If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path towards leadership that works for you. If you find yourself wondering how to become a leader in business, follow these steps:
1. Focus on solutions, not problems
2. Collaborate with your team
3. Be a culture champion
4. Care about the success of others–REALLY care!
Finally, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. In your business, what are your wildest dreams? What’s your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.
Watch the video to hear more about the four steps towards becoming a business leader, and leave me a comment on what YOU think makes a leader.
WHO: When you were growing up, did you have an adult (teacher, coach, mentor, NOT immediate family) who significantly influenced your life? Then, we at the BNI Foundation want to hear from YOU!
WHY: We want you to share your story with us so we can share it with the world so people will see and hear the huge impact that adults can have on kids!
WHAT: So, tell us in a 1 minute or less video, about the person who inspired you, possibly even changed the trajectory of your life when you were between age 6 and graduating from high school. We especially welcome stories in which a small gesture or action made a big difference, showing how easy it can be to help our youth, without always spending a ton of time over many years. It does NOT need to be professionally filmed or edited. Just grab your phone and press record.
A strategic alliance is an arrangement between two companies that have decided to share resources to undertake a specific, mutually beneficial project. With strategic alliances, each member will contribute to your success. No one person is likely to turn your business around, but together, over a long time, they can make a difference. By having a series of small actions over time, you can gradually enhance your relationships and really yield big results
Don’t give up if there’s no immediate payoff. The key is to stay in touch. The best strategic alliances stay connected several times over the year. Plus, you meet in person on several occasions. During that time, you discuss some really simple ways that you can help each other. Therefore, you gradually enhance the relationship.
Successful networking is a series of small actions. Most people who are successful at networking and creating strong strategic alliances view the process as a series of small actions taken with many people to create long-term positive growth for your company. It’s not a get rich scheme. By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build your business. Don’t just write somebody off if they can’t add something or contribute something to your business immediately.
If you are a member of a networking group, look at the members of the group. Each of them will contribute to your success and they layer a little bit of success on top of each other for you. Each one is a little layer of success for you. No one person in your chapter is likely to turn your business around, but together over a long period of time; they can make a dramatic difference.
In conclusion, I highly recommend that you form strategic alliances with others. By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build an incredibly solid foundation for successful business.
What is the least important characteristic for a great networker?
The answer might surprise you.
In this video, I share the five least important skills for networking according to a survey of 3400 business people. Knowing what not to do can be as important as knowing what to do. Furthermore, it is also clear from these results that great networkers and great salespeople have different skill sets.
In conclusion, many people think you need to be an extrovert to be a good networker, but that’s not what the survey says. Here are five least important skills for networking.
Teaching is a leaky bucket process. You start with a whole bucket of information. When you train someone how to do something, a little information leaks out. When they train someone else and that information is taught to someone else, some of that information leaks out. The people being taught only get that limited version of the information based on their understanding and ability to articulate the material.
By the time you are in the third or fourth generation of people passing along the information, you only have about half a bucket remaining and you’ve lost half the information. There’s a sense that something’s missing. What do they do? When the bucket of information gets low, people start putting in their own content in. The problem is that it might not be good content. Very rarely does the material improve over time with this process.
So how do we plug these leaks?
I learned early on the best solution is to write everything down and to develop “train the trainer” material so there was consistency in the system and the training needs to be conducted in a way that is scalable. When teaching, your “whole bucket” needs to be written down and all the parties who conduct the training need to follow the process without adding or substituting their own stuff. Making the training as part of a replicable system is the best way to fill the leaks. This became even more important as we spread BNI into various countries and cultures worldwide.
All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. We continue to repeat our patterns, doing the same things that do not work, until we dwell in a feeling of negativity. Many people let their minds wander toward the negative, which then prompts them to focus on more problems instead of searching for ways to resolve the situation and grow from it. You must begin to start focusing on ways to actually resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Do not just react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions.
Identify the problem(s)
Identify what you did before in a similar problem
Brainstorm possible solutions.
Change what doesn’t work
Find and use resources
Decide which solution is best
Put that solution into play
Build on each successive step
Try to do more of what works
Use an alternative solution if not achieving the required results
Regardless of how bad your problem may be, the solution is there if you think long and hard enough. Not every solution will work for this problem. However, when we start to think of more ways to overcome our problems, we can grow from the situation at hand by being more prepared for the next problem we will face down the road. We can even avoid future problems because if we focus on problems, we will get more problems. If we focus on solutions, we will get more solutions. By being aware and reminding yourself of your list of solutions you just created, you can focus on solutions, not problems.
If you bring people into your network who embrace your core value, you will create an amazing network. Incorporating the philosophy of Givers Gain ® into my organization was one of the things that have really set BNI aside from the other networking groups. We have inculcated this core value into the fabric of BNI. Therefore, “Givers Gain ®” became part of the very DNA of the organization. That is incredibly special.
Years ago, I was sharing those words with a well-known business consultant and friend. He was going to be speaking at a big BNI conference the next day. He listened to me and said, “Oh Ivan, you know that’s not true, am I right? You know that the Founder of every organization thinks that some key philosophy is embraced by most everyone in a company. It is really not so” I told him, “No, it really is inculcated into the DNA of the company. Most everyone knows it in BNI. Don’t believe me – confirm it yourself. Ask your audience about it tomorrow.”
So, the next day, during his presentation, he stopped and said “Oh, I have a question for you, what’s the philosophy of this company?” He then heard a resounding, “GIVERS GAIN!”
He was astonished and said to me, “Ivan, do you know how incredible it is that almost everyone in an organization at all levels of that organization understand the company’s guiding core value? Do you?
I understand how amazing that is. Therefore, I do not take it for granted. It is one of the things that make BNI special. “Givers Gain®” is BNI’s principle core value. It is based on the age-old concept of “what goes around comes around.” Furthermore, if I help you, you’ll help me – and we’ll all do better as a result of it.
In conclusion, he owed me dinner that night based on a little wager we had.
It is very important to be prepared to introduce yourself by breaking down your business into your LCD’s (Lowest Common Denominators). Each week, create a business educational curriculum to train your sales force to focus on just ONE aspect of your business.
For example, each week just focus on:
– A service
– A product
– A benefit
When you want to nail a presentation, start by explaining your lowest common denominators, or the most immediate, universal value of your business. Your LCD is your secret weapon.
Click on the graphic below, or click here, to see this video. Learn more about developing this training approach for your weekly presentations.
There were a fair number networking groups around when I started BNI in 1985. However, they were either really mercenary or too social. I knew the only way BNI could stand out as a networking organization is by having a genuine focus on giving first and getting second.
Years ago, a brand new BNI member shared with his local BNI Director that he had just had an epiphany. “You know,” he said, “this whole concept of Givers Gain, and helping other businesses so they help you, it’s a little bit like taking off your bib and putting on an apron. I have lived my professional career trying to find ways to close deals and get what I want in business by having others help me. I think I’ve missed the point. Networking is really about trying to find ways to help other people. You take off that bib and put on an apron, you help others and they will help you.”
When I started BNI, I focused the meetings on building relationships by helping others first and that’s what the philosophy “Givers Gain” is all about. This philosophy is a standard that we should all apply to ourselves and how we behave with other people, not a stick we use to get someone to do something we think they should be doing. If you bring in other people into your network who embrace and employ this core value, you will create an amazing and powerful network. Therefore, take off that bib and put on an apron!
Today the BNI Foundation is supporting the National Education Association’s “Read Across America Day”. Therefore, go find a classroom and volunteer to read a Dr. Seuss story to the students. For example, in this video, I share a story about reading to my kids when they were younger, the Dr. Seuss classic, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street“.
Dr. Seuss’s very first book for children!
Originally published: December 21, 1937
From a mere horse and wagon, young Marco concocts a colorful cast of characters, making Mulberry Street the most interesting location in town. Most noteworthy, Dr. Seuss’s signature rhythmic text, combined with his unmistakable illustrations, will appeal to fans of all ages. Finally, who will cheer when our hero proves that a little imagination can go a very long way. Now over eighty years old, this story is as timeless as ever.