The Beauty and the Beast remake has been a big hit across the globe with young and old alike. It’s truly a tale as old as time, as the narrative is a story we know so well. One we’ve always known and understood and possibly even hoped for.
In all of our relationships, we strive for the depth and authenticity that Belle manages to have with both her father and the Beast. In our professional lives though we can learn from this magical story too.
As an entrepreneur, we need to nurture our working relationships too. This could pertain to how we network, the relationships we build with our service providers, and how we interact with our future employees. The lessons from any old fairy tale often sound outdated, but not so with Beauty and the Beast.
Here are the lessons that every entrepreneur can and should learn from this epic story of beating the odds, being the underdog and standing strong no matter your circumstances.
Just because you look good doesn’t mean you are good
A pretty logo, a great slogan, and some gorgeous advertising won’t get you very far unless you have an attractive value proposition to back it up. If what you’re offering is weak, ill-prepared for your marketplace, or you’re not ready to deal with your customers yet then you will fail.
Just like Gaston. He is a bully but he looks good, everyone thinks so. However, he has very little to offer other than his looks. He pushes everyone around but because he cannot substantiate why he’s so wonderful, he fails completely in his efforts to woo Belle.
Kindness in your customer service
The Beast locks Belle in her room to try and force her to agree to have dinner with him. In trying to win Belle over, he treats her aggressively but she only agrees to see him when he’s kind to her.
When it comes to how you treat your clients or potential new customers, being aggressive won’t help you.
There are far too many companies just like yours who will make their customers feel valued. And customers will be persuaded by this more than by better pricing, or a flashier brand.
In today’s business landscape, customers value interaction and communication. They want to have a relationship with their chosen product or service providers. They want to be acknowledged and treated with respect.
Find your Mrs Potts and listen to them
Mrs Potts is the little enchanted teapot who has been dealing with the Beast since he was a young boy. When Belle finally listens to Mrs Potts, she gains a better understanding of how to handle the Beast.
Similarly, the Beast accepts the wisdom of Lumiere the candlestick who advises him on how to romantically pursue Belle. And as a new business owner, it would be smart to find your Mrs Potts to advise you on breaking into an aggressive market or a Lumiere who can offer you pointers on attracting the right target market to your offering. Find your mentor and listen carefully to what they tell you to do or try.
Be an academic like Belle
Belle and her books are how we are introduced to this character. She knows what’s up in the real world and that simply settling to marry Gaston won’t take her very far in the world. So she reads continuously because she knows this is how she will learn.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be like Belle. You might know everything about the industry you’re entering but what do you know about running a business?
In order to become a success, you’ll need to have a keen understanding of business. Sign up for part time studies that will help you become a success. Most business owners should consider signing up for marketing courses, human resource management studies and financial management courses.
Stick to your deadlines
Even if the deadline is far away, make sure it’s always in the back of your mind and you’re constantly racing to catch it. The Beast knew there was a deadline but because finding a woman to love him felt like such a challenging task, when Belle arrives he is not ready to handle her or what she represents.
Your most important deadline is your launch date. You’ve likely advertised your launch date to your target market, suppliers and investors and you cannot afford to miss it. Also, by remaining focused on this deadline, if the opportunity to launch earlier arrives you want to be ready to grab it with both hands and make a success of it.
Of course, life is no fairy tale and your business will operate in the real world. But the key messages in this long-standing story are valid and worth a second thought for every entrepreneur.
Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Great Leader?
Because it takes everything you’ve got.
I recently hosted the Next Level Leadership Summit in Connecticut, where the main focus was answering the following question: What does it take to lead?
The attendees were seasoned businessmen who ran multiple 7-figure businesses. They had a chance to hear from entrepreneurs in industries like real estate, finance, tech and health. The stories from each presenter gave proof that it doesn’t matter what business you are in – we all have similar struggles. But the biggest insight was the difference between the chase of success versus the pursuit of greatness.
A leader doesn’t chase success, because he knows the chase is never-ending. He doesn’t care what others think, because he knows judgment kills growth. A leader doesn’t worry about how he’s going to make things happen, because he’s focused on the why that drives him to find a way.
Anyone can achieve success, but it takes a certain type of individual to be crazy enough to pursue greatness. This message hit home for me because five years ago, I got tired of chasing success. I had hit a wall in my life, and everything seemed meaningless. The path I had chosen was no longer fulfilling, and I felt empty.
It made no sense for me to feel that way. After all, I had everything anyone could ever want – a growing real estate business, a beautiful family and money in the bank. I thought I had reached success! So, what was wrong with me?
Was I being ungrateful? No. Was I depressed? I didn’t think so. Sometimes I would ask myself, “What if I ceased to exist?” Would anyone care besides my family? What impact have I made on the world?
It became clear to me that it wasn’t success I was seeking. I wanted to make an impact. I wanted to join the ranks of those whose deepest desire wasn’t the chase of success, but rather the pursuit of greatness. The only way to do it was to become a leader.
Today, we oftentimes confuse financial success and leadership. Just because a man knows how to make money doesn’t mean he’s a good leader. I was making money, but I wasn’t a leader, and all my success didn’t mean I was making an impact.
Too many times as successful businessmen, we can’t figure out how to transfer the skills we use at work into the other areas of our lives. Many of us settle for an average relationship with our significant other when we could have more if we simply applied some of the passion that fuels us at our business. The same goes for our health. We often take it for granted. If the same low-maintenance approach were taken with our work, most of us would be out of business. And, what about making an impact – our higher purpose? Most of us settle for higher revenues and move through life like zombies without a purpose. We eventually burn out.
Greatness comes with a price. You have to be willing to lose it all. At that crucial point in my life, I made a decision to pursue my passion.
I decided to create the Next Level Experience. It was my passion business where I would help businessmen find the edge in their lives, and start living with purpose. I had to start from the beginning, and it was frightening and invigorating all at the same time. For the first time in long while, I felt like I was on the right path. My real estate partners thought I was crazy for putting so much time and resources behind it. They told me if I just put the same amount of effort, I would make 10 times the investment. But I was done chasing success. I wanted to create something that mattered, and I was willing to lose everything to make an impact. It was through that experience I learned I was ready to lead.
Related: What Kind Of Leader Are You?
There’s something about the fear of losing everything that shifts your focus. You turn the switch. I had no other choice but to lead. Five years later I’ve helped thousands of men find their edge and turned my passion business into multiple 7-figures.
So, what does it take to lead? Everything you have. The world doesn’t need more millionaires and billionaires chasing success. The world needs leaders who are willing to do whatever it takes to help others along the way to greatness.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Albert Einstein: An Influencer To This Day
Say the word genius and immediately Albert Einstein springs to mind. To this day his influence remains across not only science, humanity and education but popular culture too.
Albert Einstein had the same mentality as an entrepreneur; he was a discoverer, an educator, a revolutionary and incredibly creative. Below are some of the few more reasons why entrepreneurs can learn from him:
1. Even geniuses get it wrong
Einstein wasn’t always right. The best example of Einstein getting it wrong, was when he had trouble accepting that the universe is based on probabilities, not absolutes. In a famous Einstein/Bohr debate, Einstein stated, “God does not play dice with the universe,” with Bohr retorting:
“Einstein, stop telling God what to do!”
2. One should read
When you find the right book, at the right time, it can have an incredible impact on your mindset. I have learned so much from books, and many have helped me as an entrepreneur. Not only does reading give you quiet time and space to look after yourself, but it’s also exciting to keep discovering incredible insights, and being surprised by their impact.
Now I don’t think I will ever dream up a concept that will have world-changing implications like Einstein did, but reading can open new doors for you and your mind, and take you places you never thought possible.
3. Enjoy the challenge
Einstein didn’t pluck remarkable theories out of thin air. He made many mistakes, he persisted and proved his theories worked.
Einstein would ask challenging questions and ask them in different ways. By doing this, he was able to address the unknown from different angles and eventually unveil some of the most perplexing universal secrets.
4. Your weaknesses are your strengths
Experts such have hypothesised that Einstein might have suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome; a condition where sufferers are described as socially aloof, emotionally detached and exhibit inappropriate social behaviour. But on the flip side, those with Asperger’s Syndrome can display an obsessive interest in a single topic or object. So, while Einstein wasn’t the best at socialising, he relished solitude and made incredible use of his mind.
By embracing his playfulness, curiosity and laser-like focus, Einstein decoded the universe. Not so much of a weakness when you think of it like that, hey?
5. Find your tribe
His professors often criticised Einstein’s ideas; professors who were accustomed to conformity. It was only when Einstein worked as a clerk at the patent office that he made significant strides in his thinking within physics, mathematics and philosophy. The point being, make sure you surround yourself with people who get your creative juices flowing and fuel rather than deplete you.
Your Narcissism Is Killing Your Employees’ Productivity. How To Avoid The Pitfalls
The key is to understand how your narcissism is affecting others and actively work to adjust and adapt your behaviour.
Narcissism appears to be on the rise among today’s business and entrepreneurial leaders, if you read the business pages and academic research on a regular basis. And this isn’t always a bad thing: Narcissists can be compelling leaders capable of executing grand strategic visions.
But all too often they are described as highly self-absorbed individuals who believe they are superior to those around them.
And while successful entrepreneurs tend to have high levels of self-confidence and an intense drive for success, often they’ll fall prey to the problems associated with the darker aspects of narcissism: Specifically, they take unnecessary risks, hold too tightly to their vision when change is needed and fail to recognise the work and sacrifices of those around them.
In our new study, which was published in May in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, my research partners and I sought to gain a better understanding of just how problematic narcissistic leaders are, and what they might do to lessen the negative outcomes. We surveyed 262 employees and their (262) direct supervising managers over a four-week period at a large Chinese technology company.
Overall, we found the harmful consequences of narcissistic leaders to be wide-ranging.
Just how harmful is a harmful narcissistic leader?
We began by asking leaders at the tech company we targeted to complete a widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory test. Employees, meanwhile, were asked to report on their organisation-based self-esteem, meaning the degree to which they felt they belonged in their organisation.
As researchers we were operating on the understanding that the need to belong is a fundamental human need and motivator, but that narcissistic leaders fail to satisfy this need among their employees because of their high levels of self-concern.
Those high levels mean leaders like these ignore the feelings of others. Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, for example, was often described as highly self-absorbed and inconsiderate of others. She was often criticised for being habitually late to meetings and dismissive of her constituents’ ideas and suggestions.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, is also said to be highly abrasive, and to tend to berate employees who fail to live up to his impossibly high standards. One former engineer at the company referred to critical interactions with the SpaceX CEO as an “Elon ass-kicking” and said some employees felt “crushed under the weight” of those interactions. Not surprisingly, both Musk and Mayer have been recognised as some of the most narcissistic CEOs in the tech industry.
Our study found that 51 percent of employees with narcissistic leaders disagreed or strongly disagreed with statements asking if they felt valuable in the workplace. Moreover, this diminished sense of belonging had wide-ranging consequences on these employees’ behaviour. Specifically:
- 34 percent of employees surveyed disagreed or strongly disagreed with statements asking if they helped other group members with their responsibilities
- 31 percent of employees disagreed or strongly disagreed with statements asking if they spoke up to their leader about their own improvement-oriented suggestions
- 37 percent of employees agreed or strongly agreed with statements asking if they badmouthed their leader to their coworkers
- 18 percent of employees agreed or strongly agreed with statements asking if they intentionally tried to disrupt task completion by ignoring their leader’s requests.
Such behaviours are troublesome enough for established companies, but for start-ups – whose survival depends on quick action and cooperation from all employees – the consequences can be dire.
How can narcissistic leaders avoid the pitfalls of their personalities?
We asked employees to report whether their leader consulted with them before making decisions. While this kind of consultation is an influence tactic leaders use to gain employee support, it can also signal to employees that their contributions are valued.
We found that among narcissistic leaders, 27 percent frequently consulted with employees while another 43 percent consulted with employees to some extent.
Importantly, we found that when narcissistic leaders consulted with employees, the detrimental outcomes stemming from such leadership were not simply reduced, but eliminated completely. Here are three takeaways:
Active listening means that you concentrate on the message being communicated; you don’t just passively “receive” the message. Unfortunately, most narcissistic leaders have difficulty focusing on what others are saying and often ignore their advice.
One classic example of a narcissistic leader who altered his behavior to more attentively listen to others was Steve Jobs. Much of Jobs’ success upon returning to the helm at Apple in 1997 was attributed to the drastic change in his interpersonal behavior from his prior tenure in 1985.
Not only was he more willing to listen to his employees, but he was described as someone who “seemed to relish other people’s ideas.” Our research indicated that employees are likely to discount their narcissistic leaders’ more abrasive qualities when those leaders take the time to actively listen to their suggestions.
Don’t just listen. Invite employees’ involvement in the making and development of decisions. Our study demonstrated that when narcissistic leaders invite employees to participate in leadership processes, those employees experience a sense of ownership in the process that can help alleviate the leader’s more harmful tendencies.
In particular, such behaviour signals to employees that their narcissistic leader is not only willing to listen when they, the employees, have concerns or suggestions, but actually desire to receive those employee contributions.
According to Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, the best leaders “make a religion out of being accessible.” Likewise, our research emphasised the importance of narcissistic leaders making themselves accessible to individual employees.
Despite his narcissism, Welch often sent personal notes to his executives and met one-on-one with employees at all levels. Such behaviours were part of the programs Welch instituted to enhance employees’ “feelings of ownership and self-worth” in the GE culture. We found that the individual attention employees receive when they’re consulted provides the interpersonal interaction they crave, but rarely receive, from their narcissistic leader.
Due to the dynamic environment of the typical entrepreneurial venture, communication and cooperation from employees is a necessity for continued growth and survival. Although entrepreneurial leaders may be more narcissistic than their counterparts in non-entrepreneurial vocations, the pitfalls associated with their tendencies may be avoidable.
The key is for such leaders to understand how their narcissism is affecting others and actively work to adjust and adapt their behavioir.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Entrepreneur Profiles3 days ago
Karl Westvig Of Retail Capital Shares His Insights Into A Year-On-Year Double-Digit Growth Business
Self Development1 week ago
5 Inspiring Quotes From Madiba To Stir You Into Action On Mandela Day
Angel Investors1 week ago
A Comprehensive List Of Angel Investors That Fund South African Start-Ups
Ongoing Learning5 days ago
15 Of The Best And Most Unusual Online Courses For Entrepreneurs
Lessons Learnt5 days ago
11 Things Very Successful People Do That 99% Of People Don’t
Small Business1 week ago
Even SMEs Can Use Big Data: Here’s How
Branding1 day ago
Personal Brand Or Business Brand: Which Is More Important?
Strategy2 weeks ago
There’s More To Team Management Than Leadership