This is a wonderful 10 minute speech by Brian Brault, Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, during a United Nations Global meeting on how Entrepreneurship can make a difference to the UN Developmental Goals.
Creating a Shared Future for Entrepreneurs and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
I have met Brian several times over the last 13 years that I have been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. He is an inspiration and I am glad that he had this opportunity to share such an important message to the world’s ambassadors and governments.
This video is about Verne Harnish’s 5 habits of the Leaders that will succeed in the next decade.
The 5 habits are:
Ratio of “No” to “Yes”
Meals with Influencers
Calender hours on Gold Chip actions
Total brains involved in your decisions
Regular Reading and Thinking Time
Verne C. Harnish founded Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, both international entrepreneurship organizations. He also serves as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gazelles, Inc., a strategic planning and “executive education” company. He chairs the “Birthing of Giants” leadership program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Here’s some of the action from last week’s ScaleUp Barcelona conference:
April Abboud is a successful American entrepreneur who has moved to the Middle East. She gave up the business she grew, the culture she knew and having family close by to start a family in a land thousands of miles away. She has chosen to challenge herself all through her life.
April was recently asked to be the Moderator and Welcoming Speaker for the regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. She shared a powerful story about the need for each of us to face difficulties in our lives:
The Man who Helped the Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
It stopped moving. It seemed to have stopped making progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
The man decided to help. He took a pair of scissors and cut off the remaining cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily.
The butterfly had a sluggish, swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly. He waited for the wings to grow and expand to be able to support the body. He waited for the body to shrink to the beautiful proportions of a butterfly.
He waited. Neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
The butterfly never was able to fly.
The Universe is Wise
The man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand nature. The restricting cocoon and the struggle is necessary. As the butterfly squeezes through the tiny opening, fluid from the body is forced into its wings. This long, tiring, intense struggle for escape is necessary for the butterfly to fly once it fights its way to freedom from the closed cocoon.
This is not only the nature of butterflies. It is the nature of life. It is our nature. If we do not have adversity and strife on our journey we cannot carry the weight that our dreams require of us. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the person they once were. Some understand this difficulty for what it really is: Growth.
As an entrepreneur, I have often made the choice to travel the road less taken, one filled with uncertainty and fear. I dare to make the world a better place and somehow along the way find the courage to believe in my wings and let myself fly.
We must give ourselves permission to accept the struggles, for in them we find our true original, authentic self.
To those who crawl around swollen with desire we become leaders. Fierce are those with restrictions, strengthened by their journey, that not only find their wings but take to flight.
PS As of last night… I’ve updated my channel graphical look. I’d welcome your thoughts on the new look Rhetorical Journey Channel page. If you’re not already a subscriber to the youtube channel… What are you waiting for? Seriously… people pay me good money to talk and here you get me for free and in your comfy home.
How to Improve your Sales Process (4 Personal Habits to Develop)
Here’s another smidgin of wisdom from Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Leadership Academy 2016. In this video, Rich Mulholland, an entrepreneur from South Africa shares his reflections on two key moments during the leadership academy: A re-enactment of the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech, and a session with Warren Rustand speaking about his time as Appointments Secretary to President Gerald Ford.
Rich’s message: Take control of your time.
I love Rich’s idea about protecting your time in the short term: If someone asks him for a meeting, he says “If you want to meet today or tomorrow, I can give you 15 minutes; if you want to meet next week, I can give you 30 minutes… if you can wait 2 weeks, I can give you an hour” – Most people say “I’ll take 15 minutes” and he can hold them to it when the clock ticks to 15 because they chose 15.
Communities are Conservative, Business is Progressive
There is an inherent conflict between communities and companies. Communities (family, neighbourhood, tradition) try to maintain stability. Companies are driven by the nature of the capitalism market system to innovate and change. (See Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” on wikipedia) .
Stability vs Destruction
Companies close their factories and replace deeply experienced craft men with young computer geeks who can build the model inside a CAD/CAM system. Companies move accounts payable from outside of town, to outside of the continent and 25 middle managers who have spent 25 years working in accounts no longer have a workplace to go to. The community is hit by this loss of incomes and hope.
What is the right balance between Creative Destruction (Capitalism) and Stability (Community)?
This may be a moot question – Creative Destruction is an international, intercontinental force. A community has little power to decide “we will step outside of this cycle”.
Europe is facing this on a brutal scale. These two forces are pulling the euro project in many directions, testing political will, raising emotions. Karl Marx predicted that capitalist society would come to this point – debasement of the money supply (otherwise known as Quantitative Easing), greater and greater proportion of profit going to the owners of capital (not labour), monopolistic tendency in industries. His view was that capitalism would inevitably collapse under its own success.
Community has provided the softening balance that has kept capitalism from collapsing under its own successes. However we face an intense conflict. We don’t have free markets, we have crony capitalism. The banks that should have failed, were not allowed to fail. The bankers at the center of the capitalism disaster turned to community to save themselves – and community did.
Capitalism is needed to innovate, but Community is needed to soften the harsh blows and to save capitalism from its own failings.
Changing and Caring
Entrepreneurship is needed in society, in public service, in schooling as much as it is needed in business. The modern world needs a continual updating mechanism – otherwise our nation will be left behind. We have found no other comparable mechanism than the market to continually improve products, services and people (evolution is a sort of market mechanism).
Society needs a balancing function. The brutal consequences of competition – loss of jobs, loss of value of skills, unemployment, increasing cost of debt servicing… need people who can support us in tough moments.
This conflict is always going to be there. Society wants stability. Global markets force change.
How can society cope with the ever increasing speed of global change? What happens when companies innovate fast? How can we help communities accommodate the increased pace of change?
It is Messy, isn’t it
I don’t have any simple answers. I am currently taking the course “Moral Foundations of Political Systems” on Coursera with Yale Professor Ian Shapiro. Over the past 5 weeks we have moved through Enlightenment, to Utilitarianism, to Marxism and this week onto Social Contract theory. I love several moments in the course where Shapiro asks a simple question to the partipants… they give a go at what seems a simple enough question… and then he smiles and says “it is messy, isn’t it. You can’t take the politics out of human decisions.”
Everyone wants to be Bruce Lee, but few want to put in the 10,000 (or more) hours of practice and preparation. It is only when the bar is held high that we can consistently put in the practice and push our skills to the highest levels.
What makes for an ‘A’ Player?
The simplest possible definition is “somebody you would enthusiastically re-hire”. Imagine you got to re-hire your team each morning. Who would be the first people chosen? These are your “A players”.
What attracts “A” Players? Two things – other “A” Players and a meaningful challenge.
How do you create a culture of “A” Players? There is only one path: Zero tolerance of mediocrity. At the end of this post I describe this leadership attitude.
Positive Attitude – Resilient; life gives us all blows… some keep moving, some get knocked down. A players keep moving.
Adaptable – Open to Change, Flexible; what was right yesterday may be wrong today, what worked well yesterday may be ineffective today.
Reliable – write things down, get things done, relentless follow through, do what needs to be done
Big Picture – they know where they and their team are going, they have a personal sense of why they are doing the work that they are doing; building skills not just for today, but for where they want to be tomorrow.
Connected and Influential – Plays well with others, listens actively, open to being influenced and capable of shaping the perspectives and attitudes of others.
Always Learning – reading books, attending seminars, open to culture
How to run your talent program like FC Barcelona
At a conference at IESE Business School in 2011, Geoff Smart spoke to the audience about how to source, select and attract top talent to your organization. He asked “has anyone ever hired someone who looked great on paper, only to find out weeks or months later that it was a terrible decision?” Many hands were raised in the air.
Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, says that the very first step of leaders who create massive success in their businesses is “get the right people on the bus”… and the corollary… get the wrong people off the bus.
There are 4 parts to hiring well.
Know clearly what you want the person to achieve. Go beyond vague descriptions of skills. eg. “Analytical Thought Process” develop further to “Distinguishes key facts from secondary factors; can follow a progressive thought process from idea to idea; makes sound observations.”
Go to where the best people are. Where are the best people? They are not looking at job adverts. They are not spending their weekend reading job websites. They are passionate about their current role. It is unlikely that those who are actively searching through non-personal channels are top performers. The top performers are still doing well in their current jobs. How to find the best people? There is only one way: Network. If you want talent: ask who the best people are, get to industry events, meet people at conferences. Watch people in action, know them through their activity, read their books, their tweets, their Quora profiles, their blogs.
Selecting the A players: focus on the past, not the future. Don’t ever ask “how would you solve the problem?”. Ask “tell me about a time when you solved a similar problem?” Everyone can tell you a great story about what they would do. The top performers are not smarter, don’t have better to-do list systems, better technology. The differentiator is that they have found the way to overcome procrastination. They actually do the things that they say they will do. Give them a present problem and ask them to solve it. See their creative thinking, not necessarily the solution. Look for performance, don’t ask for opinions.
Selling the opportunity, building the culture. Selling the opportunity to an A player does not mean “be their friend”; it means sell them on the personal growth, the professional growth the opportunity to impact the world on a massive scale. This is what great people want. Not more friends. They want to be pushed and demanded and be allowed to change the world for the better. Jonathan Davis says that culture is hard to build and easy to destroy. Jonathan turned down a hiring contract recently with a big company. He told the CEO “You cannot be client of ours. I’ll tell you why. Your VP of sales is a !@#$%^!. He won’t waste an opportunity to tell you how awesome he is. We can help you recruit a great employee, but he will leave.” It is the culture that you build that will really attract and keep the top talent. If you create a great culture, you don’t need to pay employees to bring people in… they will bring their ambitious, high performing friends in. The online shoe retailer Zappos pay $2000 for people to leave.
Finding, Recruiting and Retaining Talent is Hard Work
How do you do this without any effort? You don’t. Good talent doesn’t just happen because you are showing up. One of the hardest things in business life is removing a loyal but mediocre performer from your team. There may be bonds of friendship, there may be many good shared experiences in the past, feelings of connection. However, the continued presence of mediocrity in your team is a cancer that will eat away at your ability to achieve important goals. One way to reduce the pain of having to let go of mediocre performers is to get very good at only hiring star performers into your team.
Leadership sometimes means Letting People Go
My father once told me that the greatest service you can do for an unhappy, under performing employee is to let them go – it frees them to search and find a place where they can contribute and find greater meaning. They won’t thank you in the moment, but this is the service of a leader – it is not about giving – it is about serving; it is not about the easy answers, it is about the right answers.
Highly Demanding, with Love
How would you get Leo Messi to play for your football team? It would help if you had 3 of the top 5 footballers in the world already on the team. How do you attract the top talent to your team? Build a culture of high performance around you.
This starts with a zero tolerance of mediocrity.
A participant on my course last year began his speech “I have often wondered whether it is better as a parent to be permissive or authoritarian. Which is better? At a conference a few years ago, I had the opportunity to speak to one of the world guru’s on child development. I went up to him after his talk. I congratulated him. I asked him the question: ‘is it better for a parent to be permissive or authoritarian?’
The guru smiled and said ‘highly demanding with love’.”
It is the same as a leader – can you be highly demanding, with love. Expect the best from those around you and they rise to the challenge. Accept the worst, and they will coast in comfort.
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