Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for EntrepreneurshipRecently, I was thinking about the people who really made a difference in my life. A few mental pictures popped into my mind. As I remembered these individuals, one very important ingredient emerged – humility. All were individuals of the highest character. Their personal character was why I listened intently to and believed their message. As I matured, character was also the reason why I chose not to be mentored by certain people. It was difficult to embrace their message when I experienced their self-serving attitude in every situation. Their life motto was “my way is the right way.”

(more…)

Advertisements

Have your Ark Ready

Posted: June 28, 2015 by Tim Metzner in Leadership, People, Startup

TIM-METZNER-BWAs I was reading one of my favorite business/leadership books, The Bible (seriously, you’d be amazed how much relevant and insightful stuff there is for entrepreneurs), the story of Noah struck me as particularly relevant today.

There is no shortage of articles out there today about what Millennials are looking for in work/life, so let me summarize it for you: they want to do stuff that matters. This statistic from a CNN Money article is pretty telling: “A full 60% of 2015 grads — and 69% of 2013 and 2014 grads, who were also surveyed — said they’d rather work for a company that has a “positive social atmosphere” even if it means lower pay.”

(more…)

Patience and Perseverance Still Matters

Posted: June 7, 2015 by Tom Heuer in Leadership, People

Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for EntrepreneurshipA few weeks ago, I was fortunate to cross paths with an older, delightfully engaging woman while having my car serviced.  As we were conversing, I sensed a major event was about to happen in her life.  Since 1996, she had been driving the same small, four door sedan. She claimed to have logged 245,000 miles on it. “It has been my goal for years to purchase a brand new, beautiful automobile.   I have been saving and investing a few dollars every month for the last 15 years.  Every month was a challenge.  I am now about to drive away in my brand new car.”  With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she shared, “This is one of the most important days of my life.”   Her pride and sense of self-worth was overwhelming.  She had come to the end of a seemingly endless journey with numerous detours and had achieved what she set out to accomplish.  The victory was hers – completing the journey by driving away in a new car.

(more…)

Leaders That Write Make History

Posted: May 31, 2015 by Bob Gilbreath in Education, Innovation, Leadership, People

Bob-G-2015It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May. Instead of lounging in the hammock or attacking weeds in the yard, I am writing this column for the Enquirer. Why? In case you wondered, there is no pay for this piece. It is rewarding to share perspective and get a pat on the back, but the selfish reason I write is that it makes me a better business leader.

If you look around you may notice that many of the most successful business men and women in the world broadcast and exchange ideas by publishing their thoughts. CEOs of top companies write books and take the stage. In the startup world, blogs by executives are featured on websites, and venture capitalists frequently predict where the world is going. You might think it is just an ego thing, and I know there is a bit of that in all of us. But when you ask writers why they do it, most will admit that habitual writing hones their leadership abilities and contributes to their companies’ success.

(more…)

An Entrepreneur As Catalyst

Posted: May 24, 2015 by Jerry Malsh in Culture, Ecosystem, Innovation, Leadership, People, Startup

jerry-malsh-2015By now you’ve probably heard about the young Seattle entrepreneur who recently raised the minimum wage for all 120 employees of his firm to $70,000 per year (phased in over the next three years) while lowering his own salary to $70,000 from its previous high of nearly $1million.

Why?

  1. Because he wanted to help the people who have helped him grow his business by making a positive, significant difference in their lives. Not just the difference between falling behind and catching up, but the difference between catching up and moving ahead.
  2. Because he knows how out of whack CEO-to-worker pay ratios have become. The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay has increased 1000% since 1950, according to data from Bloomberg.

(more…)

From Big Job to Your Own Job

Posted: May 10, 2015 by Mark Matthews in Culture, Leadership, Startup

MarkMatthews-Blog-badgeYou worked hard in your career. You put in the long hours, missed family events, changed cities, and made sacrifices so that you could move up the corporate ladder. And it worked. You took on roles of increasing responsibility and achieved a lofty position with a Fortune 500 firm.

Man, you were somebody who had it all. Then one day, it was all gone. Perhaps you got “downsized”. Perhaps you were tired of all the sacrifices and then decided to chuck it all and not “work for the man anymore”. OK, so now what?

(more…)

Accountability: The New Body Odor

Posted: April 26, 2015 by Tom Heuer in Culture, Leadership, Operations, People, Startup

Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for Entrepreneurship

During my college days, I remember that hygiene often became an afterthought. Showering, washing clothes, having clean sheets and towels were not on the priority list. It just wasn’t that important to us. Rolling on the ban deodorant took care of everything. This one daily activity allowed us to attend classes without being repulsive. Working together was not inhibited by a foul, distracting odor. Our interests were not derailed by anything that distracted us or tempered our thoughts about the situation or individual. Ban deodorant always did its work.

In today’s business community, accountability seems to have become the new “body odor.” Whisper the word “accountability” and people run away and hide. Obviously, it isn’t the smell that turns people away – it is the personal commitment that is required. (more…)

jerry-malsh-2015It’s 6:00 AM and 7 below zero as my wife and I get into a cab headed for CVG on our way to some Southern warmth.   At least once every winter we stay at a Northern Kentucky hotel to avoid the ‘wintry mix’ of chaos guaranteed to occur the night before and the morning we’re scheduled to leave.

Our cab is a late-model Audi. Since we’ve both owned Audis for years, I’m already feeling comfortable as our driver asks us which airline we’re flying.

I notice his accent but can’t quite place it and ask him where he’s from.

Serbia.

Serbia. That bombshell of a word explodes in my mind, spewing out its shrapnel of hellacious images: Civil war, ethnic cleansing, mass graves and countless other unspeakable atrocities committed by man against his fellow man.

(more…)

What Great Companies Excel At

Posted: March 29, 2015 by Tim Metzner in Innovation, Leadership, Startup

Tim-MetznerWhile companies are incredibly diverse, it occurs to me that successful ones tend to have (at least) three things in common; clear vision, great culture and exceptional execution. I believe the more consistently a company excels in these areas, the more likely it is to become a lasting company that will thrive.

Vision

Your vision must be clear, focused, meaningful and well communicated to the team. Everyone from CEO to interns understand where the company is going and how they are to help.

Culture

Employees spend more time at work than they do with their families. People need to genuinely believe the company is working on things that matter, feel challenged and appreciated and enjoy the people they work with.

Execution (more…)

To Struggle or Not to Struggle

Posted: February 22, 2015 by Tom Heuer in Culture, Leadership, People

Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for EntrepreneurshipDuring the first week of my entrepreneurial leadership classes at Miami, I introduce a definition of leadership – “Leadership is the art of convincing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations” (Kouzes and Posner).   My first question to the students always is “which words or phrases really pop out at you.”   Their response is almost always “struggle.” Why? From their perspective, a leader is a positive person and struggle is a very negative term. And so, this begins an interesting but intense discussion around the merits of “struggle” in one’s life.   Usually, I win the discussion because ultimately I refer to such admired leaders as Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln and point to how their struggles shaped their legacies.

Refer again to the “leadership” definition. Often glossed over in the definition are the two words preceding to struggle – to want. Leaders convince employees, peers, vendors, partners, etc. to want to struggle with them. Just envision the difference in the result when people want to struggle. The project or the work is completed with a sense of urgency moved by passion and desire for the outcome. Entrepreneurs generally know how to create this environment because their employees see them struggle every day to experience breakthrough in their business. Their daily example encourages the people to want to struggle for the start-up’s successful launch.

Conversely, corporations today have difficulty moving their employees to struggle for the enterprise. A 2013 Gallup poll found that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. This means that only one in eight workers is committed to struggling in their job and for the enterprise. Why? Corporations have very few leaders to model the way. Without the leader igniting shared aspirations, employees will become frustrated and disillusioned in their work. The lack of effort shows up in their mediocre performance. They have no desire to struggle or deliver discretionary effort in their job and for their company. This will not be disrupted until bosses become leaders and motivate their people to extraordinary performance.

So, how can leaders gain a commitment from their employees and ultimately, develop an edge against their competition? Consider the following actions:

  • Learn how to inspire shared aspirations. Even, your top performers need to know what they are struggling for. If you fail to clarify the vision, your people will exit the boat and you will be left paddling by yourself. Find a way to get your team on the raft with their oars in the water.

 

  • Breakdown your organization into smaller, entrepreneurial units. Model the behaviors you expect so the business will excel. Work alongside your team. Encourage ideas from your people. And, of course, do something with the ideas.

 

  • Spend time watching other leaders work their magic. Focus on how they engage their people. Listen to how they communicate with them. Watch how they listen intently to what they are saying and provide a related response. View how they encourage them and reinforce their efforts. See how they treat their people with dignity and respect. And then sit back and watch how the team gladly struggles for shared aspirations.

 

Just be a LEADER and your people will want to struggle along with you.