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Top-Shelf Tip No. 144:

"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already."

John Buchan

Leadership Lessons Learned Over A Lifetime, Part 1

Frank was ex-Special Forces with a fine arts degree—an unusual mix. He achieved a lot in his business career by following five simple principles that he was able to apply to any business. Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares how you can apply these same principles to your organization.

Principle 1: Define Your Role
Too often, business owners do not have clarity on the difference between management issues and ownership issues. Management issues are things like dealing with the daily HR concerns, accounting and administration, and the sales process. They are seemingly urgent matters that must be dealt with in a timely fashion. The person overseeing these functions can be the business owner or an appointed manager.

Ownership issues are the things that only the business owner can handle, such as dealing with shareholders and banking partners, and setting the long-term strategy for the organization.

Frank’s approach was simple: Have a clear split between ownership of the business and management of the business, and find the most talented people to run day-to-day operations. This sometimes means that the owner needs to step aside from management and make way for a better-qualified leader. A good example of this would be the way Bill Ford stepped aside as CEO of Ford Motor Company to allow Alan Mulally to take on the role back in 2006. The result was one of the most successful business turnarounds in U.S. corporate history, as Mulally took Ford from near bankruptcy to record profits in 2013.

Concentrate on areas where you have talent, and do what you are passionate about. Let others take care of the things that conform to their strengths and at which you are not so good. Everyone will benefit.

Principle 2: Create A Compelling Vision
One of the most effective ways to harness the potential of an organization is to get everyone pulling in the same direction. However, without a compelling vision this can be difficult to achieve.

Frank realized that vision is a crucial component in getting employees to understand the direction the company is trying to go and encourage them to generate meaningful suggestions as to how to get there. It doesn’t matter if your vision revolves around customer service excellence or creating innovative products, as long as it is both inspiring and challenging.

Frank did not believe in having a vision just to check that box and display it on a plaque behind the reception desk. Rather, it was an important part of the overall company strategy.

Put some time aside to work on your business rather than in your business by developing a vision that enables you to grow your business and achieve your life goals. Don’t make the excuse that you are too busy to spend this time crafting a quality vision—it will be the best investment of time you ever make.

Read PCT tomorrow to learn the rest of Frank’s leadership principles.

Source: Richard J. Bryan is an international speaker, executive coach and author of the forthcoming book, Being Frank: Real Life Lessons to Grow Your Business and Yourself. Through his experiences as a fourth-generation CEO in a family-owned business, Bryan gained a wealth of knowledge and developed into a true leader. By applying his creative strategies, he helps businesses hire the right people, forge dynamic teams and increase their profits.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson


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