Lead 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

Published in: on December 10, 2019 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Doing Right

In entrepreneurial companies doing the right things is critical for growth. In general, who is right should not matter as much as doing what is right.

How does this actually work in practice?

If the Entrepreneur has created a culture of favoritism and is partial to employees whom he/she likes, then who is right will take precedence. Employees will try to prove they are right to win favors with the Entrepreneur and might even try to put others down. Not a healthy environment!

On the other hand, if the Entrepreneur has established a culture of teamwork and continuous improvement, then what is right will prevail. There will be more emphasis on doing the right things for the company rather than establishing who is right. In this case it becomes a win-win situation!

What would you rather have?

Ravi Patel

Published in: on December 3, 2019 at 7:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Be Grateful

Entrepreneurs have a lot to be grateful for!

First and foremost are our country and the free market system that allow Entrepreneurs the opportunity to create and grow businesses and prosper.

Employees are the backbone of companies and Entrepreneurs should be thankful for the dedication, loyalty and hard work put forth by their people to make businesses successful.

No business can sustain itself without customers and clients. Be thankful to your sources of revenue for putting their trust in you to provide services and products.

Entrepreneurs should also appreciate their suppliers and service providers who continue to supply essential goods and services to sustain their businesses.

Shareholders and financiers who have invested in your abilities to grow the business and provide a return on their capital should be high on the list of people to whom Entrepreneurs are grateful.

Do not forget to appreciate your gratitude to your business advisers who provide a sounding board for you to share ideas and seek advice.

Lastly, the community that you operate your businesses in should be appreciated also.

So on this Thanksgiving, I encourage Entrepreneurs to express their gratitude to the above stakeholders in your companies.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 26, 2019 at 7:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Are You Really Sorry?

Everyone makes mistakes.

What separates leaders is that when mistakes are made, genuine leaders offer a sincere apology. How do they convey that they are really sorry?

You often hear someone say sorry and then add a “but.” In those cases there are all kinds of excuses after the “but.” All these apologies are watered down by offering excuses. Are they really sorry?

A sincere apology is just that – sincere! When you make a mistake, no matter affecting which stakeholder, just say a sincere sorry without any excuses or reasons. This will be more genuine than trying to explain what happened to cause that mistake.

To be even more effective, you should privately analyze the reasons for the mistake and establish corrective actions to prevent that in the future. This will appear more sincere to the offended party.

Entrepreneurs – Do the Right Things if you are really sorry!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 19, 2019 at 7:15 am  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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