Prepare for Recovery: Think Like a Leader

As most of you already know, my mission is “transforming business owners into business leaders”. As the economy moves into the next phase of recovery, it will be those who think and function as leaders who will be the winners. Leaders will have identified pertinent opportunities and prepared themselves for advantage as things improve.

Are you thinking like a leader? Let’s see.

1 – A leader accepts responsibility for business results. As a leader it’s your job to recognize and solve problems, make good decisions and take effective action. The more you can systematize the process the easier it will be. But the final outcome, success or failure, is up to you.

2 – A leader is Vision/Mission driven – Do you know what you want for your business? Do you have a clear mission? If not you’re just flapping your sails in the wind. You won’t be going very far very fast. The clearly thought-out vision is the magnet that pulls you forward. And the clearer, the better. You’ll be less likely to get off track, but when you do, the vision will be there to help you get back on track.

Your mission is what you do to achieve your vision. Business leaders have strong missions that take into consideration accomplishing something of value beyond themselves.

3 – A leader is proactive with a Plan – You can be proactive by gathering pertinent information, analyzing it, making decisions and planning a course of action. The plan is the framework or foundation for the actions you’ll be taking. You’ve chosen those actions because you believe they will lead to your goal and, ultimately, to your vision. Plans should always have a timeframe so you’ll be able to determine the success of your actions in reaching your predetermined goals.

4 – A leader knows his strengths and limitations – Many small business owners try to do everything. That’s a mistake and a big waste of time. It’s also the number one cause of feeling overwhelmed. A product developer may not be a good marketer. A strong sales person will probably not be good at administrative details. A leader will delegate those things they are not good at or don’t enjoy. Good delegation, with clearly communicated goals, is key to seeing the results you want.

5 – A leader is willing to take a stand – One of my definitions of a leader is someone who is willing to step out in front of the crowd and present his ideas even when they are different from those of the rest of the group. You say “this is what I believe – and why I believe it”. The act of stepping out calls attention to you. What you say will be remembered and connected with you.

Who takes a stand? These are people who have the courage, commitment and confidence to state their message and stand behind it. The more powerful the message, the more they will attract believers and followers. Used positively, taking a stand is a great way to allow your market to find you. Those who relate to what you say and do will be your followers. Look at people with lots of followers like Jim Cramer (Mad Money), Suze Orman, Oprah. They all have a clear “stand”. And they all have courage, commitment and confidence.

6 – A leader is willing to do the work – A leader must sometimes make sacrifices – it will be hard and sometimes very scary, but the reward is worth it. You’ll spend untold hours of your time to accomplish what you’d like; but you are on a mission. You’re willing to do the work.

7 – A leader is innovative and creative, and adapts to the environment. – Are your old ways still working? If not, wake up to how business is being done today. Your competition is out there optimizing their presence using the most basic business tool today – the Internet. Listen to your customers, your colleagues and your team. Be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Remain flexible and nimble because the rate of change in the business environment will likely continue to accelerate.

We are already 13 years into the 21st century and things have changed a lot since it began. We have instant access to information, contacts and ideas from many locations, environments and cultures. Our job is to make sense of it all and pull from it what will help us forge our place in the new business economy.

Are you thinking like a leader?