I’m a hunter. As a lifelong outdoorsman, I mean that literally. Many of the best and most rewarding times of my life have been spent outdoors, in pursuit of an elusive trophy or an indelible memory.
But my hunting mindset doesn’t end when I return from a week in the mountains. It drives me in my personal and professional life, as well. It has influenced the way I’ve approached career opportunities in commercial real estate, online media and now healthcare.
My book, The Hunt, oulines my professional philosophy about how a hunting mindset can and should filter into every part of your life. Almost all of us can benefit by thinking more like hunters in everything we do: to act with poise, concentration and skill; to identify targets with clarity and concision; and to achieve our goals with focus, purpose, drive and determination.
Hunting is quite literally in our DNA, you can learn more about it at https://ballachy.com/hunting/. Over the millennia, hunting priorities have shaped everything from our instincts to our biology. Embracing those elemental parts of your identity can help give you a leg up in your business. With that in mind, here are some principles that apply equally in the backcountry and the boardroom, foundational principles and practices that I think will help you become a more effective executive and entrepreneur—and a true hunter:
1. Take the Shot
Hunting is something that has shaped the way I’ve lived my life and has guided my decision-making process at every step of my professional journey. That doesn’t mean that I’m always successful—far from it. There are shots that miss and trips where I come back empty-handed. But what’s worse than missing a shot is not taking the shot in the first place. Or, worst of all, not even putting yourself out there.
I have been described as a serial entrepreneur—and I take that as a compliment. With HealthRise, the company I co-founded in 2013, I’ve identified opportunities to disrupt and revolutionize healthcare revenue cycle management systems. But no matter what you do and where you do it, never let uncertainty or fear keep you from moving forward. If you see opportunity, seize opportunity.
2. Don’t Do It Alone
No enterprise can succeed without strong leadership and no leader survives without a great team around them, which is why talent development is critically important. We have doubled our HealthRise workforce in less than a year, and we’ve done so by focusing less on specific skills and more on inherent attributes and personality traits. Specifically, we look for hunters: hungry, smart, highly motivated individuals who seek an opportunity for upward movement.
To thrive at HealthRise, you have to be fearless. We’re looking for true game-changers who don’t accept the status quo. We work to identify candidates who are willing and able to have fierce conversations; to push boundaries—even when they push back; who are keenly focused on output and outcomes; who are able to not only develop a strategy, but also put it into action
I’d strongly encourage any entrepreneur in a position to make hiring and team-building decisions to do two things:
• Be honest. We tell prospective employees the same thing up front: there are easier places to work. But there are also few places where you will be as challenged and supported.
• Invest in your employees. Balance high expectations by giving employees the resources and extra benefits. Motivation and expectations go hand-in-hand. That will enable you to cultivate a culture of opportunity and accountability, while also promoting cohesion and camaraderie.
Be bold and persevere
Whatever your industry segment and whatever your business model, be bold. Be unafraid. Tackle technology disruptions head-on. Introduce new ideas with confidence and clarity.
• Pick a very clear and specific goal. Hunting isn’t simply searching; it’s targeted and tactical. Plot your course and pursue your target with single-minded intensity and focus.
• Invest in the right gear. Here at HealthRise, we are continuously developing new technologies and new service lines, including a strategic suite of powerful next-generation tech tools.
• Remain steadfast, even in rough conditions. In 2016, a merger cost HealthRise our biggest client. Overnight, 80% of our business went away. But we persevered. We continued to hunt new opportunities and, ultimately, we were a better, stronger company because of it. HealthRise doubled our revenue this year—and we are on track to double it again next year. We are bigger and stronger than ever. The journey might be hard, but the rewards will be worth it.
Stick with the hunt. Work harder. Do more. Go further. Because long hours are better than long odds. And you might not always be comfortable, but you will be profitable.