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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Persevere for Success

Disappointment due to obstacles is common for all endeavors. The successful ones are those who keep on going and overcome hurdles.

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.

It is 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, persevere! Your people will be inspired and support your efforts.

Ravi Patel

Make Them See What They Can Be

“A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.” – Ara Parasheghian

Like good coaches, leaders have to find the potential in their people. When hiring, don’t merely evaluate the current skills and experience of the applicant. Rather, determine what the person can become with proper coaching and training. More importantly, make your people with high potential believe in what they can be rather than what they are.

Given the right coaching, raw talent can be molded to perform at exceptional levels in any organization. The problem for Entrepreneurs is that they mostly focus on short-term needs and do not have a long-term vision for human resource acquisition and management.

When a sculptor views a stone, he/she is evaluating whether it could be transformed into a thing of beauty. Similarly a land developer sees beyond the empty expanse of land and has a vision of what a housing community or golf course it could become.

Entrepreneurial leaders have a great vision of what their idea or product could become. They need to use a similar vision towards their people and make them see their potential rather than what they are right now.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on September 13, 2022 at 6:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Is Hiring Good Employees Enough?

Recruiting and hiring good employees should not be enough for Entrepreneurs. Something to ponder having celebrated Labor Day yesterday.

After new employees start work, on-boarding, orientation and making them aware of the company’s Vision, Mission and culture should be standard operating procedures of any hiring process. How many Entrepreneurs do that?

Even if you have a robust on-boarding process, how do you plan to keep your employees actively engaged in your company?

Entrepreneurs don’t treat working in their company as a “job.” They need to develop that same sense of spirit in their employees. Employees should feel closely attached to the Mission of the company such that they view their job in a macro sense – as having a direct impact on fulfilling the Mission rather than just completing assigned tasks.

Offering material rewards for accomplishments works for a while. What is more important is the emotional engagement of employees in the company such that they personally identify themselves with the company’s success (and failures). Finding ways to engage employees in a meaningful way should be a key objective for Entrepreneurs.

Hiring good employees is not sufficient for success. Engaging employees, by getting them meaningfully involved in your company, thereby making them generally happy and productive should be an ongoing process.

Ravi Patel

Working Hard is Not a Meaningful Metric

Entrepreneurs often talk about how many hours they work at their businesses. They are fixated on the notion that working long hours translates to success. Most often this is not true. Is it even an appropriate metric?

Is working hard for long hours always a good thing? Think again!

How productive you are is the determinant of success, not necessarily working long hours. Of course, one needs to put in the effort to succeed. However, make sure that the focus is on “Doing the Right Things,” not doing too many things and that too not effectively.

The working longer syndrome sometimes is also transferred to the Entrepreneur’s employees. Entrepreneurs sometimes have a tendency to judge employees on how long or hard they work. The focus should be on what employees accomplish and how productive they are.

Stress time management and productive effort to enhance performance! Working hard is good only if it is productive. Define and monitor metrics that measure productivity per employee or team.

Ravi Patel

What Accompanies Entrepreneurial Freedom?

Entrepreneurs often launch businesses as they want the freedom that comes with working for themselves rather than for others.

Entrepreneur magazine found that people who work for themselves are happier because of the freedom that working  for one’s self permits. So valuable is the opportunity to be one’s own boss that  studies show you have to pay people twice as much to get them to work for others and still have the same level of job satisfaction as being self-employed.

Being your own boss will definitely grant you freedom, but it does come with serious responsibilities. No one else is there to take responsibility of your company and its stakeholders other than you.

Self discipline is paramount as someone else is not telling you what to do each day – you need to set you own agenda. Setting an example of leadership for the organization is your responsibility – there is nobody else above you. If you consistently play hookey, how can you expect your people to work?

Freedom is great, but make sure you learn to be a responsible “boss” to yourself!

Ravi Patel

What Creates First Impressions?

First impressions, based on perceived experience, are more lasting than later interactions. What creates first impressions?

When potential customers, employment applicants, vendors, bankers or other interested parties call or interact with your company, their first impressions do matter. How your employees treat them then could be critical for a future relationship.

One can assess the quality of a company by the manners of the people working there.

Companies whose employees treat outsiders (and even fellow employees) with good manners, politeness, caring and concern reflect the cultural values of the organization. Enlightened Entrepreneurs should recognize this and pay as much emphasis on the relationship side of the business as much as the product or service aspect of the company.

Constant focus on managing initial (and then ongoing) interactions with outsiders could be a determinant of future success. Entrepreneurs should Do the Right Things by paying attention to this area of their business.

Effective Decision Making

Faced with hundreds of decisions, how do Entrepreneurs go about making the correct, effective ones?

Generally effective decisions are made with facts, experience, skills, wisdom and other people’s input gained over time. Sometimes one’s gut or instinct plays an important role too.

Regardless of how an Entrepreneur arrives at it, the perceived popularity of his/her decision should never be a factor in the decision making process. Do what is right, not what is popular!

Right and wrong does not depend upon how many people are for or against a decision. Entrepreneurial leadership is not a popularity contest, but rather leading people the right way towards fulfilling a common Mission. Popularity comes and goes, but true leadership remains.

Entrepreneurs need to have the courage to make effective decisions.

Ravi Patel

Don’t Seek Sympathy from Advisers

Utilizing the concept of a Mastermind Group, Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with key neutral advisers who are open to providing honest and realistic feedback to them. 

Once this done and Entrepreneurs form an Advisory Board, the important task then is to seek advice and bounce off ideas and issues with these advisers. The Entrepreneur should be prepared to receive honest feedback including any constructive criticism.

The key element of this relationship must be for the Entrepreneur to seek counsel, advice, and constructive feedback from the advisers. In no event should the Entrepreneur use the advisory board to constantly complain about problems and seek their sympathy. This is not the primary role of any adviser.

Maintain a healthy, constructive relationship with your advisers by seeking their counsel and not their sympathy!

Ravi Patel

Dealing with Uncertainty

Uncertainty in any organization is a killer. When an Entrepreneur takes too long to make a decision – either due to lack of knowledge or fear of making the wrong one, it creates a period of anxiety in the employees.

A decisive person shows the ability to make decisions quickly but effectively. An Entrepreneur needs to be decisive to be a good leader.

It is often better to learn to say “yes” or “no” more often than “maybe.” Your employees will respect you for making quick decisions even though you might be wrong sometimes. Procrastination is not an admirable virtue for great leaders.

Being decisive does not mean being impulsive or basing decisions on your gut feel. You need to consider all pertinent facts in arriving at the decision, but don’t over-analyze and delay unnecessarily.

Entrepreneurs need to lead by example. Being decisive themselves will instill the same level of rapid response in the rest of the organization. Avoid chaos in your company by Doing the Right Things.

Ravi Patel

Ignore Facts at Your Own Peril

Facts can be brutal. They often pour cold water over an Entrepreneur’s vision and path to imagined success. Entrepreneurs, especially hard-headed ones without wise counsel, forge ahead regardless of reality.

You might not like the facts but you can’t ignore them!

It would be unwise for Entrepreneurs to ignore facts. Facts present a true portrayal of the situation and not taking them into account in your action plans could be critical. Entrepreneurs sometimes have a vision fixed in their mind and if anything detracts from that scenario, they tend to discount it if not completely ignore it. They could be doing so at their own peril!

Use facts to bolster your plans. Facts rather than assumptions build a robust case for you. It is not wrong to make reasonable, calculated assumptions when facts are not available. If the available facts don’t fit your case, it would be devastating to ignore them and use your assumptions.

Use facts, and if they pose a challenge to your plans build in options to address such situations. That would a wiser course of action than ignoring the facts altogether.

Ignoring facts could be detrimental to your business.

Ravi Patel