Roles and Styles for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Do you realize that it takes many roles to succeed in an enterprise? Small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises need leaders of all types. One of my mentors when I began management consulting taught me that leadership is not a position, rather it is a role. Therefore many types of people can be leaders. In fact, it is vital to have a variety of roles involved in a growing enterprise.

Martin Zwilling, an angel investor and entrepreneurial mentor shared some thoughts recently on a blog shared at entrepreneur.com. Talking about a book he read, Intelligent Leadership by John Mattone, Martin shared that you need to bring a variety of key roles onto your team. Here are 9:

  1. Helpers – those who want to guide others so that the team can succeed
  2. Entertainers – those who want to engage and win people over to a cause
  3. Artists – those who create and innovate
  4. Thinkers – those who analyze and study the world around them
  5. Disciples – those who work well with others, but need permission to act
  6. Activists – those who promote a positive vision and encourage others
  7. Drivers – those who take charge and take responsibility for getting results
  8. Arbitrators – those who bring people together and help them understand one another
  9. Perfectionists – those with high standards and ethics to ensure things are done well

Each role has its strengths and weaknesses, but the truth is you need all these roles filled (at the right times) for your venture to succeed.

Which role is your natural role? John Maxwell says in his Law of Magnetism that we tend to attract others just like us if we don’t find a way to connect people through a strong vision — something for them to have in common. What is your vision? How do you share it with others? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section? I would love to hear your perspective.

9 Leadership Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs by Martin Zwilling at entrepreneur.com.

 

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DON’T Do These Things!

The Inc. Magazine blogs are a great source of inspiration and tips for running a business, or even doing your job better if you aren’t the boss. Writer Jeff Haden recently posted an article on 8 things you should not do every day. He was focused on productivity, and these will make you more productive. They are also great tips for leaders, and I’ll share why:

  1. Don’t check your cell phone when talking to someone. One rule leaders follow is to “be present.” Which is more important to you, the person you are with or something that might be going on elsewhere? If the answer is your phone, then maybe you should end your conversation and do the more productive thing. Anyway, how do you feel when somebody interrupts your conversation to check their phone?
  2. Don’t multi-task at meetings. Haden talks about how much you’ll learn because probably everyone else is multi-tasking, which is an interesting point. But as with point one, what are you communicating as a leader? (And if you don’t see yourself as “the leader,” what are you telling your leader?) If your time is more valuable spent elsewhere, do that. If someone “made” you go to the meeting, maybe they know something you don’t. If you want to be sure you get the most from any meeting, take a few minutes ahead of time and prepare for it. You will be surprised just how much more productive you will be at a meeting if you know why you are there.
  3. Don’t think about people who don’t make any difference in your life. Too many of us spend our lives worrying about what others think. I know I used to do it. One way to stop this problem is to know what you value and your goals so that you can be busy thinking about what is important. Need to think about people? Why not think about the people you are grateful to have as part of your life?
  4. Don’t use multiple notifications. Notifications are interruptions to your work flow, Haden reminds us. He makes the point about focus I made in the first two points. As a leader, you need to focus on what is important. Schedule the time you will be looking at email, etc.
  5. Don’t let the past dictate your future. When hiring, I am a big proponent of “behavioral interviewing” because the best indicator of what someone will do in the future is to see what they have done in the past. However, the big caveat to this dictum is when someone has had an intervening significant experience. If you have decided to change and you are on a path of change, you do not have to be shackled to your past. Others might continue to judge you based on your past, but remember #3 above…
  6. Don’t wait until you are sure you will succeed. When I teach people about goal setting, I teach them to find some small step to do that day that moves them toward their goal. Taking action is the only way to ensure success. Don’t wait. Act.
  7. Don’t talk behind someone’s back. Leaders don’t gossip. If you have a problem with someone, let it be between you and them. If you are willing to engage in gossip, others will wonder if you gossip about them, too. This does not strengthen your influence as a leader. Talk about things that matter and help move you toward your goals.
  8. Don’t say “yes” when you really mean “no.” One of your most important jobs as a leader is to have a vision and keep yourself and your team moving toward it. When you allow others to insert their priorities into your schedule, your agenda suffers. This was Rip Van Winkle’s problem. He was so busy helping his neighbors that he neglected his own duties. No wonder his wife was unhappy!

As leaders we are busy thinking about the things we should do, but as Jeff reminds us, there are things we really should not do, if we are going to succeed. At the Chic-fil-a Leadercast a couple years back, Jim Collins talked about having a “to-don’t” list along side your “to-do” list. These make a good start, but make your own list. What are the distractions that get in the way of you being more productive and successful? Why not intentionally remind yourself to steer clear of them?

 

8 Things You Should Not Do Every Day by Jeff Haden at Inc.

 

Whose the Leader? You’re the Leader!

A recent blog post by The Mojo Company reminds us that You’re the Leader We Need.

I used to work for a management consulting company that had four core values, one of which was “Lead.”  Our president, Mike Nigro, explained to us that everybody was a leader because even the most junior project team member was there to help our clients understand their problems, options, and recommend solutions. Our actions also provided an example for our clients and team members. While our clients (and supervisors) might want the right to make decisions, decision-making is not the hallmark of a leader. Influencing those who will make decisions is what leadership is all about.

As the Mojo article reminds us, we don’t need to be charismatic or outgoing to be a leader. Rather, leaders are people who can do the hard work of being an example and working to grow the team. People willing to change and grow.

All of this is part and parcel of what my mentor John Maxwell shares in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

Are you willing to be an example? To change and grow? Your organization, your team needs you to. You can lead at some level. Will you?

 

You’re the Leader We Need at The Mojo Company

Expert advice for keeping on task

Our friends at Under30CEO polled a number of successful entrepreneurs to find out what they do to keep on task, even with hectic schedules. Some of the ideas are technologies, others are behaviors, some are attitudes. Enjoy the list:

  1. Turn off the Dopamine Drip — Break your addiction to email and social media. Use them wisely.
  2. Make Yourself Accountable — A challenge when you are the boss and don’t have someone to hold you accountable. As Nike says, “Just Do It.”
  3. Segment Time into Tasks — Focus on the most important things and dedicate time to them.
  4. Keep Certain Rituals — Regularly doing things such as planning your next day the night before can help you make sure you are prepared.
  5. Manage Tasks with ANY.DO — An Android-based task list
  6. Work Well with Wunderlist — I use this one on my Apple products, iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air. You can even share lists with team members.
  7. Leave it all to Asana — an online productivity app. I’ve not played with it yet, but it looks interesting…
  8. Touch Base with the Team — keeping people in the loop daily helps keep coordinated and provide accountability
  9. Learn to Reset Yourself — Figure out how to get back on track when distracted — then remember how you did it for the future!
  10. Stick to a Critical Triad — Don’t mistake busy for productive, ask “What 3 critical tasks must I get done today?”
  11. Multitasking is Overrated — It is best to try to focus on just one thing at a time. Try carving out time so you can do this…
  12. Stay in the Moment — Don’t get overwhelmed with all you think you have to do. Just do what you need to now and attend to the other stuff in its turn.
  13. Set Ground Rules — As a leader, you have to give time to others, but need time for what you must do, too. Make it clear when people can or should interact and hold them to it.

What things do you do to keep on task? Why not share them below?

13 Ways to Manage Your (Hectic) Schedule and Stay On Task at Under30CEO

Recipe for Winning Business Ideas

[Fish market, Bergen, Norway] (LOC)

(Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Entrepreneur-Inventor-Educator Stephen Key had a recent column at the Entrepreneur blog about the five essential ingredients of a winning business idea.  As a guy who has been creating products and helping others do the same for thirty years, he just might know what he is talking about:

  1. A substantial market. If your idea doesn’t appeal to people, you might spend too much time and money getting the item to market. Sure, revolutionary products don’t have markets yet. But, you can do research to find out whether there would be a market for your product before committing too many resources.
  2. Existing manufacturing technology. If it must be built, and the technology must be created to manufacture your product economically, someone will have to invest in that technology. Again, this doesn’t mean that you cannot succeed, but it is one thing to have to work hard to succeed, and another entirely to have to work hard so that you can begin to start working hard to make your idea succeed.
  3. An acceptable retail price point. If you don’t have a good price point, then you will have trouble getting retailers to stock your product. If your cost to manufacture is too great to support the retail price, you need to reconsider your strategy. Perhaps you can find another way to produce? Can you position your product differently?
  4. A benefit that is summarized in a single sentence. Benefits, not features are what people buy. If it is too hard for people to understand (or remember) why they should buy your product, you will struggle. Einstein said that people haven’t mastered a subject until they can explain it simply. Can you explain your product’s benefits simply?
  5. A user-friendly interface. We often think of “interface” and computers, but if your users/customers cannot figure out how to use your product, will they continue to use it? Key shares a story about a rotating label technology that he created. He put a picture of a hand turning a label on the label so people would know what to do.

5 Essential Ingredients of a Winning Business Idea at Entrepreneur

What are the Characteristics of Successful Business Owners?

Marine Institute Ireland, Strategic_Planning_S...

Let’s face it, successful people think differently than others. Even if you don’t want to be a business owner yourself, do you want to have a better family life? Church? Club? Cause? It doesn’t matter what you want to do well, this set of 8 common characteristics of successful business owners by Dave Lavinsky on Small Business Trends is a great group of tips:

  1. Have a Crystal Clear Vision. More than anything, if you want to achieve a goal, you must be absolutely clear about what you are trying to accomplish.
  2. Have a Written Strategic Plan. If your goal is big, you need to think long-term. Want to fit this to your family? What do you want to be able to do with and for your kids as they grow up? I promise you, Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” is in store for you if you don’t think about this.
  3. Set Shorter-Term Goals. You have to bridge the gap between now and that strategic plan. Setting and achieving shorter term goals will give you the confidence to succeed.
  4. Ongoing Education. You will need to learn and grow to become the person who can carry out your big goals. Formal education may or may not be what you need, but getting the knowledge (and connections) you need to succeed is critical.
  5. Satisfy Your Customers. Whether a business, family, church, cause, you are serving someone in the end. What do they really want? Find out and your plans and goals will be strengthened.
  6. Be a Great Marketer. I used to think I couldn’t sell. Then someone pointed out that to win the hot girl who became my wife, I must have had a great sales pitch! Marketing is about creating awareness and beginning the process of motivating others to take actions. If you help them win, you can win, too.
  7. Be Laser-Focused in Your Work. There are lots of things you could do. But to succeed with your goal, you have to settle on the limited number of things that will help you get it done. When you finish, then think about something else to do.
  8. . Edison famously found 10,000 ways you could not make a practical light bulb. Are you willing to go the distance for your goal? As sales great Tom Hopkins likes to say, “I never see failure as failure, but as the price I must pay to eventually win!”

 

8 Common Characteristics of Successful Business Owners at Small Business Trends.

How to succeed in networking without really trying (too hard)

The title got my attention: The Lazy Way to Build Relationships. A mentor years ago made the point that he was “ambitiously lazy” — he always sought the way to be most effective in everything he did so be wouldn’t have to work any harder than he had to. The first thoughts were that the author, Jun Loayza, would rather do a lot of things and not network, yet he still is able to expand his network weekly. Jun’s secret? He doesn’t really seek to network, but create relationships. How? Here are his key steps:

  • Find your why. Leaders know why they are doing things and can explain that to others. Give people a reason to connect with you.
  • Ask Friends for introductions. When you know and can share your why, your friends will know people who could be mutually beneficial to know. Ask them. Also, check your connections’ LinkedIn accounts. If you see people who can help you, ask your connections for the introduction.
  • Use tools like Skype to be personal yet effective. We are busy people. Breaking up the day for out od office meetings is not always the most effective use of your time. Skype, FaceTime, or other tools, while not as good as live meetings, are a great way to balance the need for face theme with the need to be productive at the office. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have lunch or coffee with others, but make sure Thet payoff is worth the interruption.
  • Make yourself available. If people can’t get hold of you, you cannot build relationships. You will need to balance access and interruption, but being available and accessible is allows you to strengthen connections into real relationships.

The Lazy Way to Build Relationships at The Personal Branding Blog

Empowerment is Influence

MP900341425Susan Mazza, a fellow leadership coach, on her blog at Random Acts of Leadership shared a powerful and touching story about empowerment, taking risks, and the influence it gives a leader… and as my mentor John Maxwell says, “The true measure of Leadership is Influence–nothing more, nothing less.”

Susan’s father, Jim, was faced with a dilemma. Walt was a valuable employee. Walt  was also unhappy. Jim visited him in Walt’s office. After reassuring Walt that he was not going to fire him, Jim offered the junior man two recruiter contacts and suggested that he explore what were his options. “Personally, I hope you stay, but I know a bright guy like you has options,” Jim said. “It is important for you to know what is out there. Please keep me posted. My door is always open.”

Why do this? Walt’s unhappiness was becoming clear to all. Jim realized that creating awareness of the problem and helping Walt figure out what he was going to do would be much more helpful to everyone than Walt continuing to stew and affect the team. Addressing the problem made it safe to discuss openly and constructively.

In the end, Walt stayed. He and Jim became close, lifelong friends, and continued the mentor relationship throughout their careers.  Choose to empower those around you. When your people know that you value them and you help them do their best, you will be able to accomplish so much more than you ever did before. As Steve Jobs said, “Managing is getting people to do something they don’t want to do. Leadership is helping people discover they can do much more than they thought they could.”

The Ultimate Source of Empowerment at Random Acts of Leadership

Related Posts

Leading People: A Guide to Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws (Part 1) at Leading in the 21st Century

The Joys of Mastery

Bond as Lady Angela in Patience, 1881

It is a joy to watch a master at work. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In today’s microwave mentality society, we tend to think everything is easy and instant. The truth is that most things need time and effort to master.

 

Mastery is a joy to witness. There is a difference between being good and truly mastering anything. So how can you master you skill set? Pamela Slim at Escape from Cubicle Nation shares 10 ideas with us:

 

  1. Learn Patience
  2. Practice the Basics
  3. Appreciate the source of your materials
  4. Deconstruct everything
  5. Set boundaries
  6. Make your space holy
  7. Cultivate your voice
  8. Swallow your pride
  9. Punch through the bag
  10. When imitated, don’t retaliate, innovate

 

Some of these things are obvious, others not. As an Executive Coach, many of her suggestions rang true and are things I regularly recommend to clients. I especially loved #3 and #6. Mastery comes not just from making you better, but by appreciating all the elements of your process, including the raw materials. As for making my space holy… well, let’s just say I am working on that one. I appreciate the challenge Pamela offers with it and am working to make it true in my space. (My wife appreciates this!)

 

Mastery makes you more attractive. I hope this list gets you thinking about how you can become a master, too.

 

 

 

10 Ways to Develop a Mastery Mindset at Escape from Cubicle Nation

 

 

 

Small Business and Rendering Unto Caesar

Personal Income Taxes Ver7

Business tax deductions to save your business money (Photo credit: StockMonkeys.com)

With Tax Day one week away, here in the USA, it is time to think about filing your taxes, if you haven’t already. If you run a small business, here are some deductions the U.S. Small Business Administration shared recently via SmallBuzTrends.com. If you have a home based business, really trying to earn a profit, and working to make this your primary income, you should consider these tips. If you are really in it for a hobby, you can still use these deductions to reduce your income. However, hobbyists can only deduct to the extent they have income (in other words, you cannot take a loss). Here’s the list. Get details by reading the article, or consult your tax advisor. (And remember, I am not a tax advisor or financial professional!)

  1. Health Care Tax Credit. The Affordable Care act allows some extra deductions in some circumstances if you are small and provide employee health care as a benefit.
  2. Business Use of a Personal Vehicle. Use it in business? Keep a log? Get a deduction!
  3. Business Travel and Entertainment Expenses. Travel on business? Some of your expenses are deductible!
  4. Home Office Deduction. If you have space at home you use exclusively for the conduct of your business, you can write off some of your home expenses. If you own your home, there are some implications when you sell, so you really should talk to a professional about this.
  5. Start-up Costs. If your business started last year, some or all of your costs associated with getting started can be deducted in the tax year. If you have high costs, then some will have to be amortized over time.
  6.  Professional Fees and Training Costs. Need professional advice? It is a legitimate deduction. I learned  that if you pay them over certain thresholds, you might have to report that on a 1099-MISC. The filing date for that has passed, so you may be subject to a fine for late filing this year.
  7. Equipment and Software Purchases. You might think that these are capital expenses and must be depreciated, but there are thresholds below which certain things can be deducted in the year incurred. Check it out…
  8. Moving Costs. Did your business require you to relocate? If your workplace is 50 miles further than your old workplace, you can take a personal deduction. (OK, it’s not a business deduction, but it could still save you money.)
  9. Hiring Veterans. There are tax credits available for hiring veterans under certain circumstances.
  10. Charitable Donations. Donations to charity by business can be deductible. Check out the rules.

10 Small Business Tax Deductions You Shouldn’t Ignore at Small Business Trends