About C-Level Reflections

Ravi Patel has over 35 years general, financial and operational management experience in C-Level executive positions with multi-sized companies in diverse industries.

Having substantial experience in leading and consulting with entrepreneurial companies, Ravi utilizes this blog to share useful management thoughts to hopefully assist Entrepreneurs in growing their companies.

 

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Honor Veterans

On Veterans Day yesterday, we honored all veterans who have served and are members of the Armed Forces currently serving our country. How could Entrepreneurs honor current veterans?

When hiring employees, do you consider veterans? Serving in our armed forces instills discipline, adherence to established processes, teamwork, courage, overcoming adversity and other fine attributes that Entrepreneurs should be seeking from qualified prospects.

Veterans bring with them an intrinsic understanding of how loyalty adds to team proficiency and builds trust in a work environment. For Entrepreneurs looking to make a long-term investment in an employee, veterans often outperform other candidates as proven team players.

Through service, training, and lifestyle, veterans typically have the work ethic that any Entrepreneur would be thrilled to replicate in all of the organization’s employees.

Entrepreneurs should, all things being equal, give preference to veterans who have served our country. You will not be disappointed.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 12, 2019 at 7:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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Do What I Do

“Leadership by example” is no where more true than for Entrepreneurs as they build their companies.

When the company is just starting,  Entrepreneurs show great leadership when they roll up their sleeves and are willing to put in the effort that they demand of their employees. But then, Entrepreneurs sometimes say one thing and do something else as their companies start growing.

Entrepreneurs must ask themselves certain type of questions as they become successful:

  • Am I still putting the effort that I am asking of my employees?
  • Do I watch what I spend while I announce cost reduction programs?
  • What am I am doing to improve the company when I am preaching on continuous improvement in my organization?
  • Am I cutting corners while I demand quality from my employees?
  • Do I exhibit what it takes to provide superior customer service when demanding the same from employees?

Answers to these types of questions will determine if you are providing leadership by example. Make sure that you ask people to do what you do, not merely what you say!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 5, 2019 at 7:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Will You Survive?

The law of the jungle “survival of the fittest” also applies to Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs must find ways to survive in a competitive business climate. Having the best product or service, superior management, strong processes and so on are not the only things necessary for survival.

Imagine the cheetah – the fastest animal on earth. However if not alert, a lion or other predator will devour the cheetah. Being fast would not help then.

Similarly, having the best of everything is not enough for Entrepreneurs. Survival requires being alert, adaptive and quick to react to the changing circumstances. Relying on one’s past successes is not adequate for survival in the future.

Being fittest in this environment does not mean being the best. It requires having “street-smarts” to navigate competitive and economic challenges.

Are you fit enough to survive?

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 29, 2019 at 7:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

Entrepreneurs are people who drive hard to achieve their goals. Most want to do everything right and are generally impatient for results.

Similar to everyone else Entrepreneurs too make mistakes. Some are relatively minor while others can be major and might even result in losing their company. When they make mistakes Entrepreneurs are hard on themselves as they feel totally responsible. How should they react?

Learning from mistakes is the correct thing to do. Learn why the mistake was made and implement processes and controls to prevent future occurrences.

Depending upon the nature and impact of the mistake, Entrepreneurs often dwell on it. Entrepreneurs need to learn to forgive themselves for such mistakes. Forgiving one’s self doesn’t mean absolving you from responsibility. As long as it was a mistake and not a calculated act of unethical or unlawful behavior, forgiving themselves would allow Entrepreneurs to move forward positively instead of drowning in guilt.

Accepting responsibility, taking corrective action and forgiving yourself for mistakes is the right thing to do for yourself, your company, employees and family. Don’t be hard on yourself!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 22, 2019 at 6:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Value Adding Performance

Classifying employee performance  varies with each company. Most traditional ways focus on actual performance against expectations or against established goals.

Here is an alternative approach. Entrepreneurs should categorize employees into three categories – those who add direct value to your business, those that are neutral or add indirect value, and those that reduce company value.

Clearly, you should pay special attention to the first category by training and motivating them so that they continue to add value. Have a strong retention program for these individuals so that they don’t leave your organizations.

Deal immediately with people that reduce the value of your company. These are the bad apples that need to be removed from the company as soon as possible.

The people that are neutral as far as their contribution to company value need to be either moved to the category of employees that add value by training, or red-circled if they are providing a support function to the first category of employees. If there is a chance that they would reduce the value to your company, they need to be transitioned out.

Identifying the three categories of employees and dealing with them appropriately will go a long way in building the value of your company.

Ravi Patel

Molding Consensus

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus” – MLK Jr.

Every new idea, whether small or huge, has to be sold to people for its acceptance. A true leader goes about it the right way.

Consensus is a majority of opinion or general agreement. In many organizations, getting consensus becomes a “political” process wherein the idea promoter seeks out or searches for people who agree with him/her, largely based on personal appeal of the person rather than the idea. This is not true leadership in getting consensus on an idea.

Rather, a genuine leader stresses the virtue of an idea and actively persuades people on its benefits thereby molding or building consensus. The acceptance of the idea then becomes internal to the believer rather than being forced upon him/her through brow-beating or intimidation. If the leader is successful in molding, rather than seeking, consensus the implementation of the idea is more effective and lasts for the long term. The benefits of seeking quick consensus are often short-lived.

Entrepreneurs should strive for molding consensus to generate wide acceptance of new ideas in their companies.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 8, 2019 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Leadership by Example

Leaders often encourage their followers “to give their best” to whatever they are doing. Entrepreneurs do the same when motivating employees towards fulfilling the Mission of the company.

In a team environment it is normal for all employees to contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the mission. However, is it always true for the leaders?

If Entrepreneurs expect the best from their employees, then they too should give their very best to the employees and the company. Do they? Leadership by example is not just a catchy phrase!

Entrepreneurs need to give their best to the organization to inspire their employees to do their very best. If Entrepreneurs show an attitude of “do what I say, not what I do,” their employees are not going to be motivated for the long haul.

Doing the right things for leaders means giving 100% or more to prove to the employees that they all are part of the same team and everyone needs to contribute their very best.

Ravi Patel

An Essential Quality for Entrepreneurs

Perseverance is defined as the steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

How appropriate that an Entrepreneur possess this quality to be successful. Facing difficulty, obstacles, discouragement, setbacks and even failures are nothing new for Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs who come through even after facing challenges are the ones who have a laser focus on their Mission and can navigate a steady, persistent course without being unduly discouraged. The story about the spider weaving a web despite repeated failures comes to mind.

If you desire to succeed in achieving your Mission, have perseverance!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on September 17, 2019 at 4:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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How is Your Customer Service?

When asked such a question, how do you answer it? Merely saying good or great is not enough! Instead, use metrics to stress your performance in this area.

Customer Service should be a strategic goal to make it a more prominent part of your company’s Mission. One should develop SMART metrics to track the progress of improvement towards this objective.

While your metrics can be related to internal benchmarks in providing customer service – such as wait time in answering phones, que time of service lines, speed in responding to client communications, timeliness in resolving issues, errors in shipments – also consider external measures of customer satisfaction.

How does the customer feel about doing business with your company? Is the client’s experience pleasant and rewarding? Measuring your customer’s experience is a critical part of evaluating your service levels.

Are you measuring your customers’ experiences? How? Should you? Every company serves customers in different ways; thus, the measurement metrics and process need to be customized. The important step is to start that process to analyze and improve customer service in your company.

Entrepreneurs – Do the Right Things to improve your Bottom Line!

Ravi Patel

Viewing Labor Differently

A question for Entrepreneurs post Labor Day – how do you view your labor costs (employees)?

Are they a cost of doing business for you as they decrease your bottom line? When cutting expenses, is that the first thing you think of reducing?

For large labor intensive operations, this might be the case. However, Entrepreneurs might want to view this differently.

If you train your people properly and motivate them adequately, your employees could actually improve your bottom line by increasing revenues, improving productivity or even reducing costs.. View your employees as assets – invest in them to get better results.

It takes a different mindset to get the best out of your people. If you think of them as labor and an expense, then chances are that you don’t always get the most out of them.

Do the Right Things! Invest in your people and help them add to your bottom line.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on September 3, 2019 at 4:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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