The Anatomy of Leadership ~ 3

Anatomy3I began this series by stating that every leader is made up of three major parts: The Good, The Bad, The Crazy. I’ve addressed the first two. Now, welcome to The Crazy.

The crazy is the complicated aspects of the leader’s life. It’s those elements that have deep, complex roots that can’t be easily explained or taken at face value – the crazy defies logic.

Usually, these are inward struggles due to different life experiences or the leader’s background. For most leaders, this is the toughest part of their existence. It’s simply complicated.

Leaders avoid talking about these areas of their lives because they grapple with its complexities – sometimes for many years – and lack the articulation required to share it with the public. It’s private and typically not shared.

However, it comes out in symptoms and often shocking behavioral patterns that make people wonder. It’s one reason why a massively successful person would suddenly commit suicide for “no apparent reason” – with no explanation. The crazy does exist and it’s part of leadership.

If that’s the case, what does leadership effectiveness mean in the context of this anatomy? Part four explains it.

Why African Entrepreneurs Must Get It Right

WhyAfricaEntrepreneurship is a hot topic globally – and Africa is part of the action. That’s why the 6th Global Economic Summit (GES) in Kenya has the U.S. President, Barack Obama, involved. That said. What’s the role of the average African entrepreneur in all these?

One role is to: do good business that builds the community.

On the policy level, we expect key positive changes in the business environment due to the GES. But ultimately, the entrepreneur has to have the skill, scope and attitude required to maximize the benefits of policy.

In Africa, entrepreneurship has to go beyond money making because for Africans, the stakes are high. Now, doing business is about development, building prosperous communities and actually moving the continent forward!

The entrepreneur must realize that Africa’s socio-political and economic advancement depends on her business activities.

For too long, poverty, disease and wars have defined the African landscape – but that is changing. Young entrepreneurs in Africa must recognize this rare opportunity to rewrite the continent’s history and take full advantage of it.

In Africa, business is a development tool – and considering our history, we have to do it differently.

Fail, Learn, Do Better

29iht-melikian29-pica-articlelargeNow, blogs, books and other media reveal that the idea of failure has been embraced by entrepreneurs. In fact, some investors won’t consider your idea if you’ve not failed at something. Failure is now a badge of honor that entrepreneurs proudly display.

But what’s the point?

Has failing suddenly become fun? Do you have to fail in order to succeed? Does failure serve any real purpose? Really, what’s the point?

I’ll tell you right now (for free): failure is no fun. As an entrepreneur, I hate to fail; it’s never the goal. Winning is the preferred option – always! However, the new attitude towards failure helps the entrepreneur and this is why.

Failure is now a tool for learning. These days, little time is spent crying over spilt milk. When failure occurs, effective entrepreneurs switch to exploration (or study) mode. Yes, they feel bad, but learning begins almost immediately.

The entrepreneur engages the learning process with one purpose in mind: TO DO BETTER. Failure has no other use.

The proof that you’ve learned from your failure is better performance. Until then, you’re yet to figure out why you failed – and in that case, keep learning.

Say it: “I Was Wrong”

contemporary-artworkIn certain communities, getting older means that you’re supposed to know ‘everything’- it’s an unwritten rule, a common notion.

It’s worse if you’re an elder or a leader, folks get shocked if you show that you don’t know – you’re expected to know. It’s shameful not to know.

Sadly, the ‘know-all’ attitude doesn’t work well with people today. Folks are smarter, more sophisticated and exposed than you think – and can easily call you out on your bullshit. It’s hard to manipulate people these days; they see right through your act.

Hence, if for some reason you were wrong, made a poor judgment, messed up or missed it in anyway, your best bet would be to own up and admit you were out of line.

As a CEO, it’s now harder to lord it over your management team. In the 21st century, effective leadership entails that you get comfortable with admitting your mistakes and then seeking ways to make amends.

You don’t know it all – not even with Google at your disposal. On that note, you’ll make mistakes; we all know that you will – and that’s OK!

Do I Follow My Dreams Or Keep My Real Job?

Van-Gogh-Paintings-10Or: Are you living in fear?

That’s the real question.

Fear is a dominant factor in the life of many adults and its power to regulate decisions and actions is profound.

I’m not entirely for the ‘just-do-it’ school of thought because sometimes you have to scheme your way out of certain limitations in order to step into your dream. Neither am I for over-planning; there are times you just have to jump in. Rather, my concern is this: is fear keeping you where you are?

Fear can make you quit a great job and pursue your dream at the wrong time. Also, it can make you stay too long on your job and miss the right timing for your goals.

So for now, you probably need a job – stay the course and do great work. Or, it’s time to follow your dream – then make the moves. But don’t stay anywhere due to fear and if you are, start plotting your way out.

Fear is blinding, but once you assess and confront it, you’ll start to see exactly what you’re supposed to do.

Value The Process, Enjoy The Journey

Blue-Abstract-painting-by-Simon-Brushfield1Life is rooted in processes. Every aspect is intended to go through stages. We start as babies, then grow and evolve.

Likewise, our ideas are subject to processes. You think it, and then you’re thrown into a tunnel of mixed rationales. You plan, meet people, seek resources, start, almost fail, fail, start again, barely succeed, eventually succeed, start again…get a new idea… and every step is designed to grow an aspect of your mind.

While going through the motion, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get fixated on the struggles and pain of birthing an idea and that’s not the point.

This is:

The process of an idea is designed to make you better – someone who increases in quality – in an area. Folks who understand this embrace the process because the reward is worth the pain.

The successful is frequently asked for the secrets to success. That’s easy: process! The ups, downs, small and medium wins, setbacks, fights, big wins, joys, sorrows…the unique cocktail that life gives each one.

Richard Branson’s process is the real secret to his success. Oprah Winfrey, President Barrack Obama, Anthony Robbins, Warren Buffet…YOU! Everyone is made by process.

The Cultural Pushback To Progressive Thinking

CulturalPushbackThe conflict between the status quo and the new is an old war. Despite the innovation hype in the media and corporate corridors, sameness seems to have a strong grip. History proves that society moves forward reluctantly.

Why?

The reasons abound.

Usually, the old feels threatened by the new – hence, a fight. This is also the reality of ideas. It is important for the entrepreneur to acknowledge and understand the gravity of the conflict.

Often, entrepreneurs take this fact for granted until they suddenly find themselves in an unplanned war. These ideologues expect their ideas to be warmly accepted, forgetting the mind’s tendency to stick with the coziness of the familiar.

To birth an idea: be ready for a fight! The establishment is unlikely to be as welcoming as you think. If for some reason, you enjoy a smooth sail, that’s the exception – not the rule.

The new is untested – that’s one reason society will fight it. In fairness, reasonable people hardly give up what works for the promise of what will work. And why should they? Now, that’s for the entrepreneur to successfully explain. That’s the real fight.