Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Project: It Takes Gutsy To Be A Good Leader, Part I

Whenever we pose the question to children what they want to be when they grow up we expect the average answer – firefighters, nurses, police officers; all good things. Sometimes we even hear a child responding they want to be an inventor – okay it is indirect mainly due to some kid’s fantasy of owning their own empire of a hybrid Willy Wonka meets Disney World. For all that I’ve been around children (and there have been a lot of sticky, stinky children, yet lovable every one of them; almost) I have never heard a child say, “When I grow up I want to be an entrepreneur.”

The things they do express, nevertheless, illustrate that they want to change the world, and that is a good place to start. The only thing is that the games we grow up playing are misleading. (Yes, another business-oriented blog focused around a game. Why? Because our roots and dreams begin at childhood, and if we can learn from our roots, our fruits will be that much more bountiful.)

To which games do I refer? How about Simon Says and Follow the Leader.

Simon Says implies that we as world-changers, entrepreneurs and leaders can tell our employees when, how, where, why and what to do – no questions asked. Monkey face? Sure, no problem. Jumping up and down too? My pleasure? Oh, I did not follow the exact rules and now I am disqualified? Okay. My pleasure, as well.

Follow The Leader is a game that has given us a misconception of what a leader is. Yes, we follow them, but that does not mean they are always physically in front us. It does not mean that a leader gets to order us like a drill sergeant, and we must mimic their every move. 

So if you thought owning your own business meant that life would be a glorified version of these games; sorry, game over. If you thought you would be in charge of people and it was a means to bossing them around…Well, it means you are responsible for their wellbeing. Are they achieving their personal and work goals? How do you ensure this is happening?

    Do Not Be The Employee’s Pet
No one likes the teacher’s pet. Also, no one likes the employee’s pet. Singling out an employee beyond the employee of the month is more detrimental than it sounds. You cannot win everyone, and while you win more flies with sugar than with vinegar, you also create a sticky situation if your words are too sugary sweet. False reinforcement is similar if not the same as negative feedback.

Here is how the scenario ends: you have an employee that has false illusions as to what they can and cannot do. Animosity grows within your corporation and lessens the impact your company has internally and externally.

Honest and helpful guidance in a constructive manner tailored to all employees – as best as possible towards their personalities, at least within their divisions – is the best way to create a more united and established front. Take the time to understand them and help them understand one another.

    Do Not Micromanage
Trust your employees. You gave them guidance. You gave the tools and resources. If you’ve done your part in training them, then you should be able to manage them and allow them to make their own mistakes. That is the only way they can learn. There are two types of typos. One of which is inherit – the one we as responsible adults and employers and employees try to avoid and fix as soon as we recognize in our work. While it should not be a common occurrence or an acceptable common occurrence, it happens.

The other is the kind when we are typing a proposal up, and our manager is leaning over our shoulder for the entire process, and every other letter becomes a stuttering process; a typo. Both wastes valuable time and will devalue the time and talent of the employee/employer relationship and roles.

    Do Not Be The Water Cooler Topic
Do not complain, do not show up late, do not take sick, personal and vacation days just because you can. Do not attend the Christmas Party already drunk. You undermine your authority and lose your respect and become a boss, not a leader.

We all need someone to follow, not someone to boss us around. We can find individuals like those around everywhere. Just take a peek around the corner, in our own homes, I can even flip on a Fitness Channel and have a health guru yell at me, bossing me into a fit body.

However, we need leaders. We need people that encourage us to change the world. So we can stop playing Simon Says and begin living Simon Inspires.

So what should you do, then, to be a better leader? Do return next week to find out; that is step one.

-The Green Couch

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Project: Part of The Special Opps

They’re the elite, perform strategic operations, have the advantage of their superior’s support and the element of surprise and yet they are practically self-reliant. They are unconventional, can overcome innumerable obstacles and have undergone and surpassed both physical and intelligent hurdles.

They are the special operation task force. And they mean business.

They take calculated risks. And they have taught me there’s a big difference between taking chances and being a risk taker.

Characteristics of taking chances:

Being blindingly and obsessively passionate with end results. Being inconsiderate of your surroundings – not taking into account the welfare of your family, friends, associates and employees. Gambling away your investor’s collateral. Jumping into business ventures without taking time to research. Desperate. Done.

Characteristics of taking risks:

Someone who is courageous and who is willing to put aside materialistic and conventionally idealistic dreams in pursuit of selfless and worthwhile, fulfilling visions. Someone who is passionate about who they are, what they do and know what matters in life. They count the cost and are willing to come up short. Dreamer. Doer.

I was in the vicinity of a wise woman recently and heard her say,

“Another good sign of an entrepreneur – people think you’re crazy.”

It’s true. There’s a good kind of crazy and yet still that inner calling to be an entrepreneur is something that comes with its own set of code of ethics, rules and standards. As a risk taker, you will be presented with and will search and seek out many special opportunities. Be wise in how you choose them and what you do with them.

    Will this help people?

    Will this help the next generation?

    Will this make people - make me - happy?

    Does the purpose of the produce or service align with my character?

    Is this part of my dream?

    Will it be successful in more ways than just financially?

    In 20 years will I still love it?

    Is this a reflection of who I am?

    Will this be another job or a joy?

    Am I willing to fight for it?

    Will I keep my day job too and stay up all night to sustain it?

    If I cannot do it am I willing to learn?

    If I were to fail, would I rebuild?

    Am I in it for the money?

If the only question you answered confidently was the last one with a “heck yes!” then it’s time to reevaluate the status of an entrepreneur, a risk taker. The lifestyle isn’t as glamorous as you may think. People will think you are crazy. You see, an entrepreneur is a dreamer. A doer. You’re up all day. All night. There are times you hate it, times you want to quit. You think you’re alone; there are times you want to be left alone but you’ve been given a special opp - a special opportunity, that is - and you took the risk.

After the highs and the lows, the rewards are that much more meaningful, which we’ll see next week when we’ll learn that there is no such thing as an overnight success. No matter what media may tell us, we have an entrepreneur’s insight that tells us the battle that really happens between the hours of when you go to bed and when you arise refreshed.

Until then, refocus and remember why you do what you do,

-The Green Couch Project

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Project: Chutes and Ladders On the Road to Success

Growing up many friends, family and children played a gamed called chutes and ladders. You may be familiar with it if not let me surmise the goal: The one to reach the top of the ladder first wins. In other words, the object of the game is to win.

As with most games reliant upon dice, this game of chance depends upon which number you roll. If your pawn lands on a square with a ladder – up you go with a higher success rate of winning. Land on a square with a chute? It is bye-bye baby.

As an entrepreneur, we battle daily trying to decipher the difference between it is all in the wrist (a roll of the dice) and balance that with one of our favored words – it is all in the risk. (Another game – another time.)

However, more importantly, we have to align our priorities and follow the procedure to climb that ladder. We are not talking about the corporate ladder; we are talking about the ladder of success.  The way you spell success we leave to you, however while success is subjective it is always an elevation of where we are, to where we are going.

So here’s the steps we need to follow to free ourselves from the chute and follow the ladder.

Who cares the number you roll. Shoot for the innumerable stars – that is a risk we like talking about:

-Believe in Your Idea

-Dream About It

-Set a Goal: 
A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napolean Hill

-Be Disciplined: 
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. – Jim Rohn

-Track Your Achievements & Take Time to Celebrate

As always believe in your dream, believe in it and always have a goal in mind. Because if you are reaching for the stars, there are many rings to your ladders and equal many amounts of chutes. Are you up to playing the game?

It is your turn! Ready, set, roll.

-The Green Couch

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Project: In The Know For On-The-Go Networking

You were given an in-depth course last week regarding networking etiquette. While we did not cover what to wear and whether the Donald Trump comb over (or would that be comb forward?) is a necessity to make an impressionable entrance for a business maneuver, you should now know the 5-Ups to networking. 

(As I write this, I realize there may just be a rather frivolous number 6 to the Line Up, and that is never to show up to a meeting with a 7-Up can.)

Regardless, the rules are simple: Stand Up, Follow-up, Keep Up, Show Up, Grow Up.

That may sound harsh when written out, but if you missed the last Project Blog, check it out before you continue on because today, as promised, we address three hotspots where you can successfully network.

We are going to approach formal and a few informal styles that will help give you that edge that keeps everyone talking. It is a venue where business cards are key and the touch keys on your cell phones, for just a few hours, can get a break.

Chamber of Commerce: a great place to get to know your community as a local business owner and to understand its needs. Become aware of those whom you can help, those who can help you grow and in turn understand and refine your target audience through insight from small mom and pop shops to the pros. This is a proactive way to get your voice heard not just for networking but on behalf of all enterprising dreams across the nation.

BNI: (Business Networking International) a local business collaboration with global outreaches. Each chapter has a “one of each” motto. It is not a competition within your own niche. No two companies within the same regional chapter can represent the same field, or business. You send referrals to one another, demonstrate and elaborate upon the kind of clients for which you are looking. This professional atmosphere encourages entrepreneurs, helps them build long-term quality relationships and all through word-of-mouth.

LinkedIn: you will not need your business card here, but this replicates your online business card, resumé and public profile. This is where you connect with colleagues and how you get endorsed. Yes, endorsed. It may not be the way Gatorade endorses star athletes, but it has the same affect for your job performance. People whom you have or do associate with can recognize your work and endorse you for those skills. That impact will lead to promotions, referrals and additional connections. So, maintain your LinkedIn account with relevant information to your field – for example dress for the job you want? Post material with that same mindset: This is not Facebook. So don’t post, How Southern Are You or What Disney Frozen Character Do You Most Resemble?
There’s over 300 million professionals that are logged in, the way we can link our name to hundreds if not thousands to them are unimaginable.

We are always on-the-go, and now you are in the know. Networking is an entrepreneur’s ally. Getting someone to believe in your dream, to see just a glimpse of what you see, could just happen at or through one of these avenues.

-The Green Couch