Archive for the 'Leadership' Category
Following our discussion earlier this week about the cost of owning your brand, I thought it best to look at best practices to build that brand personally. In order to understand what is important to your business its imparative for you to understand who and what you are as an entrepreneur. Pulled from the Globe and Mail’s article, ”Ten ways to build up your peronal brand“, the key points to retain are the following:
1. We are faced with an influence economy. Social capital is the new goodwill. Tools for measuring social capital are rapidly evolving, based on metrics such as quantity and quality of friends and followers and the ability to influence actions among them. Tweets and retweets, shares and likes, being circled and adding +1s are the currency of the new influence economy.
2. Pay attention to influence metrics, but don’t obsess. While there are tools, like Klout and Hootsuite that are trying to quantify your brand in terms of engagement, influence, expertise and trust. These scoring schemes are getting smarter. That being said, do not to ignore nor obsess about them. Build your personal brand on quality content and personal engagement and you will be well-served in the long run.
3. Filter quality content to express your unique brand. By investing the time to find and share what you consider the best information in your area of expertise, you provide a valuable service to your social network and cast your brand in a positive light.
4. Be a giver and a helper. Social media is predominantly based on the collective sense of helping others. Adding value to online discussions and helping people to discover new ways of understanding evokes a reciprocity in them. Blatant self-promotion or selling is easily filtered out. If education is the new marketing, then helping could be seen as the new selling.
5. Your personality is your greatest asset, feel free to share it. Personality is the distinguishing factor in many human interactions. But be careful: you still need to filter and decide what is appropriate to share and what isn’t. Sharing personality is different that sharing private information. Understand the difference.
6. You can outsource lots of things, but not your voice. Your brand is the product of your interactions, contributions and engagements within your social networks. That is not to say that you can’t enhance your personal brand with external advice, strategy and services. But don’t think you can hire someone to create your voice for you – any more than you can hire someone to go to the gym and workout for you.
7. Be knowable, likable and trustworthy. Conduct yourself with civility and generosity toward others and, generally speaking, try to be a liker not a hater. Be credible, reliable and personable, while keeping your selfish instincts in check.
8. Invest in thought leadership. Sharing your proprietary intellectual capital is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise and leadership. But, how do you build a business on something you’ve given away for free? If sharing your knowledge grows the market for your services and your leadership within that market, then there’s more to gain than lose.
9. Personal brands compete with corporate brands. Social media has empowered individuals to build a direct audience through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email direct marketing, etc. And there’s increasing evidence coming from online influence measurement to suggest that personal brands actually exert more pull than established corporate brands in the social media space.
10. Like it or not, you are a personal brand. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, whether you’re in sales or marketing or you’re a business professional, if you are engaged in an occupation in which you rely on your reputation you probably should be thinking seriously about your personal brand. Everyone else is.
These past few years we’ve seen our fair share of companies that have let down stakeholders due to poor practice and loose ethical standards. Today’s featured article comes from Fast Company: The Future of Ethics In Branding.
We could all stand to learn a thing or two on how to be the very best at what we do both professionally and personally.
Read the full article by Martin Lindstrom here.
In an constantly changing, fast-growing business world the hardest skill for entrepreneurs to master is the art of delegation. As an entrepreneur growing your small business it can be difficult to “let go” and trust others to be responsible for your organization.
I can tell you, without delegating, you will be unsuccessful. This does not mean you should delegate all your responsibilities to others, as there are always tasks that you do not HAVE to do. If you have hired a staff you must believe they are capable of helping you, so let them. Task them with a responsibility, set expectations and the deadlines that you need to see results and then let them roll with it. Do not micro-manage them (checking in every 30 minutes IS micro-managing), they likely will not perform as well on the task if you do. Trust me, you can do this.
Read more on micro-managing vs. delegating via The New York Times, “Finding a Balance Between Delegating and Micromanaging“.
A couple of my friends were discussing networking experiences, here are some of the tips that we came up with:
First Impressions: you only get to make this once, so make sure it is concrete and memorable. Shake the person’s hand with enough pumps up and down to register the color of the person’s eyes. Once learning the person’s name, use it right away to have a better chance of remembering it.
After Hello: Most conversations at a mixer or after first meeting someone is ‘small talk’, but don’t under estimate the power of ‘small talk’ – it is like the grease that keeps the wheel turning. Memorize a few tidbits of information that are appropriate for ‘small talk’, including the nature of your business, number of years in business, and where your main interests lie.
Moving On: Often at a mixer you will only speak to a person for a few minutes and then want to speak to someone else to make as many connections as possible. If you are moving away from someone you would like to speak with in the future, this is the perfect opportunity to exchange business cards and contact information. If there is another person wanting to join the conversation, invite them in, make an introduction, allow the two to talk, and then move on. Because you don’t want to be the person who needs to be encouraged to move along, be careful to watch other people’s cues and pay attention to behavior going on around you.
What networking tips do you have to share with everyone?
I love this post on Extreme Leadership by Drew McLellan. A lot of people think that leadership is a label that some people are born with or that leadership just come naturally to some; but as McLellan points out, extreme leadership comes with great responsibility and effort. An extreme leader is never done; no matter how great a leader you think you are, there is always room for improvement. To really truly be considered a leader, you must create more leaders, or else there is no legacy. Although leadership does take effort, anyone can do it – it comes straight from the heart, you can’t buy it or fake it. This tip is my favourite: leadership is an action verb, not a label; leadership is all about doing rather than talking, real leaders are getting it done rather than posing and wearing the leadership label. You can read McLellan’s full post here. So, are you an extreme leader creating other leaders, or a just poser?
In our society, many people seem to believe that leadership is appointed by outside forces, other people or positions we hold, but the truth is that leadership truly does come from within – it is a conscious decision to take action in your life. Leadership is about being a doer – having a clear vision about where you want to go and then focusing your efforts on going after the opportunities that will make it happen.
Jack Trout’s book,The Power of Simplicity, contains my favourite description of leadership which I use as the litmus test for myself : “The way to quickly spot a nonleader is to watch for “should”! When a viable suggestion is presented, the would-be leader says: “We should do that.” Usually the shoulds pile up and little gets done. The real leader never uses the word “should”. Their response to a good suggestion is “Let’s do it.” Then its onto the next decision.” Leadership is about making decisions and taking action.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a woman’s group on the 5 Deadly Sins of Business Development. It was clear from the reaction in the room that it was sin number 5 that resonated with these women the most – Not asking for what you want.
The truth is that most women do not ask for what they want – for many reasons. Fear of imposing, not wanting to bother people, not wanting to appear selfish. They ask for what they think they can get, after doing a complex mental equation in their head about what they think the other person is willing to give them! Why not ask for the whole thing? Get clear on what you need, ask for it and then let the person you are asking make their own decision about what they are willing to give. If you do only ask for a part of what you want, no one is going to read your mind and throw in everything else you want – they are just going to give you what you asked for. So put aside your fear, your prejudices and your worry about appearing selfish and simply ask for what you want. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
This week I presented the â€™10 Deadly Sins of Business Developmentâ€™ at an RBC
Seminar for Women Entrepreneurs. It was a group of bright, high-energy
women running successful businesses who I found very inspiring. What I
found interesting was how many heads around the table started nodding when I
talked about sin #9 â€“ Not Asking for What You Want. Nearly every woman in
that room admitted that they were terrible at asking for what they wanted.
They fear imposing on people, they think they will hear the word â€˜Noâ€™. And
it is true, you may hear the word â€˜Noâ€™ sometimes. But never asking for what
you really want guarantees a â€˜Noâ€™ every single time. Ask for what you want
â€“ the whole thing â€“ not just bits and pieces. Donâ€™t just ask for what you
think you might get. Ask for what you really WANT! I think you will be
pleasantly surprised at what you end up getting. And asking builds your
confidence. Go for it!
The Office Journal published this article earlier this month to tie in with their Olympic theme. It outlines 5 rules every business can use to succeed in sales – and is especially applicable if your company is hoping to take advantage of the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in BC to develop business opportunities:
How would your business do if you had to relocate to a new country every two years where you had no customers, no contacts and no experience with local customs and business practices? Sounds like a nightmare, right?
This is the business model for Moving Products Inc. Their focus is the Olympic Games â€“ they work with Olympic sponsor companies to outfit their guests, staff and technicians with customized clothing and accessory items. This eight-person company provides everything from footwear to headwear, and they handle every detail from sourcing product to delivery. To date they have been involved in 10 Olympic Games and worked with 150 Olympic sponsor programs.
And every two years, they move on to work in a new country. They just recently opened offices in Vancouver so I got the chance to sit down and chat with Ian MacDonald, CEO of Moving Products. I was curious to find out how a small Canadian company became such a big player in the business of the Olympics. Ian told me that the key to their success in this field is the same as it is for any other business in any market: to build trust with customers and prove that you can deliver.
â€œOur primary focus is not on selling stuff â€“ it is to make sure the sponsor companies have the right Olympic experience,â€ says Ian.
The most recent example of this is the Johnson & Johnson project. J&J are official sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Games. The Moving Products team identified that few people are aware of the enormous number of personal care products made by J&J, so they approached them with the idea of putting together an amenities kit filled with sample sizes of their various products to maximize their Olympic exposure. J&J loved the idea. The Moving Products team has since taken the kit to all the other 2008 sponsors to have them use it as part of their own Olympic programs. Special kits have also been created for the 2008 Games volunteers, athletes, and officials. By using their experience in past games working with other sponsors, Moving Products was able to help J&J build strategic relationships with other corporate sponsors and get the J&J brand and products in front of world and corporate leaders.
For any company wanting to take advantage of 2010 business opportunities, here are Ianâ€™s rules for Olympic business success:
1. Know where you fit and what your core business is. Moving Products is very clear about what their expertise is and they have a clearly defined niche market. They only pursue opportunities that fit their core business.
2. Know what strengths your company brings to the table. Be very honest in analyzing how your strengths and expertise will benefit a 2010 opportunity. Keep in mind that the Olympics are a major financial investment for these companies. There is no room for error. Everything must be done well and on time.
3. Work within your niche market to identify 2010 business opportunities for your company. There are many potential opportunities out there and it is easy for a company to get overwhelmed and feel like they are wasting time and money.
4. Clearly define who your targets are. It could be the Olympic sponsors, the organizing committee or other companies who will have an Olympic presence. For Moving Products, the key targets are companies that want to build partnerships with organizing committees.
5. Spend time getting to know your customer â€“ do your research. What do they need? The CEOs and boards of directors of all major companies worldwide attend the Olympic Games so there is a lot of pressure to deliver. Look to build a partnership with them.
As Ian says, â€œIt is not about the size of your company. Olympic success depends on your ability to clearly identify the right business opportunity for you and then go out and make it happen.â€ Moving Products is a prime example of a small company who identified Olympic gold and pursued it.
To view the article in its full glory go to:
Sales Pitch : Olympic business star gives 5 winning rules