If you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur, you know how difficult it can be to find the path to business leadership that works for you. Leadership styles are a dime a dozen, and no one has time to try every idea.
Being a leader doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are four steps that aren’t often talked about.
- Focus on solutions, not problems. Read The Solutions Focus by Mark McKergow if you haven’t yet.
- Collaborate with your team. Collaboration is a force multiplier.
- Be a culture champion. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. It’s never too early to think about this.
- Care about the success of others. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. Share the important factors in your own success in the comments.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Episode 475 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you today?
Hi. This week, I am back in LA visiting the regional office for Los Angeles. As most people probably know, we moved BNI headquarters from Los Angeles to Charlotte, North Caroline. The global headquarters is now in Charlotte, and I have a local home office in Austin, Texas. But I am back in Los Angeles this week.
A lot of people don’t know that I spent 50 – 50, I know, sounds crazy. 50 years of my life in the Los Angeles area. So I have been there a long time. It is good to go back and visit.
Yeah. It’s nice to go home. Not home but previous home.
Previous home. A lot of people don’t know this. This is way off subject but then I moved from Pittsburgh when I was six years old, moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I was born to South Central Los Angeles. I lived in South Central which is not one of the better neighborhoods in Los Angeles. I lived there for for about a year and then moved to Azusa. I grew up in the Azusa area.
I am back home.
Good. Well, I grew up in LA also, since we are on the subject.
You were on the good side of the tracks. I was on the south side of the tracks.
Yeah. That’s true.
Well, nice. Alright. We should talk about that offline. I want to hear about that.
Alright. So today we are going to be talking about the path to business leadership. Last week, I shared with everyone a story about John Maxwell. I was really honored to receive the John Maxwell Award. John shared a story about his early days in learning leadership as a pastor and how he went about doing that.
It got me thinking about some of the key factors of leadership. If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path toward leadership that works for you. With all of the information that is available to us online, leadership styles are like a dime a dozen and no one has the time or resources to try every idea.
So it is about getting back to the basics and understanding what things can improve your business. Being a leader doesn’t have to be complicated. You have heard the acronym Keep It Simple Silly or Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.). It is an acronym that is, I think, relevant.
If you find yourself wondering how to become a leader in business, I came up with four steps for leadership that aren’t often talked about but were important for me in building a global organization. Here are the four:
One, focus on solutions, not problems. People sometimes focus on a problem as though it were an olympic event. You know, they harp on the issue. If all you focus on is the problem, you become an expert at the problem. You have no solution but, boy, you know the problem.
I think every business person around the world recognizes that, certainly with their political officials. Everybody knows the problem. Very few know the solution.
Do you want to be a great leader? Do you want to be a great business person? Focus on the solutions, not the problems. There is a really good book that I recommend by a friend of mine, Dr. Mark McKergow. The book is called Solutions Focus. I have been recommending his book for years. Talk about how, if you want to be successful in life, you just need to learn to be focused on finding the solution and not just obsessing over the problem- which oh by the way, is also fantastic at a BNI chapter.
If all you are focusing on is the problems that you are having int he chapter, you will fail because you will obsess on the problems without ever coming to any solutions. That is number one. Focus on solutions, not problems.
Two, collaborate with your team. Collaboration. I want everyone to hear this because I have never said this before, certainly not on a podcast. Collaboration is a force multiplier. Collaboration is a force multiplier. Getting people together to work with one another multiplies the impact that everyone has.
I have often said that in BNI, the sum of the whole is greater than the individual. What that means is that by everyone working together, they can achieve substantially more. That is what I mean by collaboration is a force multiplier. Working together as a team can really impact the results in an organization, whether you are talking about a BNI chapter or whether you are talking about your business.
Collaboration is so messy. It is. It is difficult. It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. And it’s effective. It drives me crazy sometimes. Really. Because I am basically at heart a dictator. Okay, I would just like to tell people where to stand, what to do and how to do it.
The only problem is that doesn’t work. Not really. Not in this day and age. I’m not sure that it ever worked but it certainly doesn’t work in this day and age.It really doesn’t work with entrepreneurs. So collaboration, no matter how difficult it is, is truly the way, I think today, to be an effective leader and an effective business person.
So focus on solutions not problems. Collaborate with your team.
And three, be a culture chapmion. Be a culture champion. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. If you want to build a powerful company, a powerful business, a powerful chapter of BNI, be a culture champion. Clearly understand the vision of your business, of your organization.
In BNI, our vision is “changing the way the world does business”.
Understand your mission. Most importantly, understand your core values. You may think, “I don’t know what the core values of my business are.” Sit down, start thinking about it. What are the core values? What is important to you? How have you achieved whatever level of success that you have? How have you achieved that?
Sometimes you figure out what your core values are by looking at what your traditions are. What are the traditions that you have in your business that have helped you achieve some level of success? Those traditions really are what makes your core values.
So understand what your core values are and be a culture champion. Also know that you can never ben too small to start thinking about these things. If you have one employee, now is the time to be thinking about the culture as an organization, because when you have ten employees, it is too late.
You know, I don’t want to say it is too late. It is later than it should be. There is an old Chinese proverb of when is the best time to plant an oak tree? The answer is 25 years ago. The second answer is if not 25 years ago, then today.
So if you haven’t thought about your culture and you have more than 10 employees, now is the time to really start thinking about it because it is very important that you as a leader be a culture champion. That is the third.
Fourth, care about the success of others. Really care about their success. People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
One of the things I found in BNI is that when people realy, truly understand that I want them to succeed, that I am there to help them, they are much more likely to hear my advice than if I just, you know, fly in and tell everybody what they should be doing and then fly out.
When people understand that I am really there to help them succeed, genuinely and sincerely, they are much more likely to listen to my advice. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Those are the four key things that I think are the four pieces to the path of business leadership that people don’t often talk about. I think that leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought was possible. Leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible.
In your business, if you are listening to this podcast, what are your wildest dreams? What is your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.
I invite you to, if you are listening to this podcast, put down in here what you think are some really important factors to success and to great leadership. These four certainly aren’t the only four out there. There are many more. I would love to hear what you think.
That is all I have for today, Priscilla.
Okay. Thank you so much. Well, I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.