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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympic Leadership

     Can you be a great marketer if you aren't a great leader? I think the two go hand in hand. If you are an ineffective leader who will follow you? Who will pay attention to your message. Who will find value in what you do and what you offer? I subscribe to a newsletter from Strategies founder Neil Ducoff called Monday morning wake up. Like so many inspired by the Olympics Ducoff took this opportunity learn from these top athletes and coaches. What lessons can we learn from these athletes?

     Every athlete has a trusted team, a coach and mentor that believes in him when his belief has evaporated. There are no team events, individual medals in business, the pace of business is constant. But to be a top athlete, or business marketer in the first place what strategies do we need in place? What does it take to be at the top? You are the founder, ceo and director of YOU incorporated. Whether you are a one person operation or leading many employees Ducoff suggests these strategies to become an Olympic leader.
      Focus on the gold medal. What is your gold medal? What drives your purpose? What is it you are trying to achieve every day, good days and bad? Money and survival are not enough. Being best in class is, having top customer service and outstanding client experience can be your gold medal. What's worthy of all the things you sacrifice every moment of the work day, day in and day out? What's worthy of never giving up? Figuring out your gold medal brings focus and purpose to your efforts.

     You must have self leadership. Be self driven and self motivated. You are the soundtrack for your company, what tunes are your clients hearing? What tunes are your employees hearing? What song is stuck in your head? You must perfect your sound. You must control your emotions and attitude to be the example of what you expect in others. Hold yourself to a higher standard of living out your business goals and dreams. You cannot expect to be followed if you are not the compass, showing fairness, and integrity and shades of greatness to those around you. Be accountable to yourself and others and expect the same in return. The little white lies we tell ourselves can destroy us. There is no winning when we kid ourselves in believing success takes less than Olympic effort.

      Be persistent and unrelenting. So many times when we push ourselves or others, we get pushed back. It's easy to dial things back, things get tough, people are tough. Leading the pack is hard and challenging. But scaled back leaders run scaled back businesses. Persist, that's what leaders do.

      Weed out indifference. A mortal sin in business is an I don't care attitude. If you don't love your job, find another one, but don't show up every day hating it. Employers resent it, clients sense it and your family is tired of hearing about it. Get coaching, training, attitude acupuncture, whatever it takes but if you can't change your job, change your job. Weed out bad attitudes, bad employees, bad people you surround yourself with. Waiting for things to change without being the change is insanity.

     People do business with people they like, respect and have built a relationship with. That relationship has to have value. Leaders create value. The cost of no relationship can cost you your business. Set a pace for yourself that you can comfortably maintain, but never allow yourself to get too comfortable. Reaching for greatness can be exhausting work, but the gold medal... all worth it.

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