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Living by a Personal Business Philosophy

(Click on the title for an article on best practices leadership ideas)

Almost 30 years ago after moving from a field sales role and entering my first in-house corporate role I realized quickly I could not make everyone (or anyone) happy unless I developed a set of personal priorities that would guide my choices each week and each day.

I was gaining weight, losing sleep and almost everyone was a little to really frustrated with me.  I was also more than a little frustrated and working towards angry at myself. So, I started with a simple list of 10 things that included specific tactics about things like exercise, time with my children each week, time for me, investing in my growth and things like that.

Over the next 30 years the list has growth and become more specific and informed by years of experience.  I call it my Leadership philosophy.  It has evolved into my second book called, “Get Over yourself, Decide to Lead; Insights from Hard Lessons Learned”

These are 5 of my Leadership Philosophies

1 -Define your Brand and live up to it

Many people proclaim their brand to be things like, honest, credible, having high integrity, inclusive and other words that sound really great.  The problem is that they never live up to them.  You don’t proclaim your brandyou earnit, one decision at a time, day after day, year after year.  If you know what you want your personal brand to be, then start living by it.

2 – Be a great Listener

Early in my career a very Senior Executive stop by my little cubicle one day and said, “write this down young man”.  “ You are the master of what you don’t say and the slave to what you do say, choose wisely.”

Clearly I had be rambling about something no one cared about but in a meeting or meetings and he was sending me a message.  

After a month a rarely speaking, he stopped back by and said ok, you can talk again but start with asking great questions about things you don’t know.  I am pretty sure you already know what you know.

That was a message I never forgot.

3 – The best team wins

A great leader knows that the best team will out perform all other teams over time.  Any team can get lucky one year and hit a few numbers but the best team will win the most over time.

So a great leader is always recruiting, always. They are looking for new talent everyday in meetings, in the field, with other suppliers and with customers. They know when their best people will be moving on and have a top shelf list of replacements ready to go. They also know when their bottom performers will need new jobs and have replacements for them too.

I never waited for an HR team to provide me with a candidate list for a job. I already had my list.

4 – Never Give Feedback about Your Boss, ever

Yes this one is personal and that’s why it’s on my list and one you should consider.  Years ago a consulting group was getting input for a project and one of the questions were ways your boss could improve.  I gave 3-4 very specific ideas and it backfired.  My boss and I had been friends for years and he took it as a stab in the back and I thought I was doing my job.  

Our relationship never recovered and I will never give feedback about my boss again.

5 – Focus on the Marketplace, not a Conference Room

The longer people are in assignments the more time they spend in a conference room with other people who work at the same company and less time in the marketplace where real transactions happen.

Spend time in the marketplace.  It has the answers not in a conference room with people talking to themselves. Go see, first hand what the competition is doing. Go see how other companies are launching new products.  Go look at new merchandising and marketing ideas. For certain the next big idea is being tested, it just has not been scaled yet.  Do you know where and what it is?  It’s not in a conference room, that’s for certain.



These are 5 of my 12.  Guess where you can find the other 7?  

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