As most of the readers of this column will attest, I have become quite devoted to the extended realm of entrepreneur leadership in the entrepreneurial journey.
This week, I would like for us to explore critical items that a good entrepreneurial leader must possess, and then take a look at how leadership errors may become opportunities for enrolling people in their personal visions.
There appears to be an endless supply of books in the market today that deal with leadership in many different aspects.
I’m the first to admit that I own a lot of those titles in my attempt to explore and broaden my own knowledge base.
But sometimes, I simply get bogged down from the latest research. I mean, is it really necessary to know what your emotional IQ is?
That’s why I find myself at times just wanting to get back to basics in this puzzle called life.
Last week, I was deeply engrossed in dialogue with an executive from Calgary who is very successful at motivating and leading his team.
In his office, he shared with me about how he had posted a memo on his bulletin board that said it all for me: “Three Things a Good Entrepreneurial Leader Must Possess: Vision, Strategy & Accountability.”
After reading it, I thought to myself, that is what it’s all about.
It is possible to take the concept of leadership and break it down into its simplest terms and still be effective.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners alike need these great leaderships traits, too.
And if you are like me, in the early phases of startup I want things to be as simple and easy as possible and yet effective.
That being said, here are some quick thoughts on each of these three qualities for you to take-in and let marinate over the coming week.
Vision—to be successful and still be an effective leader, you must have vision and not be fearful of thinking big.
You may not be running a Fortune 500 venture, or even aspire to do so, but you still ought to think big.
Have a vision for yourself or your entrepreneurial venture that makes others want to tell you, “ You’re crazy, Joel!”
Down the road, they will be kicking themselves wishing they were as “crazy” as you were at the outset. Sound good?
Strategy—when it comes to your new or enhanced venture, is your emphasis going to be on growth or differentiating yourself from the competitors? And how are you going to accomplish that?
Please try and remember this motto: “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with people who have great goals and aspirations but have no idea how they are going to do it.
So think about this, what will be your strategy for overcoming the challenges that may get in the way of the future you desire for yourself, your venture and your dreams?
Accountability—I’m a huge fan of entrepreneurship and small business, as I indicated in my opening words to this column, particularly as applied with the leadership ingredient.
But let’s face it, it’s a different animal. You have to be a special kind of person to succeed in this entrepreneurship game.
Not all of us will have the luxury of having a dedicated alter ego getting in our face and telling us to get our butts in gear.
That’s why personal accountability in the entrepreneurial journey is so important.
Here’s another question: Have you followed through with what you need accomplished to-day to continue moving your life or venture in the right direction?
Becoming a great entrepreneurial leader often begins with being able to lead ourselves.
Let me offer a brief look a few most common leadership mistakes made by entrepreneurs.
Don’t be afraid to engage a leadership or venture coach to help you see what you have difficulty seeing on your own.
Be clear and committed with respect to the fundamentals of your entrepreneurial venture.
Get everything simplified, refined and written down—reaching agreement and commitment to an action plan is your end goal.
What if your venture is already operating, is it too late? No, it is never too late. You may have to undo the work you’ve already completed but it will be worth it in the end.
In conclusion, I guess your core questions might look like this:
1. Who are we and what do we stand for?
2. How do we define our core target clients?
3. What significant problem/s do we solve, or opportunities do we create?
4. How do we position ourselves as different from competitors?
5. How do we profit from all these efforts?
When your answers are clear and you understand your need for commitment to a desire course of action, you’ll be amazed at the renewed sense of commitment you will experience as both an entrepreneur and a leader.
The net result is a burst of acceleration that will astound you.
Joel Young is an entrepreneurial leadership coach, consultant and educator and founder of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.