Molding Consensus

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

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

Consensus is defined as 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 building, 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.

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

Ravi Patel

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Published in: on March 5, 2019 at 4:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Culture of Finding Solutions

Don’t find fault, find a remedy – Henry Ford . Entrepreneurs could learn from this statement.

In a blame-rich rather than solution-oriented culture, leaders (mostly political) often seek out whom to accuse of problems rather than find solutions. Sometimes this extends to poorly run companies with unhealthy culture and negative management practices.

In the real world it is acceptable for leaders to hold people accountable for their performance. However, it is not wise to continually blame others for problems. Entrepreneurs have to take responsibility for the issues facing their business and teach their managers to do the same.

More importantly, blaming others or even accepting responsibility does not solve the problem. Entrepreneurs need to create a culture where finding solutions or remedies to issues takes precedence over blame. Such a positive culture allows people to readily accept responsibility for decisions without having to face ridicule.

Do the Right Thing by creating a solution-oriented culture in your company and incorporating that in your Mission.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on February 12, 2019 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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When to Let Go

“Don’t let go too soon and don’t hang on too long.” – Mitch Albom. Quite useful advice for Entrepreneurs.

It is always a delicate balance as to when an Entrepreneur needs to let go and delegate responsibility of his/her business to someone else. If one leaves too early, the Mission and Vision might remain unaccomplished. On the other hand, hanging on too long might jeopardize long-term success.

Leaving the business to pursue other ventures is all dependent on to whom the Entrepreneur is relinquishing control. If the Entrepreneur has built up a strong leadership team and a solid foundation to accomplish the Mission, delegating responsibility to run the business to a competent CEO is prudent. However, if the leadership team and the new CEO are not seasoned and well-developed, the Entrepreneur risks a lot by leaving too soon.

Hanging on too long can be an issue also. If the business has grown beyond the capability of the Entrepreneur to successfully run it, it might be damaging to hang on to power. A new CEO is then necessary. Alternatively, if the Entrepreneur has recruited a solid leadership team and a likely CEO and trained them, hanging on will be demotivating to the capable successor CEO and the  team as they cannot show off their potential.

If Entrepreneurs run the business on their  own without a secondary leadership team and want to continue doing so, they do not face the question of leaving too early or hanging on. But is that continued retention of control achieving the Mission and Vision of the business?

Ravi Patel

Published in: on February 5, 2019 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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What Could MLK Teach Entrepreneurs?

The nation celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday yesterday. It is interesting to review what lessons Entrepreneurs can learn from Martin Luther King (MLK).

Dave Kerpen wrote an article on Inc. on January 19, 2004 listing seven lessons from MLK that are still relevant today. Here is my summary:

  1. Dream big – if you don’t dream big, you can’t achieve significant things
  2. Persuade without power – don’t be a “boss.” but be a leader through the power of persuasion
  3. Give people something to believe in – have passion in your Vision so people are compelled to adopt it
  4. Embrace fear and be courageous anyway– be honest with people about the challenges but have the courage to face them anyway
  5. Get everyone involved – Entrepreneurs can’t do everything themselves. They need to have other people involved to build their company.
  6. Create a sense of urgency – have a bias for action to get ahead of competition
  7. Inspire people – without inspiring leadership it merely becomes a job for your people. Have them motivated to fulfill your Vision.

These are lessons that Entrepreneurs can definitely learn from and adopt.

 Ravi Patel

Being an Effective Manager

Various books and articles about management focus on each aspect of management and discuss skills to master these areas.

Here is my take – Effective management is all about making it easier for employees to perform their jobs to achieve the established goals.

It is the manager’s job to make his/her employees successful. An effective manager works on eliminating obstacles that impede their employees from reaching their goals, and providing the required resources and tools.

Poor managers bent on too much control, in fact, create obstacles for their employees. They create processes that make the jobs of their employees more complicated and difficult.

Entrepreneurs, which manager should you be?

Ravi Patel

Reduce Control

For Entrepreneurs managing their level of “control” is crucial in growing their businesses.

When Entrepreneurs start their businesses, they feel like they need to have total control over everything that goes on in their organization. All decisions are made by them and nothing can be done without their say so. That is too much control.

However, as the business grows, Entrepreneurs are forced to give up some control and delegate tasks to others. They still want to know what happened. When successful, Entrepreneurs should transfer responsibilities to a secondary level of leadership. In that stage they cannot keep track of all details.

At every stage of the growth of the company, Entrepreneurs reduce their sphere of direct control. This is very difficult for most Entrepreneurs, especially if it is their first business venture.

Building a strong secondary leadership team, guiding and mentoring the team, and periodically monitoring their accomplishments towards specific objectives and the overall Mission will reduce the anxiety of Entrepreneurs. If  Entrepreneurs cannot learn to reduce their sphere of control, it will create stress that might be detrimental.

When things fall outside your sphere of direct control (to lower levels of the organization), resist the temptation to wrest such control or stress about it. Focus on the bigger picture.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 6, 2018 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hiring Smarter People

Entrepreneurs must hire people to grow their companies. What kind of management leaders do they hire? Who should they hire? Is that appropriate?

In order to keep costs down, there might be a tendency to recruit lower-cost managers who might require a lot of supervision. Is this keeping costs down in the long run? Is the Entrepreneur’s time well spent in managing such managers?

Entrepreneurs should not be afraid to hire people smarter than they are. Hiring smarter people might be tough on the ego and wallet, but in the long run the company will be much better for it. In fact, hiring smarter people will provide the opportunity to not only learn from them, but also allow the Entrepreneur to focus more time and energy on his/her areas of strength.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 23, 2018 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Being Persistent

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

Persistent is defined as continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

How appropriate that an Entrepreneur be persistent 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, be persistent! Your people will be inspired and support your efforts.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 2, 2018 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Create a Playbook for your Business

The football season is here. It is hard to miss the coaches on the sidelines with color-coded sheets of possible plays to be called for that game. The head coach with all the assistant coaches spend hours prior to the game analyzing their competitor’s game, strengths and weaknesses, strategies and so on and blend it with their own team’s core competencies to create a game-plan for winning. Disciplined coaches with a good playbook are generally winners.

Entrepreneurs, do you have similar “playbook” for major strategic actions to be used against, in or with competitors, marketplace, economy, opportunities, employees and so on? Have you worked with your key leadership team to develop such a playbook?

Winning on the field, similar to the marketplace, requires a lot of planning, analysis, strategizing to come up with the ideal game-plan for success. A playbook for winning a football game is similar to one required for succeeding in business.

Create a playbook for your business and ensure that you call the right play for the situation. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on September 18, 2018 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Take Care of Your Employees First

“Charity begins at home” means that you should take care of family and people close to you before you worry about helping others.

Does this apply to Entrepreneurs and business?

Most Entrepreneurs and small business owners have a desire to be generous to causes they believe in. It is noble to give back to the community they work and live in.

However, it is important to first take care of matters close to business and then outside. This entails making sure you first address the well-being of your employees. Ensure that your employees are compensated commensurate with their performance, have comprehensive benefits, opportunity to learn and develop their skills,  and well-defined path for advancement.

Giving to charity and noble causes is great, but if you don’t take care of your employees first you might not be paying homage to the “charity begins at home” philosophy.

If you help others without first taking care of your employees, it might be at the latter’s expense and they might resent that. On the other hand, if you take care of your employees first, they might be motivated to join in and participate and contribute to your charitable causes.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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