Month: July 2016

The 3 Most Important Morning Rituals for Leadership & Growth

The 3 Most Important Morning Rituals for Leadership & Growth

Leadership development is a process of self-mastery. Before we can successfully lead others, we must first learn to lead ourselves. We can take simple steps each morning to bring us closer to achieving the greatest version of ourselves.

How can you get a running start towards success each day? Begin with these three morning rituals to unlock the full magnitude of your inner power, peace and prosperity:

1. Power

Weaponize your body.  It can be trained and re-engineered; it’s a machine. Take your hour of power for personal fitness every morning. The Greek Spartans would say “The more you sweat in the morning, the less you bleed in battle.” Make sure before you engage in the corporate battle with your calendar, email, and people who want your time and attention, that nothing you will encounter is harder than the war you waged on yourself every morning. Remember this from Buddha: “A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle.” Get the right nutrients in your body; drink a green smoothie and take in some protein. Time: 1 hour

2. Peace

Practice gratitude. All abundance begins within self. When you appreciate the gifts in your life, they increase in value. Believe in your dreams. Our greatest strength comes from the power within. See, feel and have gratitude for the abundance you want to create in your life. Cultivate inner peace through internal reflection, prayer or meditation. Then you can tackle each challenge with an expanded mindset. In the words of the Spartan warrior and poet, Tyrtaeus: “You should reach the limits of virtue, before you cross the border of death.” Time: 20 minutes

3. Prosperity

Now that you’ve visualized and felt gratitude for the world you want to create, make concrete written plans and calibrations for the productive achievement of your burning desires in business and personal targets. For ten minutes, read a good book that helps you progress each morning. Share a deep insight or personal testimony with someone that is learning and growing and help enrich their life. In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill shares this wisdom, “No one can prosper without first enriching the lives of others.”

In the book, Give and Take, Adam Grant studies three kinds of people: Givers who give without strings attached, Matchers who give and expect in return, and Takers who take take take. Who of these three personalities reached the most success? The answer is surprisingly two-fold. Givers showed the lowest performance when they self-sacrificed too much. Givers also ranked as the highest performers (with Takers and Matchers in the middle). Giving creates value in people’s lives. Grant advocates ‘five-minute favors’ that bring high value to other people’s lives without taking too much of a toll on you. Stay away from the takers. Think each morning, who is someone that could benefit from a 5 minute gift from me? Is there a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note? A cheerful text? A loving response? The prosperity you create for others will multiply and return to you in the long run. Time: 30 minutes

Bonus Round: There are two more things that are super important. 4) Sleep. Go to bed earlier and 5) Wake up earlier. Combined, this is the best productivity hack to gain more energy.

Our external world is a reflection of our inner world. There are only a few things over which you have total power:  your body, mind and soul. “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom,” the great Jim Rohn said.

The practice of leadership doesn’t begin once we step into the office. We can make choices to spur our growth as leaders as soon as we wake up in the morning. This is the way to inner power, peace and prosperity. Success, self-mastery and a better world are within our reach. We’ve already started the journey.

The Powerful Truth About Your Important Executive Hire

The Powerful Truth About Your Important Executive Hire

The difficult lesson many entrepreneurs will learn is that most startups fail. The truth is, the right or wrong executive hire can decide whether a business will succeed or founder.

In business and in life, it’s wise to heed the words of Epictetus: “First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do.” In building the best leadership team and making the right executive hire, the only question is: will you do what is required?

The wrong executive hire at a high-growth business costs significantly more than at a slower growth company. It can literally put your survival at stake when an executive leadership role is involved. When hiring an executive leader, does it really make sense to be penny wise and pound foolish?

Anything that slows down your ability to execute translates into lost market opportunity or advantage. Growth is crunch time: either leadership will have the capacity to grow organizational effectiveness, execution competence and performance agility, or the things that made your business a hot prospect in the beginning will wither and die. When it comes to hiring an executive leader, being thrifty or hasty is a sure recipe for loss of momentum and operational horsepower.

Moreover, the Society for Human Resources Management puts the cost of replacing a bad hire at up to five times their annual salary. And the costs rise steeply as you ascend the organizational ladder. Then there are the intangible costs. High turnover impacts morale, creates organizational drag and produces a loss in opportunity costs. Success in anything requires a full-time effort. When in high-growth mode, the costs of turbulence in your leadership team are especially disruptive and even devastating.

If you want to avoid being part of the vast majority of startups that fail, understand the high costs of making a bad executive hire. Then develop and invest in a smart plan, a process to evaluate the wide reaches of the market for top leaders, and recruit the top caliber executive leader that is right for you. Fear, greed and scarcity are all part of the same mindset and can break your entrepreneurial dreams. To grow a thriving business, the opposite is needed. Exercise your abundance mindset and the bold confidence you need to achieve your mission.

Everything bad that happens at a company is fundamentally a people problem. What’s also true is that there is an A+ player for every role in every company. Executive recruitment, done the right way, will uplift your business and bring it to the next level of success. Luckily, recruiting is a leadership competency and can be developed. Acquiring the top 1{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of A+ executive leadership will require the same level of grit, sweat and indefatigable determination it takes to launch and grow your business.

You are determined to turn your vision into reality. You’re ready to disrupt markets, design entirely new ecosystems, conquer and change the world with what you’re doing. That’s why your business deserves the most talented executive leadership team.

So, how DO you recruit for key roles with precision and skill? Here are three important basics I can’t stress enough.

A Handy ABC:

Anticipate Waiting

This one may seem counterintuitive. After all, when searches languish for months as over-stretched executives spend their days firefighting and making it work (the everyday norm for growth mode), organizational chaos is not far behind.

You need to fill key leadership roles quickly. The need to get those empty slots filled can pressure executive teams to rely on paper indicators and make hasty decisions. That can be a costly mistake. Nature abhors a vacuum; your search will create opportunities for your team to step up and fill in some gaps. Reward initiative with battle pay. Then get the right hire fast, and be confident that your analysis was thorough enough to make sure your executive hire will last.

Brain Surgery, Don’t Perform it on Yourself

Bring in help. If you’re beginning to ask yourself if you need a professional executive recruiter on your side, then you should have hired one last month. The return on a proper executive search is 1,000{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4}.

First-time CEOs often make the mistake of hiring a big name search firm. Look deeper into who you choose to partner with and select a master headhunter based on that person’s background and experience. Don’t settle for a recruiter running potential hires through a series of prefab tests or pushing leftovers from other searches.

Look at it this way: your enterprise value is scaling up because you value expertise. Expertise doesn’t start and end with technical know-how. Find an executive recruiter that has been in the trenches, gets culture, and — ideally — one that handcrafts every fit. If the cost of a recruiter has you in sticker shock , compare it to the costs of replacing a bad hire. Then go for a run or grab a coffee and rethink your math.

Culture Fit

A high-level candidate’s skills and talents won’t count for much unless they can actualize those skills and talents within the culture of your team. Gut instinct isn’t a reliable guide, a time-tested proven methodology is. When your management team is a team of three buddies, then yeah — your instinctual liking for one another counts for a lot. As your organization grows, assessing cultural fit becomes a much more subtle and complex challenge. Recruiting for a seamless culture fit requires a fierce drive to find the ideal candidate — an elite, special forces approach to recruiting — and it takes strategy and expertise to expedite the search.

The best utilization of venture capital is to acquire the right human capital.

This post was originally published on Medium.

This is What Happens When You Teach Kids to be Themselves

This is What Happens When You Teach Kids to be Themselves

My sons and I took a road trip together to attend the 2016 National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. The unruly romping, cajoling and banter from the car ride totally subsided once we entered the stadium with thousands of kids cheering and hollering. It was an incredible gathering of young people destined to lead the future of humanity’s great achievements. I thoroughly enjoyed learning with my boys, who were among those thirsty minds drinking from a firehose of knowledge. We geeked out on nanorobots, string theory, quantum physics and more.

It’s been a while since I was surrounded by so many pimply-faced, socially awkward teens. It highlighted for me my own awkward journey through puberty and life – my fears, insecurities, deep desires and big aspirations.

As a proud father of twelve-year-old twins, I think a lot about how I can help them reach their full potential. I want them to unabashedly believe in their dreams, and then do whatever it takes to reach them.

It takes a tremendous amount of bravery to become the best version of yourself. Sometimes staying true to who you are means facing judgement, criticism, skepticism and self-doubt. Being an innovator can mean being an outcast. I believe the only way to achieve the greatest version of yourself is by having the courage and confidence to BE yourself.

The greatest leaders of our time didn’t always fit it in. Albert Einstein wrote, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”

I want my sons to be courageous in their beliefs and fearless in their pursuits. The pressure to fit in begins in childhood and intensifies as children grow into young adults. We need to disrupt that. Kids need more than support. They need encouragement to know it’s okay to be different, to stand out. Let’s teach kids that it’s okay to love science or math or theater or any number of things. It’s okay to be absolutely 100% passionate about something and then pursue that passion without regard for what others might say about you. If that makes you a geek, then be a geek – unapologetically. Today’s geeks are tomorrow’s entrepreneurial leaders.

The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones with the audacity to act on their insights, create the reality they envision, take risks, disrupt markets, design entirely new categories of industry and change the world. Their first accomplishment was to discover and nurture the interests that make them uniquely who they are.

The theme of this year’s National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists was “Greatness Awaits.” Greatness awaits those who stay true to themselves, who aren’t afraid to let their best self shine. These inventors of the future enter a new arena.

Welcome to the playground of the fearless!