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StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

It’s A Dog-Eat-Dog World Out There, But Only If You Allow It

Business is often described as a dog eat dog world. But things only usually get that bad if you let them. Here is some advice from entrepreneurs who learned serious lessons through their own experience on how to avoid getting screwed over by their business partners, and the people that they work with.

Always Avoid Emotionality

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
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It’s great that passion motivates the positive aspects of your business and drives you forward to new heights. But passion in business can get you into trouble, especially when emotions turn negative. Things will go wrong in business. People will try to take advantage of you, colleagues will lie, and business partners will let you down. The key to running a successful business is to always remain cool and calculating in these situations. Losing your head can lead you to make damaging decisions that could ultimately be harmful to your business in the long run.

Meditate

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Max Pixel

Meditation and entrepreneurs don’t seem like great bedfellows. After all, entrepreneurs are all about living life at 100 MPH, and people who meditate, usually Buddhist monks, are interested in the precise opposite. But when it comes to entrepreneurship, meditation is actually of critical importance. The reason is that our brains tend to make new connections and come up with original ideas when our minds are clear from other worries. Many entrepreneurs like to meditate in the shower and are sometimes referred to as “urban shower monks.” Being able to get away from the mayhem often allows you to think about how you’ll deal with a difficult situation better at work.

Set Clear Parameters With Your Stakeholders

One of the biggest problems companies face is defining relationships between their partners, vendors, stakeholders and colleagues. Often these agreements can get out of hand, and you can find yourself losing out. This is why so many companies now use contract management software to stay on top of all their relationships with their customers. It allows them to make sure that all of their contracts are in the best interest of the company and easy to find. It also helps organizations that need to scale rapidly manage their risks in real time.

Be Strategic

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Command and control entrepreneurs don’t usually do all that well. They think that people are working for them because they really want to and they believe in the company, but most of the time it’s just so that they can put food on the table at night. Some business leaders think that all they have to do is tell their employees what to do by force of will and they will obey. But this isn’t how people work. Instead, interacting with people is more like a game of chess. It’s strategic, and often people will do and say things that lead to their strategic advantage. For years Donald Trump ingratiated himself with the highest echelons of society. Now he’s bringing them to their knees. It’s all about long-term planning and cunning. Think carefully about what is actually motivating the people who work for you and with you.

Sam Alibrando

The Three Dimensions of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders: Finding the Balance of Power, Heart & Mindfulness

Any discussion about leadership effectiveness would have to include the idea of emotional intelligence (EI). The research is consistent and clear: leaders with high EI are more effective and leaders with low EI get stuck or even derail. I think of emotional intelligence occurring in 3 dimensions: Power (height), Heart (width) and Knowing or Mindfulness (depth). And you have to be good in all three at the same time or you are not good at all. An EI leader moves naturally in the Power dimension. They are confident; they set sound boundaries and expectations; they influence and motivate others. They are not afraid to confront or tell (their) truth. While at the same time an EI leaders move in the Heart dimension. They are compassionate and passionate; they are employee-focused and client-focused. They deeply value others and their input. They are not afraid to ask for help; and they are strangely humble. While at the same time, EI leaders are Mindful. They are measured, peaceful, self-controlled. They are present and knowing–even wise. They feel feelings deeply but do not “leak.” When a leader positively flows in all three dimensions they naturally find their relational “sweet spot” – like a tennis or golf pro.

Lower EI occurs when out of “habit of personality” or reactivity to stress, the leader fails to move positively in any one (or two or three) of the dimensions. For example, a leader who is unsure of being vulnerable thinking it weak (Heart), will either detach and remove himself in time of need (negative Knowing) or become overly critical, defensive or arrogant (negative Power). I worked with a CEO who had notable difficulty with Mindfulness and because of this he would keep inappropriate boundaries with staff (negative Heart) and have temper tantrums (negative Power) when he did not get his way. He had no even keel (Mindfulness).

The bad news is that these reactivity patterns are burnt into our limbic system (the emotional brain). So these patterns are often “set” in place and automatic. The good news is that the brain is “elastic” –i.e., we can change the brain and thus develop emotional intelligence. But it takes focus and work. Using a technique called “Working the Triangle” leaders can identify specific positive behaviors to focus on and practice at any given time. And when they do, they can get back into balance, finding their emotional sweet spot and leadership effectiveness (and joy).


About the Author

Sam AlibrandoSam Alibrando, PhD, is an organizational consultant, psychotherapist, author, teacher, workshop facilitator, collaborative mediator, and executive coach. His is the author of The 3 Dimensions of Emotions: Finding the Balance of Power, Heart, and Mindfulness in All of Your Relationships (New Page Books, July 2016) He has worked on the three-dimensional model for nearly 35 years and has taught it to thousands of people.

‘Woman Up’ (and Win in Business): How Valuing Traditionally Female Strengths Gives You an Edge in a Changing World

To date, the caring, nurturing side of women has gone mostly unappreciated in the workplace. But as social media takes hold and changes the way we do business, organizations that understand the importance of these qualities are the ones that will grow and prosper.

We’re all aware of the glass ceiling, the wage gap, and the grim statistics that reveal women’s struggles for workplace equality. And a report from the Government Accountability Office shows that from 2000 to 2007 the number of women managers increased by only 1 percent (and they’re still paid less than their male counterparts). But something happened during this same seven-year span that is about to dramatically shift this lopsided picture – the rise of social media.

That’s right. As social media transforms the way the world does business, the qualities that make women women will become more valuable than they’ve ever been before.

There have been countless studies on gender differences. And no matter how you interpret them, they come to two general conclusions: Males are aggressive; females are nurturing. Men are competitive, combative, and individually centered. Women are collaborative, communicative, and community-centered.

Indeed, a 2008 issue of the McKinsey Quarterly noted that women tend to make deeper emotional connections with colleagues and business partners. Women leaders tend to exhibit more social and emotional skills – sharing, caring, and putting others first.


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About the Author

Barry Libert is the author of Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business. He is Chairman and CEO of Mzinga®, the leading provider of social software, services, and analytics that improve business performance. Barry has published five books on the value of social and information networks. He is a regularly featured keynote speaker at industry associations and for leading companies on the power of social media. He has been published in Newsweek, Smart Money, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and he has appeared on CNN, CNBC, and NPR. Barry currently serves on the Board of Directors at Innocentive and The SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. To learn more about Barry, click here.