting paid all that the company was due. Production is put into impossible situations. No one in the company is happy.

As the business matures, the leaders and managers start to see who they should not work for. The company gets very clear about who can play in its sandbox and who can’t.

The lead intake form questions get more refined. The salespeople are given permission to fire a potential client if danger signs are seen.

By becoming productively arrogant about who the company will work for, the business gets the right potential clients: those who are willing to follow the business’s way. And it gets the courage to tell those who are not a fit that they need to look for another company.

Be Productively Paranoid
As the business becomes more successful, it might assume that things are looking pretty good. So, the business relaxes its standards and expectations, sometimes a bit too much.

Out of the blue comes a situation that catches the business off-guard. The result is that a lot of time, energy, and often money gets wasted dealing with a situation that could have been anticipated.

By being productively paranoid, the company is grateful for the success it has achieved while looking over its shoulder for the unexpected. Instead of hindsight, it uses foresight in a deliberate way to reduce the impact of most unexpected events and situations.

Becoming a more successful business hinges on the leaders and managers in the company working together to set limits on what the business will tolerate. This process of maturation means becoming less optimistic and more realistic.

Find the joy that comes from things going according to plan while stress is reduced. That combination can only be achieved by you maturing as a business person.