Category Archives: Management and Leadership

The Key to Successful Leadership

Leadership SkillsTo be successful at running any business requires that you learn some fundamental lessons;  first, what it takes to be a leader and second, how to lead effectively.

You don’t have be a hero as a leader, rather to make sure you care. You need to be able to wake up every day, rain or shine, because you are excited about what you do and what you want to accomplish.

The difference between a good and bad leader is consistency. As long as you are consistent in your leadership ways and ability to create systematic processes to breed future leaders in your company, you will be successful. Make sure that you set expectations amongst your managers and future leaders that they are not perfect, but that they will give everything they can every day. As long as you strive to improve every day, by the end of the year you will see how much you have progressed.

The main goal of any leader is the ability to transform a vision into a reality.  Make sure that your vision is simple and clear so that any member of your team, if asked, could make the perfect elevator speech about the company vision. If you have a clear vision, will only give your employees the security and confidence that everything will work out and that they are part of a successful company. If all you are focused on is money, then just call it a day. Make sure the your goals, objective and vision is all about something worthy so that everyone around you believes in your vision and mission. Money will always follow from this point forward.

To succeed as a leader you need to create the right culture across all departments and division in the company. It is important to empower your employees to feel confident enough to step up and take responsibility. Successful leaders feel and are accountable for the success or failure of the company. Create an environment where employees see leadership as something to embrace.

Lead by example and live and breathe the success (even failures) of the company. To be a successful leader is not about the destination, rather is about the journey you take to get there. Take the time and focus your energy on your customers and employees. It is these two groups who will make you company succeed or fail.

The skills and talents required to be a good leader and guide your employees and team to success can be simple and anyone with the right focus can develop these skills.

Some of these skills include:

  • Assemble a dedicated team.
  • Never be afraid to over communicate.
  • Don’t assume that your team understand your goal and mission.
  • Be authentic and instill your personality and beliefs into the company.
  • Know your obstacles and plan around them.
  • Create a ‘team charter’ where you know where you are going and who you are.
  • Believe in your people and create a culture of confidence.
  • Share and dole out credit.
  • Keep your team engaged and excited about what they are doing.
  • Always remember to stay calm.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”


Mistakes to avoid when pitching to Investors

Business Presentation

All entrepreneurs need to pitch to investors to raise cash and financing, however many of them lack presentations skills or experience. Listed below are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when pitching your idea to venture capitalists and angel investors.

  • Never send a business plan or executive summary unless requested to do so.
  • Make sure that you pitch an idea to an investor that they are interested in.
  • Be sure to have a short and to the point business plan for the investor to review.
  • In any presentation you need to show evidence that there is an opportunity in the market and it is a big one.
  • If you come with a team to present an idea, make sure they all have something to say.
  • Never tell an investor that there is no competition in the marketplace.
  • Make sure your projections are realistic and interesting.
  • Don’t expect an investor to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to hearing your idea.
  • Answer any and all questions of the investor in a clear and precise manner.
  • Be sure to offer realistic projections and expectations.
  • Avoid using clichés.
  • Always highlight your team’s credentials and experience.
  • Always try to sell your intellectual property to the investor.
  • Always give a demo of your product.
  • Take the time to analyze and check other pitches and executive summaries to improve your own.
  • Make sure that when you pitch an idea you talk about the market problems you plan to improve upon or solve.
  • Make sure you study and understand the customers needs and wants; especially the long-term value of the customer.
  • You need to explain exactly how you will be applying the investment capital and how long it will last.
  • Always be realistic about the risks involved in your business and idea.
  • You must always be able to explain in details the key assumptions in your plans and projections.
  • Never skip on the details.
  • Make sure you do a background check on your investors portfolio and see what his/her interests are.
  • Make sure you explain and make clear how your product, service, or technology is differentiated from other competitors.
  • Never have more that 15-20 PowerPoint slides.
  • You must have a clear, precise and coherent marketing strategy.
  • Make certain that you convey to the potential investor what market buzz you have already received and what traction or customers you have already acquired.
  • Make sure you explain in details all aspects of the product or service in a clear and coherent way.

Some of the above mistakes are not always fatal. The more you pitch your idea to investors the better your presentation and pitch will become. With experience you will learn what investors are looking for and are about. Always adapt your pitch, PowerPoint presentation, and executive summary.


How to be a Great Manager when you are Shy!

The Fixer

Are you a manager or supervisor with a shy personality Can shy leaders truly be effective? Shy leaders definitely face some challenges. If you are on the management career path but think your shy personality is limiting you, here are a few of tip to confront these challenges and guide to become a better leader.

Getting To Know Your Team: Set up individual one-on-ones with my direct reports. By setting up the meetings in advance, both my employees and you have the chance to prepare. Email out an agenda with set topics to talk about. Then, use a skill that come’s naturally to you… listening.

Having Tough Conversations: These kinds of conversations don’t come easily to most managers. supervisors, or leaders in general;  but for shy bosses, they can be absolutely unnerving.It helps to have a mentor or boss who can guide you through these conversations until you feel confident initiating them on your own.

Speaking Up With Authority: There will be times you need to confront an individual employee about a particular issue; but the rest of the time, you need to be a boss plain and simple. You have to lead meetings, assign projects, set goals, and encourage your team to meet those benchmarks. And for a timid personality, simply speaking to your team with boldness and authority can be a daunting task.

1. The first was simply getting comfortable with my team.
2. Preparation is key.

Dealing With All Of The Above: Yes, it will be painful at first. But if you want to be a leader, stick with it. Because the good news is, it gets easier. Once you know your team of employees and feel comfortable around them, you will find you feel more empowered to lead them. Tough conversations will get easier. You will be able to confidently coach and train your team, The path to some of the most rewarding things in life are painful and scary, but that makes it so much more fulfilling when you reach the point where you can look back and see how far you have progressed.


To become a great leader, you have to take fitness seriously

A personal interest in fitness will ensure that you are able to lead teams and projects efficiently and effectively. Fitness gives you energy and a great base for life.

Being disciplined.

Fitness requires a commitment to the routine. It drives us to work harder. When you are training you reach goals, feel progress and focus. Take this to work and look at the superb values you will bring to your teams. Do not forget in addition to this your energy levels will rise, and Highest Energy Always Wins.

Being fit builds confidence and self-esteem.

After a long stressful day, you push through the exhaustion and you did not know you had this in you. The boost in self-confidence and self-esteem is incredible for developing leader. Just remember fit, confident people are also happier and healthier, qualities that any great leader should have.

Fitness teaches you to have strength of will

Leaders will achieve success because their mission is known and clear, their will to achieve this is strong. When one commits to a good fitness regime, you will develop resilience and mental strength. Work hard, see results, and feel great.

Goal setting and achieving them

To build a high performing team one has to have clear goals. This is a critical element in any fitness regime. Know where you want to go and focus on getting there. Set yourself up to success and ensure you have the tools to achieve this. Then you will see with fitness as with leadership and life— Success is guaranteed.



The Peace Table and the Boardroom

Black and white handshake

In today’s world, war and conflict resolution is more prevalent than ever. We are teaching peace to our children in the schools, but are we living it in the corporate world daily?

Do we have processes in place to resolve conflict when it arises? The work environment must be a professional community where cordial relationships of mutual respect, admiration and cooperation develop. However, there are also opportunities for competition, disagreements, conflict and politics. Any situation like that diminishes the effectiveness of the work environment. This conflict scenario can be seen as an opportunity for growth.

In the work environment, the leader has developed and worked hard to be in this key position. So too, this individual should be the one to guide the teams into effective conflict management. However, let us refer to this as the PEACE AND PRODUCTIVITY PROCESS

We must  internalize this process and start applying them in our own lives. That can be in our family, in our circle of friends, in our workplace, in the Staff Room. The principles are the same as in all our environments. Conflicts need to be resolved in order to restore the harmony of the community.

Here are some pointers:

  • There has to be an honest desire to resolve the conflict.
  • The courage to identify and verbalize one’s feelings in a civil way, uninterruptedly.
  • To be listened to respectfully and carefully.

A critical Steps to ensure resolution in the Boardroom is to verify that you understand what the issue is, by seeking clarity up front; the animosity that weighed heavily on the participants becomes alleviated once the truth has been verbalized and now the effort is made to clear the air and the emotional tension completely. It is possible, and fun, if both egos are kept in check and good will prevails.

In the boardroom egos may be the strongest and politics the vilest. Yet, in that community, especially a consensus has to be reached that conflicts need to be resolved peacefully and in order to achieve a goal the two participants in the matter have to be genuinely desirous to resolve the conflict.

Total integrity is key in this case. After all, we are supposedly dealing with two mature adults who have the best interest of the cause they are supporting at heart. Is it possible to put politics aside in the boardroom? When the chips are down it most certainly should be. Let us face it, the truth stated on both sides is going to solve the conflict, or at least move it to a different level, to a different point of contention. An authentic desire for a fair resolution on both sides cannot but produce positive results.

It certainly starts by trying to see and understand the situation from the other person’s point of view. That can only be done if the point has been stated candidly. Consequently, it comes down to the very simple principles started in school, look the person in the eye, say their name, and tells them how you feel and why. Take it from there.

In a case an adult disagreement, one should have a will to resolve it. This will always add value and openness to any environment and will  help remove negative energy from the respective group.