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Elevating your leadership | “I don’t care that they stole my idea…I care that they don’t have any of their own.” – Nikola Tesla

Listen to your customers

Listen to your customers as they are among the greatest sources of information in order to continue to improve, expand and grow. On this improvement and growth process, listen to what folks are saying and engage with them across all avenues, in particular across social media. This focus on customer service and proactive approach is what distinguishes you from others.

Many companies can deliver a good product or a service, but the experience and how you make your customers feel is what stands out. Think Amazon as you do this and how they are known for this no questions asked, speed and customer focused approach. This is (among other things) what has enabled them to grow at tremendous speed and why they became one of the largest companies across the world.

We all make mistakes

Mistakes are part of life, part of business. There is no such thing as perfection so the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be that much closer to progress, advancement and growth.

None of us are perfect and as such it is important NOT to point out every single mistake. When it comes to leaders, they should be actively involved and informed about their teams’ performance, but small errors which don’t have any significant negative impact shouldn’t be highlighted as that action provides no value to anyone. Repeat offenders and major issues must be addressed, but small issues should be (if at all) acknowledged in private (one-on-one) and left behind you as quickly as possible. This level of support for your colleagues will provide for safe environment to innovate, experiment and even fail which is crucial. Furthermore, that employee will never forget the day you made them feel safe and have supported them even when things didn’t go their way.

Trust people, empower them and delegate

Trust is the first major prerequisite to teamwork, progress and accomplishments. Without trust, other much needed capabilities can’t be build or utilized to their full extent.

While trust is earned by many, I begin trusting people and believing in them and their abilities at first. However, once that trust is lost, it is nearly impossible for it to be regained.

Leadership is not a popularity contest

Leadership is not a popularity contest. Privileges of leadership come with responsibilities to make decisions that positively impact the lives of the majority and the firm as a whole. It is very rare that you will be able to make decisions that will be well received by everyone, by 100% of the people impacted by that decision.

With that in mind, focus on doing what you believe is the right thing to do, not on what would simply please others.

“Popularity is not leadership.” – Richard Marcinko

Social media etiquette

Etiquette in social media is as important as it is in other aspects of life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for quite a few people which act as if the keyboard absolves and separates them from reality, courtesy, professionalism and kindness.

Speaking to people on social media shouldn’t differ from how you speak with people in person. Having this digital separation shouldn’t provide for lack of responsibility, accountability and respect. Disagreeing with someone’s opinion, or point of view is fine and it could be done respectfully and professionally without attitudes, drama and name calling.

Are you an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. Becoming an entrepreneur, a successful CEO who has built their business from the ground up is filled with challenges, trials and tribulations and as such it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

For most people, being a #4 or #14 in an organization is a much more manageable, acceptable and stress-free arrangement, one they welcome and enjoy. With that in mind, ask yourself, are you capable in becoming a true successful entrepreneur? If the answer s yes, don’t waste another minute and get to it, go after you purpose, destiny and drive.

Invest in people first

People must come first in all you do and here’s why.
If you invest time, attention, focus and financial resources into attracting, retaining and growing the best people you can afford you will be positioned adequately to improve and grow your business. It all starts with people first, then processes, policies, followed by technology and everything else in THAT order.

“We should invest in people not ideas. A good idea is often destroyed by bad people and good people can always make a bad idea better.” -Simon Sinek

Branding vs. sales & marketing

Branding your business and yourself is a massively important strategy that will assist with your long-term viability and sustainability. Your reputation, your accomplishments precede you and people will be mindful of what you do before they reach out to you for an opportunity.

Great brands stay a lot longer while sales come and go. Strong brands will survive and endure a bad product/service or two, while those who are focused only on transactions are at a much greater risk to going out of business. Focus on building your brand.

5 interview questions to ask candidates

Here are 5 interview questions to ask candidates and job applicants that I have found useful over the years:

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. What motivates you?
  3. Why this position, business and industry?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
  5. What can I answer for you?

Additionally, I spoke about 5 interview questions to ask employer which is the other side of that same coin. Finally, I would love to learn what are some of the questions you like to ask or have been asked during interviews?

How to price your product or service

Pricing your product or service effectively is of great relevance with respect how well it will be received in the market. While it is not the only aspect of importance, it certainly impacts how your prospective clients will think about the value of your product or service.

In order to be competitively priced, you must learn all you can about the market, your industry, particular segment you are in (including your competitors). Then, price the product slightly above the average price point (assuming you provide greater quality and value, which you do). Additionally, you can target a luxury market/brand and therefore price higher, but at that point you really need to differentiate yourself from competition, mostly in exclusivity and client experience.

Finally, you can always low ball the market and go for pure volume, but be careful that you have the infrastructure in place to handle a potential influx of orders, because not being able to do so can seriously damage your brand and reputation. Also, competing on price alone is a race to the bottom and it is not sustainable long term.