Communication

Entrepreneurs Cant be Lone Wolves and be Successful

Entrepreneurial Lone Wolves Can’t Be Successful

Entrepreneurs can’t do it alone. From start-up, the entrepreneur has many roles and will not have the skill set for all of them. Building the right team around them is critical to building a successful business.

Sir Richard Branson makes the following observation:
People tend to think of entrepreneurs as lone heroes, but this isn’t how it works in real life. Many live up to their reputation as risk-takers and some remain outsiders, but despite this outlier status, entrepreneurs need support to be successful. In fact, were a lot like Formula 1 race-car drivers: The person in the cockpit gets all the glory since fans tend to forget about the pit crew and the behind-the-scenes effort it takes to keep the driver on the track. Business is no different; an entrepreneur does not succeed alone.

Behaviorally smart entrepreneurs, who know their limitations, are more likely to have conversations about the skills they lack and reach out to others to fill the gaps.

Those individuals who have completed the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process and read our significant research into Mastering your Entrepreneurial Style understand their genetics as outlined below:

1. Resilience (Measured by the Fast-Paced trait) – they achieve results, manage setbacks and rationally take quick action.
2. Risk Taker (Measured by the Risk trait) – confidently take risks and tolerant of losses.
3. Creativity (Measured by the Creative trait) – innovative with ideas and seeks to differentiate.
4. Work Ethic and Focus (Measured by the Pioneering trait) – pursues goals and is often ambitious and competitive.
5. Charisma (Measured by the Outgoing trait) – outgoing, connects with a lot of people and influences people to follow them.

 

Key TraitsSource: DNA Behavior International

More importantly, they will have a deeper insight into their entrepreneurial genes and feel empowered, through this knowledge, to bring others on board to take up some of the heavy-lifting.

As the business grows, entrepreneurs tend to feel besieged by the day to day workload. The appointment of someone, we will refer to as an Integrator, is a key first hire. Integrators should have the experience, skills, and temperament to manage the day to day business operations and understand how the entrepreneur ticks. This will ensure the business has a strong foundation. Further, it releases the entrepreneur to focus on building the business and using their entrepreneurial talents to do so.

Generally speaking, the talents are:

  • Big picture thinking
  • Creatively solve problems
  • Sees opportunities to go to market
  • Manage the pressure and risk
  • Has little patience for the day to day minutia

When the Entrepreneur and the Integrator have insight into their own and each other’s personalities, their communication style, and their decision-making approach, they understand where and when they need to modify their behavior to be a successful team.

Here are a few keys to building the Entrepreneur/Integrator relationship:

  1. Mutual respect
  2. Both passionate and driven to build the business
  3. Communicate directly
  4. Clear on boundaries
  5. Open to learning from each other
  6. Trust built on transparency and openness

Understanding each other’s strengths and limitations ensures the gaps’ are filled, and the business can move forward.

When an entrepreneur has no insight into their personality, hitting a no man’s land,’ such as dealing with day to day issues, managing 10-30 people and still trying to envision the business, they need to understand that failure is a very real possibility.

If there is no Integrator introduced, the next phase, when the business is getting off the ground and showing signs of success, will stall because:

  • It hasn’t the people to grow sales
  • It hasn’t got the innovation to keep growing.
  • It hasn’t the problem-solving capabilities

Once success is on the horizon, 30 employees can quickly become 50, 100, 500. This stage, moving into a sales organization, requiring sales systems and customer relationship management systems/processes, is where many entrepreneurs struggle. Such a level of hands-on day-to-day minutia (their interpretation) to grow can frustrate them.

This is where an Integrator and Entrepreneur working well together can take a vision to market.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

 

 

2017 in Review (#104)

Sometimes, what we need is a reminder of what we already know rather than learning something new.

Because many of you (myself included) are on vacation this week, I thought that, instead of writing a new post, I would highlight the top Friday Forwards of 2017 and give a quick summary of each.

The Human Element: In many ways, our focus on technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is causing us to lose our ability to effectively communicate with and relate to each other as humans. It doesn’t always feel like progress.

18 Summers: This post affected a lot of parents. Many wrote to tell me that it inspired them to make similar plans with their family.

BS of Busy: Saying we are busy has become a cultural crutch. Being busy doesn’t make us happier or more productive.

Bad Week: The story of how Dr. Mary-Claire King was able to push forward during the worst week of her life, leading to a medical breakthrough that has saved millions of women’ lives.

Freedom to Fail: Important lessons from a soccer coach on how we all need to have room to fail, learn from our mistakes and grow.

Beautiful Day: This is the story of a man who created a wonderful legacy for his family.

Tri-It: Reflections and lessons learned from running my first Olympic Triathlon, including why you should practice on stage.

RV Reflections Part 1 and Part 29 lessons learned about life and business from a 10-day RV trip with my family though Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

Burning Bridges: Why it’s never a good idea to burn a bridge, even when you need to walk away from a relationship.

Carpe The Diem: The improbable story of how my son and I ended up together at the greatest Super Bowl in history after I decided not to be a hypocrite and take a chance.

Quote of the Week

“Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.”

Napoleon Hill

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72

Today I’m Going to be an Entrepreneur!

 

DNA blog

Yes, there are times individuals wake up with an amazing idea and are convinced they are the next Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. They persuade themselves that they are an entrepreneur. They may even attract investment for their idea. The market might be excited by this new offering BUT the truth is that most entrepreneurs fail to get their businesses off the ground. Even if they do, building and sustaining a successful business is rare.

The 2015 US Census Bureau reports that 400,000 new businesses are started every year in the USA but that 470,000 are dying, a worrying statistic.

John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO of 20 years, says this – More than one-third of businesses today will not survive the next 10 years. Shikhar Ghos, in his recent Harvard University study, claimed that three out of every four venture-backed firms fail.

The strengths that make people entrepreneurs are counterbalanced by struggles that can get in the way of success. Without this self-understanding, decisions will be made that can cause the enterprises to fail.

Much research exists now to confirm that entrepreneurs are born and not made. Having conducted extensive research to validate these findings, DNA Behavior International has identified the top five (5) genetic traits that are to be found in entrepreneurs.

  1. Resilience (Measured by the Fast-Paced trait) – they achieve results, manage setbacks and rationally take quick action.
  2. Risk Taker (Measured by the Risk trait) – confidently take risks and tolerant of losses.
  3. Creativity (Measured by the Creative trait) – innovative with ideas and seeks to differentiate.
  4. Work Ethic and Focus (Measured by the Pioneering trait) – pursues goals and is often ambitious and competitive.
  5. Charisma (Measured by the Outgoing trait) – outgoing, connects with a lot of people and influences people to follow them.

Having these genetic traits does not guarantee success for entrepreneurs. Learning to be behaviourally smart in using the powerful genetic ingredients they were born with is more likely to deliver success.

Of the 5 identified entrepreneurial traits listed above – resilience leads the pack. Building a business, handling the enormous pressure of setbacks, rejection of ideas, sustaining a business, managing staff, and dealing with market expectations, will never be plain sailing. If you are ever to see blue water, understanding the importance of resilience is a key factor.

Through their DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process, the entrepreneurial genetic traits can be measured. The graphic below highlights, in order of strength, from the top down the behavioral factors (genes) which an entrepreneur exhibits:

FactorsPerformance

 

The resilience gene is measured by the fast-paced trait. When this trait measures more than 55 – results will be achieved, setbacks will be managed and the individual will be able to rationally take quick action in any given circumstance.

Success in business is rarely about how many challenges you face so much as it is a matter of how you respond to the challenges. Entrepreneurs who are behaviorally smart, and understand their personality and genetic makeup, will have a level of resilience which allows them to face an almost constant barrage of challenges without ever weakening their resolve or losing their passion.

Interestingly the DNA Behavior Research program found that when comparing entrepreneurs who had built a $10 million turnover business as against a $1 million turnover business, that all the key DNA factors do not measure differences in an overall sense, but they do measure stronger.

Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Are you heading up a business you founded? Have you taken over a family business? Whatever the situation that brought you to this season of life, if you don’t know your entrepreneurial traits and understand how to manage them, and perhaps more importantly, how to fill the gaps in your talent, you may be heading for the failure statistic graveyard.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

Playing it Safe (#96)

Last week, I wrote about how having the freedom to fail is an integral part of growth and how many parents are failing this test. In response to last week’s post, a friend sent me an article titled, “The Fragile Generation.” The author opens with an anecdote of a teen boy who was chopping some wood to make a fort with his friends. An onlooker notified the police who arrived at the scene and “took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy’s parents.”

The author writes, “We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us.”

This need to be “safe” has evolved part and parcel with the explosion of the internet and social media.  Many of the things that have a very low probability of bringing us harm are sensationalized online and in the news; because we see it happening on the internet and how horrible it is, we start to question our safety. For example, the leading cause of death in the US is an unhealthy diet, not any of the things we read about in the news. Yet … we aren’t blocking the doors to McDonalds.

Our inclination to seek “safety” removes a degree of risk-taking in our lives that is necessary for getting us out of our comfort zone, such as travelling to new places, trying new foods and interacting with people of different background and beliefs.

Our physical need for safety has also evolved into an emotional need. This comes at a very high price.

One emotional cost is that more and more people today are delaying – or altogether missing – adult milestones; landmarks that come with a certain degree of risk, such as buying a home/living on their own, getting married or having kids.

If we try to ensure that we, or those we love, will never get physically or emotionally hurt, it’s unlikely that we’ll lead fulfilling, prosperous lives.

This is a big problem; one that is not easily solved. That being said, I believe one area where we can all start to be more growth-minded and a little less safe is in our communication and feedback. Often, we don’t say what we really mean. It’s either safer not to or it helps us (or the recipient) maintain the status quo.

One of the best frameworks I’ve come across around feedback is from Kim Scott’s new book, Radical CandorBe a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. Radical Candor, she argues, should be the default form of both personal and professional feedback.

One of the quadrants in the Radical Candor graph that gets less attention, but is often our automatic form of commutation, is “Ruinous Empathy.” This is when you care about the other person and their perspective, but you don’t tell them what they really need to hear, which is likely to be a tough message and/or the truth as you will see in this sample video.

According to Scott, Ruinous Empathy comes from our desire to try and control other people’s feelings, something we should not and cannot do. While it may come from a good place, it is also a misplaced, misguided effort. It’s about being safe.

This week, let’s encourage open and vulnerable communication. We may get our knees skinned – we maybe even get rejected outright — but at least we’re living authentically, growing and working toward empowering ourselves and others.

Quote of the Week

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”

John A. Shedd

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We Cant Agree on Anything.

We Can’t Agree On Anything

Nothing is more exasperating than watching a group of smart, qualified, intelligent executives deliberate about a key strategy, and fail to reach an agreement. In frustration, the team turns to the CEO to make the decision. Yet this is counterproductive, as whatever the CEO decides, some of the team will resent – and that resentment leads to a lack of a commitment to delivering an outcome.

It’s even more frustrating when attempting to reach a forward-thinking strategic plan for the business.

How you might ask, can this be so? These people are our leaders. They set the direction of the organization. We rely on them to make sensible decisions that can impact our careers. So, how come they are in disarray?

The CEO, after a few attempts to reach an agreement, called in a DNA Behavior facilitator to oversee the discussions.

These are just a few questions that went through my head as I watched, incredulous, as a significant group of executives began the process of planning for the next stage of the company’s direction.

As I sat to one side and observed their interaction, it was clear the room was heavy with bias, one-upmanship, egotism, and overconfidence pitched against compliance, indifference, and timidity. The assertive ones held their ground. The more vocal got louder. And the reflective and thoughtful seemed to be brooding.

Nothing was being resolved. Every stake put in the ground took the team further away from making decisions.

The DNA Behavior Solution

Each member of the team completed the Communication DNA Discovery Process, an assessment predominantly focused on revealing individual communication styles. Patterns quickly emerged showing the relationship gaps and areas where communication was breaking down, and why.

Independent research shows that Communication DNA leads to solving 87% of business issues, which are hidden as they are communication-related.

Once the team understood how their communication style was getting in the way of bringing their talent and behavioral smarts to the table, outcomes began to change.

As the Goal Setting individuals encouraged input from the Information and Stability individuals and the Lifestyle individuals used their approach to encourage everyone of the importance to reach a solution – suddenly everyone felt they had a voice. And rather than chaos, a solid structure began to take shape.

The team was then able to focus on their task. Egos, bias, and intolerance were replaced with listening, acknowledging input, and intelligent suggestions – a lively, but meaningful debate.

CDNA

As the task proceeded, the Lifestyle individuals suggested a flow chart to capture ideas. The Information individuals populated the flow chart, carefully catching ideas and suggestions. And the Goal Setters captured the key milestones for taking the organization into the next season and all agreed that it was a job well done.

From my perspective, the lesson learned for them as a strategic planning team of executives was the importance of understanding how to communicate with each other. Without the Communication DNA Discovery Process, this team would have failed to meet its obligations to set out the strategic plan for the next season. Important skills and talents would not have been brought to the table. Individuals would have left frustrated, and the business would have suffered without a cohesive sense of direction.

CDNA 3

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

Organizational Culture 2

10 Ways To Cultural Change

Every organization has a culture – as a leader you need to know whether the culture is healthy or not. Toxic culture must be addressed but so should healthy culture to see if it needs tweaking.

Changing the culture in an organization can be a nightmare for a leader. If a change in leadership is because of a poor performing business, it can become incredibly frustrating for a new CEO to have to sideline results to focus on changing the culture.

change

But here’s a thought; what is your culture? Would it stand up to scrutiny? Are your values open to scrutiny both in your personal and business life?

Investopedia defines Corporate Culture as “the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.”

Success comes from understanding the behaviors and motivations of the people. Only then can cultural change have a hope of succeeding. Using a highly-validated discovery such as DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process, leaders can identify, in advance, the people’s ability to cope with cultural change and how it should be introduced and communicated. Only then can CEOs know that whatever they introduce will work.

Culture change requires strong, focused, versatile and decisive leadership. A person’s performance needs to be addressed in relation to their behaviors and personality, not necessarily to their ability. Knowing an individual’s personality traits in advance, and how, or if, they fit the proposed organizational culture and values, can make all the difference in terms of the success or failure of the proposed changes.

There are several keys for CEOs that will support their cultural change efforts.

  1. If no one is talking and boasting about the culture of the organization, it’s a sure sign there isn’t one, or if there is, it’s toxic.
  2. It starts at the top – often said, but rarely practiced. A leader who knows their own personality, their EQ, their communication style, their bias (yes, we all have them) and their own personal values, are more likely to be able to introduce cultural change than a leader who does not have this insight.
  3. Measure the current culture – maybe not everything needs to change.
  4. The use of a validated personality discovery process can quickly identify those able to manage cultural change and who are behaviorally smart enough to capture culture and vision quickly and run with it.
  5. Data that delivers accurate information about people can identify quickly those who can be used as ambassadors to manage the introduction of cultural change. (And it won’t always be the obvious employees)
  6. Hiring – audit your hiring processes – introduce a validated personality profiling system. Set a hiring benchmark. Don’t settle for second best. Re-training existing employees could be a more effective option.
  7. When introducing a cultural change training program, keep auditing it to ensure it’s relevant and working.
  8. CEOs – it’s important not underestimate the power of your regular communication with the business. Use your communication to acknowledge the people who have disproportionate influence in the organization and are working with you to introduce the cultural change.
  9. If there are hot spots and resistance to the cultural change, name and shame them.
  10. CEOs – remember to create a vision of what the future for the organization looks like after the cultural change.

In conclusion – here’s the prize: as the culture develops and individuals take responsibility for what happens in their work areas, problems are solved where they happen and by those affected. This frees up leadership to focus on the business and its opportunities.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.