Category: Recruiting

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.

When Making a Hire Decision, Attitude is More Important Than IQ

When Making a Hire Decision, Attitude is More Important Than IQ

Attitude defined:


(n) A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.

People’s predisposed thoughts and feelings are the foundational factor in determining the outcomes of every human interaction (behavior). IQ is also important, and more so at the end stage of interactions, as it allows people to analyze situations and make calculated decisions. Workplace behaviors such as collaboration, task completion, and communication are all critical for high performance and the achievement of strategic outcomes in an organization.

Operational excellence in high-growth companies is about negotiating intrinsic social contracts and hierarchies in the most efficient, clear-minded way in order to get stuff done. Just as happiness depends on outlook, not material things, organizational success depends on employee attitude—not IQ.

Researchers at Stanford University found that individuals who identify strongly with external attributes like IQ and “being smart” are less engaged with the learning process. They are more likely to fall into destructive behaviors that mask their true intelligence and undermine the development of their true potential, to the organization’s detriment.

The researchers found that starting from childhood, people often fall into two outlooks on intelligence: a “fixed  mindset” and a “growth mindset.” Those with fixed intelligence think that success is based upon fixed traits—they believe that they are either born smart or flawed, and their entire lives are defined by a set amount of intelligence and capability.

Often, people who are told they are “smart” hide behind the praise. They become fixated on maintaining their smart status at all costs, even if it means rejecting new challenges for fear of failure, or not wanting to seem dumb. In this limiting mindset, inner life becomes a monologue of comparison that filters out useful, realistic criticism.

On the other hand, those with a growth mindset know that excellent performance depends upon perseverance, hard work, and learning from failure. For those with a growth mindset, life is ripe with opportunities and there is no “failure”— only challenges to overcome on the path to mastery.

How do people become one way or the other? Noted author Carol Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, discovered the “fixed” and “growth” mindsets while studying the behavior of schoolkids in the early 2000s.

She gave two groups of children an easy puzzle or test to solve. Both groups solved the puzzle, but the first group was told they succeeded because they were smart (a fixed trait). The second group was told they succeeded because they worked hard (a growth-oriented trait). Guess which group gave up when the test got tougher? The fixed group, who felt they would lose their “smart” status by failing at a more difficult puzzle. On the other hand, the growth group enjoyed the new challenge.

Dweck’s groundbreaking book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, reveals that emphasis on smarts or effort have profound effects on long-term adult potential. People who develop fixed mindsets prefer tasks they already do well and avoid situations in which they may make mistakes. This leads to aversion to learning and risk-taking—deadly in today’s quickly changing world. Even worse, it compromises morals: the fixed mindset group in Dweck’s research were more likely to lie about their test results to protect their reputation.

In her book, Dweck writes that a fixed mindset is insecure: it is like “always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens.” That’s no way to live—or to live with this trait in an employee, even one who is perfect on paper.

Thankfully, individuals can change their mindsets. Dweck had tremendously positive results when she put fixed mindset students, who thought they had limited potential and suffered social and emotional trouble, on an 8-week study skills program that emphasized the brain as a trainable muscle. Many students who thought they could never succeed learned to face and even love solving challenges.

Dweck’s theory of education is now taught across multiple disciplines, including sports, in which confidence and rebounding from a break in concentration can mean a close win.

For company leaders, recognizing growth attitudes means celebrating employees for their enthusiasm about solving challenges and curiosity about working, not their alma mater. To hire these kinds of people, ask potential hires about their views on personal and professional growth, both great topics of conversation during interviews. Selecting new colleagues based on how they grew from failures in their past experience is golden wisdom on the topic of team-building.

For everyone else, entering a growth mindset means taking a deep inquiry into the nature of our beliefs about self.

Do you believe that your character, intelligence, and creative abilities are inborn attitudes? Or do you dream of bettering yourself through challenges, realizing that your potential is, while not limitless, unknowable? A shift in mental attitude can impact the way you go about your daily tasks, which ultimately leads to the efforts that shape your success.

Choosing the candidate that has a 20 point higher IQ is isolated to that one person. The benefit of choosing the person that has the better attitude magnifies the enthusiasm, flexibility, and adaptation of the entire team. We’re all looking to conquer the world with what we are doing. We need people who want to achieve success for themselves and who can help us do it as a team. A winning attitude is infectious and magnifies teamwork. And teamwork wins championships.

The Good & Great Recruiters

The Good & Great Recruiters

We’re all looking to conquer the world with what we are doing, and we need the right people to help us do it–people who want to achieve success for themselves and can help us do it as a company.

The difference between good and great in recruiting–like everything else in life–ends up being about passion, focus, and discipline. You always know it when you see it – and it always shows up in the results of that recruiter’s work. The best way to put it is that a good recruiter has a keen interest in recruiting and knows all the rules. A great recruiter knows how to go beyond the rules.

Great recruiters reach mastery level because more than just being interested, they are deeply committed to achieving great success for their clients. Talent is not enough. Applying years of hard work produces skill. And recruiting is a craft that is best learned from apprenticing with a skilled master.

A good recruiter has solid first-order thinking, and a significant amount of subject matter expertise in any number of areas that make executives successful. This means that they are keen evaluators of technical chops and delivering candidates that are a strong technical fit for any given role.

This is not enough. Technical chops are no guarantee of whether a candidate can work with the team, fit into the company culture, and stay motivated and engaged in the long term.

This is what great recruiters understand and master. A great recruiter will add value by understanding a company’s cultural DNA, and delivering candidates who will fit and integrate into the team perfectly. Great recruiters know how to identify an executive’s blind spots, and can anticipate how the new hire will complement the CEO’s personal traits and leadership abilities.

Good recruiters also know how to walk away. When necessary, they will advise their client against making a hire, even if it’s a pressing role. Closing that search would undoubtedly mean an immediate benefit to the recruiter in the short term, but great recruiters know that their reputation depends on delivering the best possible hire and have two other candidates on the ready. They can’t afford to let their client close on a candidate if they know it’s not the right match.

I always tell people that recruiting, on its most basic level, is about understanding human relationships. Good recruiters understand roles. Great recruiters understand people; they have conceptual models of how to differentiate top talent. They have a proven methodology for achieving outstanding results. For this reason, the periodic check-in with your friendly, neighborhood recruiter is a great way to get feedback and market assess the competitiveness of your own executive team.

It’s tough to go from good to great in this field. It can often seem that great recruiters are born, rather than made. I also recognize that there are a lot of green recruiters just beginning their careers out there, with the seeds of greatness in them, looking for how they can make it to the next level. Learning to evaluate a person’s ability to fit in a team requires a keen sense of understanding about culture fit, leadership agility, social intelligence, and pragmatism, all for the purpose of being able to lead the organization towards its strategic objectives. Here’s my advice for those people:

  1. Be a student of leadership. Apprentice yourself to a truly great recruiter, and study the work of business leaders and cutting-edge, best-quality thought on executive leadership at every opportunity. Read the books on leadership from the great thinkers on this subject. Your life’s work is to help top executives find the people they need to win. You should understand those people, their challenges, and their priorities inside and out, in order to excel in your own role.
  2. Build something. Spend time, as an internal executive operator, actually building and growing a company. My time at high-growth companies like TheLadders and HotJobs helped me to develop an understanding of the needs and challenges of large high-growth businesses, and taught me how to hire and develop leadership from within. This has aided me immeasurably in helping other companies find the talent they need; my clients can trust me and communicate with me effectively, because I have walked a few miles in my clients’ shoes.
  3. Get your hands dirty. Spend a significant amount of time, energy and considered thought in studying the fine distinctions of character and leadership in practice. Learn to make judgment calls on character – and watch your results, by tracking the success or failure of those you have personally tapped for leadership roles. When you are able to verify your judgment of character by a track record of identifying successful future executives, you will know you have progressed to the highest level of recruiting prowess.

In 20 years of doing this work, I have never found anyone who is crazier about recruiting than I am. Mastering the art and science of recruiting allows me to now spend my time with the top CEO’s, the top venture investors and the top 1% of A+ executive talent focused on making the world a better place. The level of understanding of new technologies, latest methodologies and the synthesis of new ideas is intellectually fulfilling. Changing the lives of real people who happen to be visionary CEO’s and their executive teams is heart-warming. Helping companies that are doing good in the world satisfies the soul. Great recruiters everywhere share this passion. We know that by finding the world’s great leaders and putting them in the right roles, we’re changing the world.

The Key to High Performance Leadership

The Key to High Performance Leadership

High performance is the strongest desire of every CEO. High performance requires high-performance leadership. High-performance leadership is built on a foundation of excellence and a framework of harmony.

Too often executive leaders at startup tech companies try to build a foundation of harmony in order to achieve operational excellence. This is a mistake. They fill their office space with ping pong tables, video game machines, snack rooms, kegerators and creature comforts as a means to appear competitive with Google-style employment perks and to lure top recruits. They attempt to compete on a basis of social harmony and having an awesome “culture” without actually having spent any deep thinking time on culture and the practices that drive outstanding business performance. They’ve mistakenly prioritized social harmony over disciplined, measured operational excellence.

No-one is saying that harmony isn’t important — only that it’s impossible without operational excellence as its foundation. Both excellence and harmony are important for high performance. Excellence is of first importance; it is what you must lay down as a foundation first because there can be no harmony without excellence. If performance and results are where you want them, then, sure, I am all in favor of ping pong tables, laser tag and sleeping pods.

My advice to CEOs and executive leaders: Build a performance-based culture of excellence around performance drivers, KPI’s, measurable outcomes. Build a meritocracy where people get as much responsibility as they can handle on the basis of true merit: ownership, accountability, execution and results. This is the foundation of operational excellence.

Harmony is about creating the environment for direct, honest and open dialogue about the things that matter — trust, commitment, results. It’s about having adult conversations about performance metrics and holding each other accountable. Harmony is not the same as avoiding conflict rather it’s about engaging in meaningful productive outcomes and solutions-driven discourse. This is high-productivity harmony.

Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team provides a great model for building this kind of harmony around excellence. He pinpoints several dysfunctions that prevent a team from achieving excellence, including lack of trust, avoidance of accountability, inattention to results, and, perhaps most importantly, fear of conflict — which is to say, when employees avoid conflict and create artificial harmony by going along with others’ decisions indiscriminately — the results they achieve will be lacking and the team as a whole suffers.

When your employees are driven by excellence in their standards, by excellence in their craft, by excellence in the rigorous disciplines required for disintermediation of an entire industry then, and only then, can you have harmony from the top down and from the bottom up in professional life. Moreover, you will have a culture of excellence where employees can trust and rely on each other. They don’t have to worry whether their teammates will come through. They don’t clash over poorly executed projects. Rather, a focus on excellence magnifies the definiteness of purpose and accelerates productive collaboration on a team. This creates the kind of environment that magnifies everyone’s fire in the belly and a team spirit that the most capable of champions want to be a part of.

(Operational) Excellence + (Productive) Harmony = High Performance Leadership

In the Harvard Business review, Matthew Lieberman points to James Zenger’s research indicating that “results focus” and “social skills” are actually two different parts of the brain — and that these two parts of the brain never work at the same time.

“These two networks function like a neural seesaw,” Lieberman writes. “In countless neuroimaging studies, the more one of these networks got more active, the more the other one got quieter. Although there are some exceptions, in general, engaging in one of the kinds of thinking makes it harder to engage in the other kind.”

Yet leaders who were exclusively results-focused or exclusively social-focused both received poor approval ratings from their subordinates. Those who combined both skills were rated as great leaders a staggering 72% of the time. Great leaders are those who can effectively seesaw between the two parts of their brain that contribute to excellence and winning as a team.

Ultimately, it is a commitment to both excellence and harmony, with excellence in priority, that creates high performance. Playing full out, measuring, learning and adapting creates the kind of high performance execution that everyone wants to be a part of — because culture is everything. This fulfills not only the strongest desire of their CEO, but also the Board, investors, customers, and stakeholders. Most importantly, it fulfills the strongest professional desire of their own. This kind of high-performance leadership creates an indomitable culture that wins championships and creates the lasting impact of legends.

This post was originally published on the Dave Partners blog.

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Coaching, Sport & Life

Coaching, Sport & Life

My boys (identical twins) played soccer on the recreation team for a few years. This past year, they tried out for the travel team. I promised that if they made the travel soccer team, I would coach it. They made it. And I spent the last several months trying to figure out how to be an awesome coach. As for my coaching skills: We didn’t lose every game.

Learning to coach soccer taught me to be a more effective and fearless leader in life. I’ve found that I can apply what I’ve learned in soccer to my work as a CEO — in sports, certain core principles of leadership always apply.

Here’s what I learned in my first season of coaching travel soccer.

Everyone wants the fame & glory of putting up points and scoring goals. An important part of leadership is re-defining the goals and affecting the things you can control to drive team performance: possession, number of passes, chances at goal, defense, and attitude, for example.

The attitude of players in the other (non-scoring) positions will determine the team’s win or loss outcome at the end of the game. Building team consensus and buy-in is better for team performance than the ego driven self-validation of the few scoring players.

How you play at practice is a great predictor of how you will play the game. Champions are forged when no one is looking. Everyone needs a coach. Players need to be reminded about personal excellence, team leadership and how to hear the unspoken assumptions guiding the team. Progress occurs when the unspoken is stated.

The occasional Goliath is impressive. The courage to be a David is more impressive. Mental toughness is about courage and overcoming your fears. Playing your game, playing the ball is more important than being focused on the competition.

Great teammates are skilled, hard-working players who are nice people. If they are skilled and not nice, they are simply jerks who tend to hog the ball.

Kids play hard until the game is over. They fight to the last minute (even from the sidelines). Giving up is a learned adult condition. You can unlearn it at any time.

Individual talent is important. Teamwork is more important. Teamwork trumps talent.

How you play a sport is an indication of how you play in life. I’m proud of what the kids on my sons’ team accomplished. I’m also proud to see so many great, co-operative, focused young people learning the skills that will take them forward to success in the adult world — and happy that I got to play a part in it.

Oh, and one last thing I learned:

Pizza parties are awesome! It’s important to celebrate wins.

How To Tell If You Need To Fire Your CEO

How To Tell If You Need To Fire Your CEO

Everything bad that happens at a company is fundamentally a people problem. Most startups fail. Often, they fail because the person at the top fails. The problem is exacerbated by the reluctance of board members who for reasons of self-interest, have no desire to be branded as being non-friendly to startup founders and turn a blind eye to CEO incompetence. Venture investors with their risk-adjusted calculations and with the same yearning to be perceived as pro-entrepreneur are also often remiss to exercise the intellectual rigor and moral imperative of ensuring that real leadership is established from the top down.

The greatest growth a startup will experience is when the CEO / Founder becomes or hires a leader of leaders. That is the pivotal point when a startup becomes a real business. CEO / Founders can help launch a business and can help grow a startup. A startup will only metamorphosize into a high-growth business with leadership. And it all starts at the top.

For the CEO to take the helm of the company, he or she must be Chief of Strategy, Vision, Coaching, Cheerleading, and Mentoring. CEOs should also surround themselves with giants — people who are better than them at any number of functional areas. If they don’t, the consequences will be dire and the only question will be ‘fast & sudden?’ or ‘slow & painful?’ An under-performing CEO, whether he or she is a founder who’s unsuited to running a growing company or a hired CEO who simply isn’t living up to expectations, can drag a whole team down and make success impossible, making CEO failure the primary cause of the destruction of value in startup land.

The competitive nature of venture investing puts pressure on investors to further lower their standards in order to win the deal, and adds yet another vector towards the destruction of value.

And so how can boards and venture investors still be supportive of entrepreneurs and also uphold the merit and virtue of being intellectually honest and morally correct in their analysis of the founder/leadership gap dilemma?

The time for the title of ‘Chief Entrepreneur Officer’ is now.

Most board members would never hire the CEO / Founder to be the CEO of any other enterprise. So let’s not kid ourselves anymore!

Let’s hold Founding CEO’s accountable to a different yardstick, that of Chief Entrepreneur Officer, and let’s reserve the title of Chief Executive Officer for a well defined leadership role to be filled by someone who deserves it, based on proven leadership and merit.

How do you know when it’s time to take your CEO out? Usually, a CEO replacement happens for one of two reasons:

  1. The board has lost faith in the CEO’s ability to drive the company toward its strategic objectives.
  2. The CEO has lost the faith and/or the will of his or her people.

Whether the verdict comes from the top down or the bottom up, a consistent pattern of failing to meet expectations is hard to miss, and requires immediate action.

Advice to board members: keep a sharp eye on executive turnover and turnover in general. Engage in exit interviews. You will get all of the raw data you need.

The board’s first responsibility is in succession planning and in ensuring that strong, competent, functional leaders are in place to support the continuity of the business and drive growth. The second-in-command, as the person most likely to succeed the CEO, should be a detailed-oriented, operations person with a strong grasp of the business. They should also have been mentored in the skill set that a CEO needs: Selling the vision of the company to team members and the world, making sure all of the right people are on board and sitting in the right seats, and making sure the company has enough cash in the bank to execute the vision.

The board has a responsibility to investors to make sure the CEO is surrounded by strong executive leaders who can lead the operational functions with high excellence. If you’re a board member, do yourself a favor now and make sure your company has a deep bench of potential leaders in case of crisis.

To get started with this, you will need to perform a brutally honest assessment of your organization as it exists.

Here’s a simple 3-step plan for success:

  1. Get crystal-clear on your company’s strategic objectives for the next 6, 12, and 24 months.
  2. Build a functional org chart that is pure and honest in its assessment of what your company needs to achieve those outcomes. Take individual executives’ names out of the equation, so that you can create a plan of the necessary functions at your company, not the people filling those seats.
  3. Perform a gap analysis and form a strong understanding of the leadership team you need, versus the one you have — and then start filling those gaps.

There’s a common misconception that it’s better to have someone doing a bad job than to have no-one doing the job at all. This is motivated purely by fear — and like a lot of fear-based beliefs, it’s a bad one. An underperforming employee is a cancer in your company, at any level. So if your CEO isn’t the right fit, discuss with your board members the opportunity for value creation, organize a communication plan and begin a (confidential if necessary) search for a new CEO today!

You can do a search to fill that role with a true leader.

In the meantime, the strong leadership bench you’ve developed will come together, in that vacuum, to heal the damage a bad CEO has caused. Soon, you’ll have the best possible person doing the most important job at your company. You’ll create good in the universe. And give everyone a real chance at maximizing value creation.

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Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, show some love with a like or comment. You might also enjoy my other work: Check out

Leadership and Love Are Your Highest Calling

The Two Most Common Skills of the Top 1% of A+Executive Talent, and

The Ultimate Key to Millennial Start-Up Success

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His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Leadership And Five Truths

His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Leadership And Five Truths

On a journey to spiritual enlightenment, I ran into the Dalai Lama.

I flew from New York City to New Delhi to gather with 140 amazing people from all over the world on our way to a spiritual journey with world-renowned, peak performance coach Tony Robbins. Unexpectedly, the Dalai Lama who was on his way to New York City, appeared in our hotel lobby.

In a previous post I stated: In business and in life, leadership and love are the highest calling to the life that is inside of you.

I believe that understanding the unique beauty and distinctions from the great traditions of the world can open up and fortify our own beliefs while developing new ones — all for the purpose of expanding our capacity for love and leadership.

Here are a few from His Holiness, The Dalai Lama:

I.) Right View And Right Conduct

Leadership of any people, mission or cause begins with the leadership of oneself. Mindfulness is a key aspect of leadership and makes one capable of having the right perspective and making the right decisions that create the greatest good. This requires one to be free from the negative emotional influences that can cause one to deviate from right view and right conduct. Buddhist monks are expected to keep to the principle of compassion for all beings, and the precept of right speech. Right speech means not saying anything malicious or untrue.

It also emphasizes mindfulness and being present in every conversation. Active listening, empathic leadership, caring about your people — these are the keys for leading a team towards the achievement of good. And not just toward achieving what is good for the team — what is good for clients, good for investors, and good for humanity. This understanding of how things really are represents wisdom in its true form.

II.) Training Your Mind

The scientific evidence on the benefits of meditation is clear: increased brain activity in the frontal lobe, which causes an increased sense of happiness. It has also been proven to increase brain activity, increase the ability to concentrate, create new neurons, decrease anxiety & negative emotions, and boost the immune system. Meditation has been proven to increase the thickness of brain tissue in the prefrontal cortex where improved functioning of emotions, attention and working memory take place. Visualization is another key practice in Buddhism. In business, sport and life, training your mind to visualize can not only calm the mind, but also help create a pathway for its actualization.

III.) Inspire With Purpose

Leaders create faith and certainty with purpose. What values will you champion in the organization? Whatever they are, it’s important that you, the leader of the organization, personally live by those values.

The Dalai Lama leads millions of people because he builds faith and optimism in the future of Tibetans and humanity as a whole. He was never elected, nor did he inherit his position; his leadership is entirely ideological and is a paragon of influence. People trust and support him solely because they believe he’s the world’s best example of Buddhist values in practice.

Accordingly, he lives those beliefs and values every day and in every way. When you live by your company’s cultural values, this sets the code of conduct throughout your organization. People will mirror your choices. Hire people who can adapt and amplify your values. In this way, you can make people and culture your strategic advantage and leadership your legacy. As a business, you will contribute to the well being of society at large.

IV.) Doing Business Right

The impact that a company has on the lives of many people including employees and their families, clients, and investors drive the reputation of the company and whether it acts with a warm and strong heart. Humility is an essential quality of both Buddhism and leadership as is kindness, equanimity, and self-confidence. In business, right conduct, reputation, trust and high quality are all connected and create a loyal customer base, attract top employees and create sustained profitability.

V.) Interconnection

Especially at work, the organization is a network of highly complex conversations. The quality of discourse determines the health of the organization. Our words become thoughts. Thoughts become feelings. Feelings become fact. The role of leadership is to clear the path for productive conversations and to amplify the positive, forward-moving dialogue while buffering the negative distractions.

The Dalai Lama has both spiritual and political power because he serves the Tibetan people, who lost their home and their autonomous government to China. The loyalty he commands is based, not only on his skill as a great Buddhist monk, but on the fact that he has been a tireless advocate for Tibetans everywhere, and his people genuinely trust him to be a compassionate and effective servant of their needs and their culture.

The Dalai Lama is a great philosopher to study, because he does not ask you to “believe in” him, or try to force anyone to “become” Buddhist. He simply presents his ideas and beliefs, and encourages others to test those ideas to see if they work in practice. I believe that lots of them do work very well, even for non-religious people.

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This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.


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