#AnatomyOfLeadership(4): What Leadership Effectiveness Means

Anatomy4As a younger leader, I read many leadership books. They had ideals, standards and clearly stated the qualities that a leader should possess. To be effective, I had to practice a long list. It wore me out – and I found out why.

Those books addressed only the good and left me clueless on what to do with the bad and the crazy. I got relief when I realized that my weaknesses and complexities are vital aspects of my effectiveness.

On that note, I redefined leadership effectiveness. It’s simply the sum total of The Good, The Bad and The Crazy. The formula would look like this:

The Good + The Bad + The Crazy = Leadership Effectiveness

How does this work?

Focus on the three aspects. None is more important than the other. As much as the good, I suggest that you KNOW, OWN and MANAGE your weaknesses and crazies. Pay attention and think through a management system to handle them.

Your faults and crazies may never change, but you can be in charge. And yes, you can be crazy and lead well.

The Anatomy of Leadership ~ 2

Anatomy2The bad is the leader’s weaknesses. These are faults or undeveloped areas in the leader’s life. Weaknesses in leaders vary – from emotional or character flaws to professional incompetence.

For instance, Tiger Woods is a great golfer, but had issues in his personal life. Every leader is flawed in some way.

Many leaders fail because they try to build integrity on their weaknesses. They make promises in these areas oblivious of the depth of their flaws. Here good intentions don’t count. It’s difficult to build integrity in an area in which you’ve not developed.

That said. Does a leader’s weakness make them a bad leader? No. Yes. No because faults are challenges that can be managed or overcome. Yes – when the leader lets their flaws run amok. But overall, weaknesses don’t have to disqualify a leader. It’s the leader’s choice.

Managed or not, weaknesses in the leader may or may not go away. But it’s a vital aspect in trying to understand leadership because the bad comes with the package and affects everyone involved with the leader.

In the next part, I’ll address: The Crazy. Keep reading.

Be Solid!

BeSolid2A few decades ago, marketing was not as broad as it is today. You had a handful of TV, radio and print outlets and a well produced commercial could run at prime time and would reach everyone. Now, there are niche and segment markets, making specialization essential.

In specializing, a business must be very clear on what it can easily deliver or risk the loss of credibility. This principle also applies in leadership. Your offering has to be precise and focused or folks may unfollow you.

You probably are not the best at everything, but what can you deliver effortlessly and consistently? In what ways can people count on you without fear? What aspects of life are you solid in? I see good leaders who look bad because they dabble into areas of weak delivery, make promises and constantly fail people while ignoring their place of strength.

I am a writer. I write every day. I have poured in the hours necessary to develop my gift and I can deliver effortlessly every time without fail. When it comes to writing, I am solid and have credibility.

One Way To Know It’s The Right Time

BeSolidIn life, we’re often faced with the challenge of deciding when the time is right for a particular move; two reasons being that you can execute a great idea at the wrong time and folks want to get it right.

Recently, in the process of making some vital decisions, I discovered an interesting angle to right timing.

When trying to figure out the right time, it’s helpful to access next level capacity. For instance, you may want to buy a brand new car and possibly the right time to buy the car is when you’ve grown in financial capacity to get it. If you don’t have the funds for the next level, maintaining the car may not be fun.

I’m as risk taking as they come. However, I know that certain moves can be foolish risks when we clearly lack the sophistication or what it takes to sustain what we pursue.

To make decisions easier, build capacity in the areas that you seek opportunities. That way, all other factors in place, it becomes perfect timing.

Insist On Your Success!

insist2Richard Linklater’s movie, Boyhood, took 12years to make. That’s a long time by industry standards. He stayed with the process until it was done. Strange, right?

Some dreams take longer to realize than others. What starts out as a simple quest could take months or even years to complete. In this case, what do you do?

You insist.

There are dreams that change with time and growth. That’s OK. Others tug on your soul and never leave. They’re persistent dreams. Those I suggest that you pursue. Don’t let go.

Whenever I speak of persistent dreams, I feel silly because people wonder why they shouldn’t abandon an idea that’s taking a lifetime to accomplish.  Truth is: these special ideas build your consciousness, give an interesting perspective to life and enrich your journey. Such ideas require patience and growth, qualities that set you up for greater heights.

I have a few dreams that I’ve insisted on. They’ve taken long, but the picture gets clearer. I’m closer now and that’s exciting. What I’m enjoying the most about the journey is the person that I’ve become. I love the me that the process has produced.

Do insist.

If Your Boss Is Crazy – It’s OK!

crazybossLeaders can be weird. Who they are often overlaps with what they do. Therein lies the conflict because people are affected by the leader’s person. On this note, it’s easy for people to hate their unpleasant boss.

A leader’s weakness is almost unexpected, especially when they’re highly influential. The days when leaders were believed to be descendants of the gods are over. Now, your boss is a person just like you with added responsibility.

I know leaders who still give the impression that they have no weaknesses. These guys paint an unreal image of who they are, even to their inner circle. This approach is not sustainable; fault lines cannot be hidden forever.

The conventional thinking suggests that leaders should focus on their strengths and not their weaknesses. I beg to differ.

My take: know, own and manage your weaknesses. You may outgrow some, while others may never go away. However, it’s wise to put a weakness management system in place to keep you functional.

Your faults are elements, they don’t define the whole. You can be crazy and still lead well.

Next Level Funding: How To Know The Startup Is Ready For Outside Funding

startingoverIn recent times, venture capitalists (VCs) have become a key feature in the startup landscape. These are the money bags; the guys that startups have to please to get funding. Truth is: they’re only one source of funding; now we have other sources.

What’s interesting is how VCs have become many entrepreneurs’ default source. Some startups hardly consider other seemingly insignificant pools of funding.

There’s nothing wrong with the idea of VCs, however, in my experience, one has to be wise in dealing with them.

One important element in VC interaction is to know when to bring them in. At what point is your business ready for outside funding?

I know it’s exciting to raise millions for your idea, but that’s only the beginning. Many startups have gotten boatloads of VC cash and it still didn’t make a difference because they weren’t really ready. They just thought they were.

So how do you know that you’re ready for outside cash?

  • Strong Leadership

In their book: Now, Build A Great Business, success experts, Brian Tracy and Mark Thompson, said that, “Leadership is the most important requirement for business success”. I totally agree. Strong leadership is an absolute essential!

My consulting practice has proven to me that it doesn’t matter how much money a company has in the bank, I don’t care how awesome their infrastructure is or how smart the workers are – if the leadership is crappy, that boat is sinking, it’s only a matter of time. I’ve seen how it works; it’s not pretty!

That said. Before you seek outside cash, ensure that you have a good leadership culture and structure to support your dream. Or else, more cash would simply mean more trouble – especially when it’s coming from impatient investors who want returns in good time. With poor (weak) leadership, you would literally be digging your own grave.

  • Cross Assumption Threshold

We’ve heard the popular thinking by guys like author of The Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank, that a startup is a faith-based initiative searching for the right business model. Unfortunately, VCs don’t want to be part of this search. They prefer to come in when you’ve found a model that works.

How do you know you’re ready? Find the right business model. Otherwise, your pitch would be an exercise in requesting more gamble money. VCs don’t like that! They want to know that you’ve addressed your unrealistic startup excitement with all (or most of) its untested assumptions.

  • Scaling

The real question is: why do you need outside cash? Are you selling enough to warrant more funds?

I’d rather you ask your favorite uncle or sweet grandma for money than bother with VCs when you’ve not grown the business enough to scale. In other words, is there a feverish demand for your product that you’re now struggling to meet up?

If you don’t have what I call: good trouble – meaning, customers have gone wild on your products and you have to quickly increase your capacity in order to serve them better – then you’re probably not ready.