Warning: You’re Losing Money by Not Using The Seven Signs of Great Leadership

The CEO of Footlocker, Matt Serra, once said to me, “It’s lonely at the top. Being the leader is a big responsibility.” Over the years, I have thought endlessly about this quote and what it means. Fortunately, in my career, I was provided with examples of what this meant, not just from Matt, but from working with a number of strong leaders. With all of these people, I noticed a set of similar traits. Primarily, they took their responsibility seriously and showed a great custodial awareness of their tasks. They all:

· Made fact-based decisions

· Built great teams

· Made ethics a part of the culture

· Engaged listeners

· Evaluate constantly

· Embraced change

· Inspired

Make fact-based decisions
At the start of each morning, Craig Ryden—the CEO of Yankee Candle—would look at the sales from the previous day in great detail. Inevitably, he would discover something he didn’t understand. He knew there was an answer and would ask each of us why. Sometimes he got opinions and sometimes he got facts. Craig was polite to whomever gave opinions, but became riveted when he got facts. Once he had all the facts, he helped us with the decision necessary to make the required adjustment.
Over time, we all learned facts first, opinions second. From this leadership, we developed a culture of fact-based decision making. As Craig’s CFO and CAO, I always appreciated this leadership style. It made our days easier and our decisions better.

Build great teams
In the early dark days as CFO of Footlocker, we had a struggling company that was deeply in debt. On top of that, we had people in the wrong places and we needed to change quickly. This meant a significant amount of change within the organization. We had to put the right people in the right places quickly. To accomplish this, we created the following profile of the type of employees we needed. They all had to:

· “Get things done”

· Listen to learn

· Develop other people

· Analyze effectively

· Be assertive but warm

We then began promoting or hiring people that fit this profile. Resumes and experiences were important, but these characteristics were key to our success. Over the next year, we promoted or hired well over a hundred people that fit this profile. They weren’t always the best talkers or best dressed, but they just knew how to do their jobs and work within our culture. After two years, we went from being a “financially troubled” company, to being praised for our turn-around efforts. Largely as a result of these “profile” employees.

Making ethics a part of the culture
A critical trait I noticed in great leaders was a consistent set of ethics. Dave Farrell, the long serving CEO of May Department stores, was always very consistent with ethical decision making. His consistency allowed those of us who worked for him to predict his response to most business questions. In turn, it shaped us as an organization. We knew what to expect and we knew how to act. Many years later, when I speak with former executives who worked in Dave’s organization, his culture and sense of fair play is what we remember.

Be an engaged listener
As a young executive and newly appointed CFO, I was fortunate to work for Jim Hageman. Early on, I observed Jim’s motto in meetings: “questions first and decisions second.” Jim had a friendly style and for the majority of the meeting, would sit and listen. When he didn’t understand an issue, he used “probes” to learn more. He coaxed us to explore the issue at hand and develop our own thoughts. Invariably, Jim waited until nearly the end of the meeting to express himself. Sometimes, it would be as simple as, “I think what you decided will create a great outcome.” Sometimes he would be more expansive, but we always knew he listened.

Evaluate constantly
It was always easy for me to spot whose business was running well and whose wasn’t. It lied in the quality of their evaluations of the business. Over time, I noticed those whose business was running well, knew the facts and what to do about it. They were constantly probing the organization to learn more about trends. Any discussion about their business always had an unusual depth of knowledge.

While things didn’t always work out in the short-term the way they hoped, in the long-term they were successful. They could spot momentary trends of weakness and know what to do. They didn’t hide from problems, they solved.

Embrace change
At Yankee Candle, we actually had a position for a “Change Agent.” Though not his actual title, Reggie Thomas was our executive who looked for ways to make our operation better. In effect, he spent his day trying to make us better. While not all his ideas were agreed to, many were. In any given year, Reggie saved our company millions of dollars through new methods and technology.

What was remarkable about Reggie wasn’t what he did, but that he worked in an environment that solicited new ideas. Change is inevitable and companies that actively search for new ideas thrive!

Inspire
Many of us associate inspirational leaders as great speakers. Surely there are many who lead with words. But inspirational leadership goes deeper. They are the ones, “who do what they say and say what they do.” They inspire by their own personal commitment. They lead from the front and not from the back. They don’t abdicate, they embrace their responsibility.

Great leaders make us want to be better by their own actions, not just by well strung together words.

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The Insider’s Guide to Find Your Grinds

Find Your Grind

Make up your mind, take time to decide what is of priority in your life and hunt your goal. Go directly towards what you want with focus. We live in an era full of distractions and if you not careful you will be a busy body rather than a productive individual. Focus is the best ingredient to make you get to your destiny alot quicker than most people. The best strategy to build yourself is to focus on your strengths. If you’re a people person, build around that and show yourself. If you’re a shy person, do things behind the scenes.

Too often, we see other people’s strengths and we want those to be our strengths and we say, “I’m gonna do that. ” No, you can’t build on weakness. You can only build on your strengths. Seek to complete your life then compete with life. Desire to grow than to observe others grow, work your plan. Life is in stages arrived at in levels. “Always remember you can get almost anything you want in life but it always takes a bit longer than you think.” In fact, endure the process to attain thr progress you desire. Life is not about shortcuts it is about process and principles.
You can’t go to the gym for a few weeks and expect to get a six pack, it’s a process it is time taxing and it requires consistency. They say the temptation to give up is greatest right before you’re about to succeed.

Everybody starts at the bottom. In other words you have a blank canvas waiting for you to paint on, make it your quest to seek after your passion and you will find your purpose. I can’t tell you your passion but what I can tell you is to start to act on what you desire for your self is it starting a business then start by doing an entrepreneurship course. You want to be a super model start eating healthy and going to the gym. See, I can’t tell you what your purpose in life is. But I can tell you that you can reach the top by finding your passion and going all in in it.

Remember, everybody’s purpose is unique. Go towards that thing that gives you joy. The worst thing you can do is not to take risk and stay in your comfortzone, so go out their and discover what awaits you.

Did Mark Zuckerburg Win Over Congress ?

Mark Zuckerberg survived Congress. Now what?

That’s the big question now that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have put Facebook under the microscope.

After 10+ hours of testimony, plenty of clueless questions, and multiple promises that Facebook’s team would “follow up” with lawmakers, the public now has a chance to re-examine its fundamental relationship with the social network, and judge whether or not that “breach of trust” Zuckerberg has admitted will lead to fundamental change.

Zuckerberg has promised the company would atone for past sins through audits of former developers and changes in how it handles data. It’s also addressing the accusation that it enabled Russian operatives to manipulate its network in order to sway public opinion by implementing better detection tools and much greater transparency in its advertisers — a clear attempt to get ahead of new regulations, such as the Honest Ads Act, before they hit the social network like a speeding freight train.

More about Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Social Media, Podcast, and Mashtalk

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Social Media Marketing Success !

And, did you hear about Mark Zuckerberg’s personal challenge this year? Previous years’ challenges have included reading lots of books and visiting lots of US states… but this year, he’s setting out to ‘fix Facebook!

Well, to fix many of the major issues plaguing Facebook. I hosted a Facebook Live the other day to discuss What is top of your Facebook fix-it wish list for 2018? Over 13,000 views and 360+ comments. I’d love to see this being the year Facebook finally provides a dramatic improvement in their customer service for SMBs, in particular. This is certainly a common request.

Plus, check out this helpful update on the correct dimensions to use for your Facebook GROUP cover photo.

This Week’s Top 3 Articles

1. We Studied Our Top Social Media Posts of 2017. Here’s What We Learned. via Buffer.com

The start of a new year is a great time to look back on your marketing efforts to see what worked and what didn’t. My friends at Buffer studied the top posts in each of their social media profiles and their most shared blog posts. Their detailed analysis is super helpful!

2. Video Marketing Trends for 2018 via ThreeMotion.co.uk

Video marketing is here to stay and it’s clear that in 2018 it will continue to be an essential part of marketing plans for businesses of all sizes. What can we expect, and plan for, in the coming year? More live video, 360 degree video, and square video to name a few.

3. How to Launch a Sequential Facebook Advertising Campaign via TopDogSocialMedia.com

A specific audience, a tailored message, and a good story all come together in a successful sequential ad campaign. Sequential ads work better than simple sales messages because they entice your target to find out more — eventually leading, rather than pushing them to the desired outcome.

That’s a wrap for this week’s issue of The Social Scoop. I sure hope your 2018 is off to a fabulous start!! Wowee, mine sure is — it’s been a whirlwind, actually. I feel like I packed in an entire month’s worth of work in the first four business days of the year last week. LOL! Phew.

Get Results With Facebook Video… FAST!

My newest online Facebook training program is under way — and there’s still time to quickly catch up! Here’s a quick peek at the first three Modules:

MODULE #1 – GETTING STARTED…FAST!

MODULE #2 – THE BEST VIDEO APPS & TOOLS TO USE

MODULE #3 – REFINING YOUR CUSTOMER AVATARS

Want to learn how to increase your reach, results and revenue on Facebook? There’s still time to join my FAST Facebook Results program! Most businesses struggle to optimize and monetize video. My new program is designed to help you quickly grow your reach, results and revenue using video on Facebook. Find out more here…

Free Resource: VIDEO GEAR LIST

P.S. Did you download my VIDEO GEAR LIST yet? I designed this fabulous free resource to help you get started with professional equipment for quality Facebook Live video broadcasts! You’ll find 3 important sections: Lighting, Microphones and Cameras. I know you’ll find it super valuable.

Download the Video Gear List here + find out more about my brand new FAST Facebook Results Program!

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How To Use Social Media To Reach Your Niche !

How To Use Social Media To Reach Your Target Audience And Generate Better Leads

In years past, marketers would create a mailing list, make telephone calls, or run a print advertising campaign to attract potential clients. But the digital age has completely changed all that. Now, marketers have to make a concerted effort to connect with consumers on the platforms they use most. Thanks to our reliance on the internet, your marketing budget will be better spent on SEO, digital ads, and — perhaps most intriguing of all — social media.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube might seem trivial or even overwhelming to some marketers, but they can help you reach audiences you never thought possible. In fact, Forbes estimates that up to two-thirds of the world’s top sales experts consider social media an important tool for sales and lead generation. And HubSpot found that 84% of marketers say devoting as little as six hours per week to social media activities was enough to increase their website traffic.

These platforms are highly visual and interactive in nature, which makes them much more appealing to consumers. While 90% of top decision-makers say they never respond to cold calls, 76% of buyers say they’re ready and willing to have a conversation with a brand on social media. An engaging instagram post with comments from the company itself feels a lot more personal than a phone call from a telemarketer, that’s for sure. But if you don’t know where to start with social media marketing, you might want to try out the following tips:

Use Geotargeting For Lead Generation: If your business has a physical brick-and-mortar location (or you’re trying to appeal to customers within a certain radius), you’ll want toembrace geotargeting. Not only should your SEO and advertising be geotargeted, but you can even use it for what’s known as “social searching.” A geotargeted social search can find posts that are a good match for your company’s products and services. Then, you can reach out to these individuals or businesses and provide them with additional information or special offers. You can easily conduct a social search on Twitter or Hootsuite, or you can monitor hashtags on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Place Social Media Ads: While you shouldn’t sponsor every single post you make, social media advertising can allow you to really zero in on the customers you want to reach with much more accuracy. Audiences typically respond more to relevant posts, meaning that they’ll be more likely to check out your website and buy your products or services if they feel it’s pertinent to their interests. Facebook and Instagram ads allow marketers to collect leads within the platform itself; by allowing customers to engage with your business without ever leaving their social network of choice, you’ll be more likely to get the information you’re after. The more aesthetically pleasing and interactive your ad is, the better response you’ll get. Just make sure you follow the platform’s guidelines when creating and submitting your ad.

Host A Live Stream: If your business has something exciting to announce or simply wants to connect on a more personal level with potential customers, a live stream can be a great way to go. Just make sure that the video is high-quality and that you take steps to prevent technical difficulties from derailing your plans. Otherwise, viewers might not tune in again. Be sure to mention any contests or special offers you’re running and answer any questions in real time. Don’t forget to include your other social media channels and link to your website to ensure this tactic will translate into viable leads.

Ultimately, the platforms you use for social media marketing should line up with your brand and ideal audience. For example, if you want to target millennial buyers, Snapchat or Instagram will likely make more of an impact than LinkedIn. And remember: it’s not enough to simply post an image and a hashtag or two. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to be creative with your content and how you market it. Don’t pass up the opportunity to engage in meaningful ways and find those hard-to-reach leads through these popular platforms.

If You Want Customers to Be Passionate About Your Brand, Follow These 10 Commandments

Every brand desires to be loved by consumers, because they know that brand love translates to growth and increased revenue. But excitement and enthusiasm for brands doesn’t happen by chance. Why do people love Harley-Davidson? Why is there such an attachment to Tesla? Why will women pay premium prices for Lululemon? Because each has built its brand from the outside in — by identifying what their customers want, combined with what the brand value proposition is and delivering upon it — to truly become a “passion brand.”

Related: To Keep Customers Loyal Trust That They Can Handle the Truth

The following 10 Commandments can help any company, whether a startup or heritage brand looking to redefine itself, make that leap to become beloved:

1. Understand who you are and who you aren’t.

When working hard to become a passion brand, it’s important that the company understands the value it brings to the consumer. Brands need to ask themselves why they are relevant to their target audience. It’s more than just talking about features and benefits; it’s about enabling the consumer to become emotionally attached so the brand becomes part of their lifestyle. Conversely, avoid being something you’re not. If you’re an indulgent food brand, don’t try to position yourself as healthy. Instead, create a backstory around the fun experience of consuming the product. Consumers recognize when brands are trying to mislead them.

2. Clearly define your target consumer — don’t try to be all things to all people.

Conduct a deep dive into what your product or service offers and who benefits the most from it. Rather than rationalize why every consumer would love your brand, challenge yourself to ask who truly lives a better life because of it — this drives emotion. That’s who your target audience is. Focus on your bull’s-eye with all your energy, support and marketing.

Related: How Do You Get Your Customers to Advocate for You?

3. Build an ownable narrative.

The most difficult, yet most valuable, part of creating a passion brand is building a narrative that is reflective of the brand but also completely relevant to the end user. Shazi Visram, CEO of Happy Family, not only wanted to convey her knowledge of the natural baby food space and be positioned as an expert, she also wanted to be positioned as a mompreneur and eventually have her company acquired. All of this happened.

The lesson here is that you need to take inventory of all the assets you have to work with to build that narrative. Do you have a founders’ story? Are you creating a new category? Does your product have unique ingredients? Every brand is different; therefore, how you build and, more important, tell your story will make all the difference in the world.

4. Talk with your consumer, not at them.

Today, consumers are smart, informed, opinionated and willing to share their thoughts with the world. It’s imperative that passion brands embrace the power today’s consumer wields by being open and honest in everything they do. When something goes wrong — a product recall, for example — be direct about what happened, why it happened and how it will be averted in the future. This transparency will build trust and a connection to the brand from target consumers.

Related: 3 Tips to Turn Your Brand Into a Religion

5. Be disciplined and focused.

When you are a small, growing brand or one that’s looking to reinvent itself, you must be smart about every decision. Wrong decisions can not only derail plans but also distract you from your overall objectives. Be sure to clearly define what you are trying to accomplish, what it will take to get there and what resources will be dedicated to ensure it happens. When time, budget and energy are limited, you can’t afford to be undisciplined.

6. Create a “reason to believe.”

Love for a brand typically grows from a small group of extremely passionate consumers who truly believe in its mission, the quality of its product(s) and the way the brand communicates. For example, Method wanted to reinvent the hand soap category by creating a cleaner, greener and more vertically integrated offering, which it did to create an amazing passion brand. Thus, it is inherent upon any company desiring to be perceived as a passion brand to create a “reason to believe” — a passion point that consumers can rally around. If you don’t form a reason to believe, then you become a commodity, which all brands should fear.

Related: 6 Steps for Converting Loyal Customers Into Enthused Brand Ambassadors

7. Ensure your leaders are likable, believable and accessible.

Senior management must build trust and confidence in all constituencies, including employees, customers, buyers, retailers and any other stakeholder. For example, when our client Justin Gold, CEO of Justin’s nut butter, speaks about his brand, the natural food category or anything related to organics, he conveys authenticity, credibility and honesty. To some leaders, this comes somewhat naturally; others have to work at it. Either way, the importance of approachability shouldn’t be ignored. When uncertainty in leadership exists, it trickles down to the marketplace in both direct and indirect ways.

8. Be consistent in all communication.

Passion brands are consistent in everything they do. Their PR efforts are linked to their social strategy, which is aligned with their creative campaign and supported by an overarching brand narrative. This type of 360-degree communication ensures that the consumer will receive the same messages regardless of which touch point they enter. Continuity is extremely important when you’re trying to win over the consumer and establish a passion brand.

Related: 5 Ways to Grow and Build Trust

9. Find a North Star.

Passion brands are constantly moving forward through innovation, technology, data or anything else that allows them to look at the bigger picture so they don’t lose their focus — this is their North Star. They desire to be the best in all they do, which means they never compromise who they are or what they do.

10. Stand for something beyond profits.

Most passion brands believe in a greater good. They are driven by things that go beyond being profitable. It could be the community, underserved markets or countries, or humankind in a broader sense. This noble gesture typically yields greater trust from consumers. For example, passion brand Patagonia fights to reduce greenhouse emissions, while Vita Coco is committed to re-invigorating coconut farming communities.

As consumers are challenged to find their “passion” in order to live a fulfilled life, so too should brands aspiring to maximize their relationship with target audiences. When companies are driven to fully connect with consumers on an emotional level, they have the potential to become a true passion brand.

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5 Tips To Negotiate As A Pro !

Négociation, Negotiatio, Negotiari; Negotiation is to think over information in order to assimilate it, and perhaps accept it as valid. Simply put a process of achieving an understanding through discussion. An adept negotiator, the one who negotiates as a diplomat, moderator or any one one willing to attempt uses practical abilities to reach a deal without aggression; hence successfully reaching an agreement acceptable to both parties must be your purpose.

Here are 5 Secrets For Negotiating Successfully

1. Make Your Case

Before entering into battle field or a chess game you must possess a strategy, even so in negotiation, arm yourself with what I call solid facts. Get the right factual information that is relevant to the subject of negotiation and fomulate a series of tough questions which you attempt to address for yourself. Remember those who can answer the Why are above those who know the What and the How.

2. Make A Decision

Define and decide what you want to achieve before you begin, that solidifies your focus.
Great negotiators know what they don’t want before entering into a discussion. Most, if not all successful negotiators say that they have a “walk” point. If you are not willing to walk away, then you’re potentially set for doom, a bad deal. Decide and prioritize in advance what is important and what you’re willing to concede. Some say never, ever concede beyond your “walk-away” point. Losing a bad deal is always better than making one.

3. Mark For The “Win-Win” Scenario

Successful negotiators see a negotiation as an opportunity for both sides to win. Author Jeff Weiss refers to this as “negotiating to interests.” Seeking crative solutions to fill the gap is a way to create a “win-win” scenario, its a game so be wise with your terms.

4. Master The Art Of Fairness

Most times, a negotiation cracks down because one party feels that the other wasn’t treating them fairly, avoid bullying, intimidation or for your emotions to clutter your rational, just be firm. Maintain your integrity and reputation don’t put your guard down, be respectful, and treat the other people at the table the way you want to be treated. This gives you credibility and more negotiation opportunities because you have mastered the art of fairness.

5. Map Out Your Negotiation

As a negotiator, you may have a master plan and strategy but as a negotiator aim for an agreement otherwise it’s insignificant. This can often occur if the other side just can’t come up with a decision. The inability to decide on a course of action, can manifest from many places, but as a negotiator, you should be well prepared for it. Make the decision part of the negotiation, lay out your cards right and do it early in the process. Set a deadline, converse the criteria, lay out the challenges that might arise in delaying the final agreement to be approved and implemented.

TRANSFORMER

Nothing is motionless either you promote growth or everything gradually minifies.
Desire transformation and you will grow, decide to stop developing yourself, and you’ll diminish. The key is in your custom, more than anything, that determine which one of these scenarios will become true in your life.
Make the conscious choice today to grow, in all spheres of life, and you’ll reach levels you
couldn’t even imagined before, remember it begins in stages and arrived at in levels.

Read something inspirational every day. It feeds your mind with new ideas.
Learn something new every day. It keeps you moving ahead.
Exposure every year, go somewhere you haven’t been before. It will open your eyes.

These tips would help broaden your world view, so put the law of recognition in play because all you need is around or close to you.
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”Desire to take the first step that’s all you need to reach your goal. Demand integrity from yourself, live with intensity go out there as a winner not a wimp. Successful people surrounds themselves with over – achievers and have little time for those that don’t create opportunities.

STOP SCRAPPING WITH THE TURKEYS, YOU AN EAGLE YOU MEANT TO FLY.
Personally I had to hunt certain goals and see them through, life is about decisions and choices and the quality of information you receive and apply shapes you.

SOFT SKILLS THE BIG DEAL

Imagine you not able to relate well with your team mates at college, struggling to network with others or pitching your great idea to potential investors because of a poor human connection or the fear of the unknown. Some of the most important professional skills are simply neglected or not taught in a classroom or tested to see the impact they have in a workplace for workers and employers alike. In our day to day life we demanded to perfom at our level best in our various endeavours hence these are a neccessity and they are call “Soft skills”.

What Are Soft Skills ?

Soft skills is a synonym for “people skills.” Unlike hard skills, which have measureable evidence, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify, yet equally important. The term describes personal characteristics, a high level of emotional intelligence. Unlike hard skills, which describe a person’s technical skill set and ability to perform specific tasks.

Why Soft Skills ?

Soft skills work and they serve as a useful tool in every domain and they help facilitate human connections. I quote: “Soft skills” are key to building relationships, gaining visibility, and creating more opportunities for advancement,” says Kathy Robinson, founder of Boston career-coaching firm TurningPoint.

Hey, you can be gifted, educated, talented or a guru at what you do, but if your soft skills aren’t on point, you’re limiting your chances of success in your career and all. The solution to this dilemma often begins with a shift in your culture, values, and how you articulate those values, so as to create a foundation on which to build skills. Training programs also help promote the importance of soft skills and a mandate of action thus; by daily reinforcment of positive soft skills habits.

3 Examples Of Soft Skills In Conclusion

1. Communication – skills boost your performance and markets how people perceive you.
One way to master the art of communication and your presentation skills is to join institutions like Toastmasters it offers public speaking workshops and other relevant seminars.

2. Team Player – Inorder to win you need others to win. Success is the result of many people working toward a common goal. I quote: To generate goodwill, lend a hand when you see a co-worker in need. (“Hey, I know you have a ton on your plate. How can I help?”) Another way to build rapport is to cover for a colleague while she’s on vacation, says business etiquette and career coach Karen Litzinger.

3. Problem Solving – What do you do when something goes wrong, do you complain or take action. Focus on solutions and seek to make the situation better but think it through before sharing your ideal solution.

All the best

Kuda Dube | E-book Author