Posts Tagged ‘business leadership’

9 Leadership lessons from War Leaders

June 3, 2014

fdr-and-churchillI watched the History Channel’s special entitled “The World Wars” about war leaders such as Mussolini, Douglas MacArthur, FDR, Winston Churchill, and Adolph Hitler.  I have counseled hundreds of small businesses and worked under several leaders over the course of my careers.  Often, the competitive nature of business development has been and can be compared to being at war.  Here’s nine (9) leadership lessons I learned from the war leaders:

  1. Have fast moving forces – Adolph Hitler was known for having fast moving forces that could punch a hole in the enemy’s territory and their speed would impact the enemy’s nervous system.  This was called a brain and heart assault.  I have witnessed many, many slow moving business leaders and equally slow moving troops that follow.  Being decisive and well trained to move out fast in business can help knock out the competition.  Leaders bear the responsibility to make judgments and motivate their troops to move out quickly.  The competition would not know what hit them!
  2. Be not a dictator in your business – On the History Channel program, Colin Powell explained that dictators think that they know best; they do not listen to others; and they do not keep anyone around them that will tell them otherwise.  Years ago, I worked for a dictator.   Many years ago, I worked for a dictator who was a small business owner.  He never listened to his staff’s ideas and if they did not agree with him, he would fire them.  I later found out that when I left, he had cycled through more than 60 professional staff people.  This is a ridiculously high turn over rate in his industry.  If you are guilty of this, then it is best to go see a psycho therapist and get some professional help fast!
  3. Know your competition’s, client’s, and prospect’s ultimate dreams – With respect to Adolph Hitler, his ultimate dream was to gain world dominance.  Trying to appease someone like this to avoid war and to negotiate diplomatic solutions is fruitless.  Very few small business leaders take time out to study their competition, client’s and prospect’s, get to know what makes them tick, and study their long term goals.  The more intelligence you know about what they need, want, and their mission, the better you can strategize what might work in business negotiations.

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By Clovia Hamilton, MBA JD President Lemongrass Consulting

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved. Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

 

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Small Business Hoarders and Fear of Lost Control

March 3, 2012

I enjoy the television show Hoarders. I love it when the troubled folks’ homes are transformed for the better. My mom (now deceased) was a hoarder. My brother and I would clean and put things in the alley; and she would go behind us and bring the items back in. It did not matter that some items were full of mildew or had other issues. Our home never looked like the homes featured on the show Hoarders. But, we had stockpiles of stuff stored everywhere. There are a lot of reasons my mom held on to things closely. She grew up poor; suffered a lifetime of losses; and she was a housewife with very few things she could call her own. It was always about not wanting to lose anything; power and control. For my mom, to lose things would be to lose apart of herself.

Hoarders and their struggle to change remind me a lot of struggling business owners. Well, I recently read Deborah Jeanne Sergeant’s article “Fear Means Failure” for the Home Business magazine March/April 2012 issue. She interviewed author Tom Rieger about how fear impacts home businesses. Tom Rieger talked about territorialism and empire building. Tom stated that territorialism is when someone exerts excessive control over budget, information, or employees. He stated that the fear of loss of that control is what drives these business leaders. With respect to empire builders, when they feel their empire is threatened, there is conflict.

Tom Rieger explained that people will do things to prevent the loss by erecting walls or holding onto processes – no matter what. Rieger stated that success requires change and to change you have to give up something. The lost is fearful.

I have had several business coaches and mentors. The best ones have urged me to get pass denial, get at the root of what fears me, and to be about making improvements. Change is tough. I have counseled business owners at the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center. The struggling businesses are led by folks that are in denial and are unwilling to make changes.

Some struggling business owners need to give up entirely. Some need reinvent themselves. Either way requires change.
What gets in the way? Some of the folks featured on the show Hoarders have stated they fear they will lose everything.

Here are some of the traits that hoarders have. If you are a small business owner, these are traits to beware of. Do a self assessment. Do you exhibit any of these traits?

1. Obsessive Compulsive behavior

a. Compulsive shopping

i.      obsessive need to acquire and keep things (in business it can be inventory, supplies, or tech toys)

ii.      keeps collecting

iii.      too attached to objects; believe that the stuff is apart of themselves

b. Hoard busy work

c. Hanging onto stuff – not delegating, not letting go

d. No limits are set

e. Think that all things have unsurpassable value

2. Depressed, Unhappy, Discouraged, Disappointed

a. Feeling let down
b. Letting others down
c. Use anger to control others and to get what you want
d. Have intense sadness

3. Confused
a. Lack direction
b. Lack focus
c. Lack clarity
d. Lack structure
e. Lack stability
f. Indecisive
g. Poor judgment

4. Babied
a. Don’t want to take responsibility
b. Not doing for self; looking to others to take care of them
c. Looking for others to say “clean that up”
d. Surrounded by enablers
e. In perpetual victim role blaming others

5. Overwhelmed
a. Under a lot of pressure, stressed
b. Have a lot of weight on your shoulders
c. Feeling that it is just too much to handle
d. Allowing things to get too out of control
e. Taking on too much
f. Completely disorganized; so cluttered (mentally and/or physically) that even the most basis tasks have become impossible

6. Low self esteem
a. Not caring enough about appearances
b. Not caring enough about hygiene
c. Minimize their own care, standards, and needs

7. Avoidance
a. In denial and do not see anything wrong; thinks everything is fine when it is not
b. Delusional, Desire to escape reality, living in a fantasy
c. Alienates oneself from the world of criticism
i. Lonely
ii. Isolated; little interaction with others
d. Not wanting others to see what is really going on
i. Ashamed
ii. Embarrassed
e. Not wanting to deal with tough issues
f. Showing no emotions, no responses about the bad situation
i. Keeps a tight leash on emotions
ii. Don’t allow themselves to have their emotions; push emotions away
iii. Avoid painful emotions
g. Just go with the flow; don’t get excited about things
h. Just don’t want to think about it
i. Don’t realize you are in a state of crisis; don’t realize how bad things are

8. Stuck, not moving forward
a. Emotional paralysis
b. Lost inside their own head
c. Don’t care anymore
d. No energy

9. Fear of losing memories of the good times

10. Hard and ugly
a. Hard to handle
b. Hard to take
c. Hard to be around, drives people away
d. Abusive, antagonistic
e. Extremely stubborn

Besides the show Hoarders, we see these traits in the business owners featured on shows like Tabatha and Kitchen Impossible.

Hoarders hoard control. Fear keeps them enslaved. They cannot picture someone coming in and telling them what to do. If you are a struggling business owner and you suffer from any of these characteristics, get help. You may not have a home or business establishment that looks like the extreme cases we see on the show Hoarders, but most struggling business owners exhibit some of the characteristics of hoarders. They need a business coach or mentor to help them push pass their fears. They may also need an organizational assessment, direction, clarity, leadership and organizational skills.

Our businesses are our babies. Our babies deserve the best. On the show Hoarders, when children are involved, the hoarder may be threatened with a call to child protective services. In a failing business, there is no such agency to call.

The struggling business owner may need to let go and cut losses by selling or closing the business. They may need to reinvent and make some changes. In business, we have to be able to feel distress and be able to push through distress. There is a lot of rejection in sales. Rejection is painful. You have to be willing to go through the anxiety. Connecting to people is what’s important – not to objects. You have to be able to focus on the big picture.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and has served as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services.

Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/lemongrass-consulting-inc.
■ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans

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9 Business Lessons from the Green Lantern

June 19, 2011

This weekend, I watched the Green Lantern movie. It was awesome! Here are nine (9) business lessons I learned from the movie:

1. Green Lantern operates on green energy and the color green represents a species’ will. Our will allows us to create what we imagine. Anything the Green Lantern could see in his mind, he could create. He just needed to focus. We are only as strong as our will. The business lesson here is that every business leader needs to utilize laser focused creativity and imagination to develop a vision for what the business needs to look like and for strategies the business can use to overcome barriers. This is where a sound business plan and strategic planning comes into play. To stay creative, business leaders also have to overcome getting into ruts and feeling burned out.

Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur’s Council recently wrote a Huffington Post article on how entrepreneurs can get back to being creative and productive. The answers included: 1) taking on a hobby other than the startup; 2) delegate and outsource certain functions; 3) take time to recharge and get away; 4) focus on activity that gives you energy; 5) find a business partner; 6) read about art, literature, history; 7) mentor others;  8) work out; 9) pick a company that is getting it right to emulate and track; 10) conquer a fear with sky diving, mountain climbing or some other adventure; 11) invest in something creative or different for your business; 12) turn to your mentors; 13) network with folks in other fields; 14) take up creative writing; and 15) change your routine.

2. Your will is what makes you take action.
3. The Green Lantern Corps is only as strong as its weakest link.
4. In the movie, the villain Parallax had the color yellow and fed on the fear of others. This is actually the color I associate with cowardice. Fear stops you and makes you weak. Ignore your fear. Last year, Karen Klein wrote a BusinessWeek article about Nell Merlino and what holds women business owners back. Nell Merlino advocates that women business owners need to hire. However, Nell acknowledged that many feared doing so because they were afraid they would not be able to make payroll or would cede and lose control and management of their brand. In Nell Merlino’s self help memoir entitled “Stepping out of Line”, she advocates that whatever you can imagine for yourself, you can achieve – and imagination and dedication are the keys.
5. The Green Lantern ring chose the character Hal to be the Green Lantern. In the movie, it was stated that the “ring” chose Hal; and the ring never makes a mistake. I think the ring is symbolic of a higher spirit or God. Just as Hal was chosen to serve as the Green Lantern, I think God chooses individuals to be business leaders.
6. In the movie, the villain was an evil power of darkness that fed on fear. In business, our enemies are naysayers or competitors that block the market entry of newcomers. It was stated in the movie that the will is the sole weapon against the enemy of fear.
7. One of the Green Lantern Corps members wanted to fight fear with fear. The Green Lantern disagreed. The business leadership lesson here is that we do not have to become like our enemies in order to succeed. I have observed this time and time again. When I first opened my business in 2005, several competitors wanted to meet and talk. Some wanted to find out my weaknesses and fears. Some were really ugly about blocking me from entering their arena or space. I thought this was awful – they were fighting fear with fear – trying to make me be afraid about moving forward with my plans. I also encountered loved ones (friends and family members) that really did not want me to be “that” successful. So, they tried to play on my fears by telling me how hard it would be; how costly; how foolish.
8. Parallax is generally defined as the displacement of an observed object due to the change in the position of the observer. In the movie, the villain Parallax could see your memories and read minds. This is how it could feed on the fears of others. In business, you have to be careful sharing certain memories, thoughts, and fears to prevent enemies from preying on your fears. Guarding the business position is important.
9. The Green Lantern had to recharge his ring; i.e. recharge his will. I think this is analogous to prayer and having faith. I think we need to take time to pray, meditate to recharge and gain strength to overcome barriers.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.
Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, and social media marketing strategic plans.

Connect with Clovia :
■ Phone: direct – 678.235.5901
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com