DRIVE: 5 Principles for Every Business to Live By

Written by Aaron Dunn

How I think about Business

Before I lay out some foundation for how I think about business, I must give credit to my parents who modeled this frame of thinking for me. My mother and father both are hard-working people who have become pillars of the community I call my hometown. Although these 5 values were factors for success as early as my first job at a Sno-Cone stand and handmade furniture outpost and throughout my years in the restaurant industry, I didn’t recognize them until about a year into my first sales position. It was there that I decided it was important to cultivate a promise to my future customers (and to myself) how I would think about and conduct business.

Acronyms have always served as an easy way to remember important things. The D.R.I.V.E. acronym served a dual purpose in the car business, fitting well with the industry. As a writer, the double entendre was irresistible but also provided a valuable lesson on its own: When developing a personal brand promise, think far ahead. While I enjoyed the auto industry at the time, I knew I wouldn’t be there forever. It was important to create something that applied across all industries, stand on its own and be flexible. Without further ado, here are 5 values I strive to implement in my day to day.

Dedication

If you’re not dedicated, then what are you doing? While all 5 of these principles are foundational to how I think about business, Dedication is certainly the key that turns the engine on. If you’re not dedicated to the people you work with or for your career in general, is it possible to be effective at all? The next time you make a decision to apply to a job or make a business decision, be sure you’re ready to go all in.

Relationships

Every business is a people business. There’s really no getting around it. While the product (or what) of a business is oftentimes what brings a customer through the door, it is the people (or how) of the business that influence the behavior that creates more business. In recruiting, it is all about ensuring the person hired is a “good fit”. This ambiguous definition depends on not only merit but how that person fits within the organization interpersonally.

Integrity

Anytime I write about integrity I find it valuable to revisit the definition:

the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

Put simply, integrity is doing what we say and saying what we do. More importantly, integrity involves establishing a level of virtue that must be worked out within oneself. When thinking of how to navigate a career, I think about how I’m being toward others just as much as I think about what I’m doing.

Volition

If we don’t do anything, we won’t go anywhere. Volition is a fancy word for taking action that not only made the acronym work but brought a needed focus on action at a higher level. It is far easier to say what the plan is that it is to go out and execute on it. It’s amazing the things we can accomplish when we just go do without fear of the unknown.

Enthusiasm

Wrapping it up in a smile, enthusiasm serves as a reminder that our work does not have to be all about numbers and production. Our careers don’t have to be all work and no play. I work hard and take pride in my work but life is too short to have the way I make a living take the place of a life well lived. If you don’t find enjoyment in your work, you need a different job. The last time I held onto a job that didn’t fulfill me, I got fired (that’s a story for another time).

And there we are, the foundation is laid. Being dedicated, building relationships, taking action all with enthusiasm is how I’ve decided to think about and conduct business. These 5 principles are my daily reminder to myself and others how and why I do what I do.

I appreciate you taking the time to read (or skim) this post and look forward to hearing your thoughts!

How do you think about business?