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5 Ways Leaders Must Evolve Business And Reinvent Industries For The 21st Century

Today’s business evolution requires a new type of leadership and thought mindset.

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Over the past several years, I’ve witnessed the decline of courageous leadership in American enterprise. Rather than welcoming the change in order to evolve, leaders are playing it safe. Where are the leaders with the strategic focus and wisdom to take a leap of faith and the tenacity to find new ways of doing things?

Today’s leaders must have more intimate knowledge of the business, design workplace cultures, and build teams that are focused on continuously evolving with the end-game in mind.

To do so, leaders must embrace a new type of thinking that helps organisations reach higher levels of influence to ensure the overall business evolves and its leaders stay ahead of the rapid changes taking place to compete in the global marketplace.

Leaders must be change agents who are not afraid to get uncomfortable and take ownership when it comes to creating the next big thing for their businesses, people, and industry to evolve. But according to research conducted by my organisation, 78% of leaders have difficulty understanding and effectively articulating the requirements to thrive in the rapidly changing marketplace – and the consequences of not doing so. Perhaps this explains why only 32% of leaders define themselves as change agents.

Related: 5 Leadership Secrets Stolen From Famous People

Here are five ways leaders must evolve business and reinvent industries for the 21st century.

1Build teams and corporate culture for the new wisdom-based economy

Leaders must move away from the traditional workplace model that promotes a top-down, hierarchical, departmental, silo-ed, one-size-fits-all mentality. Leaders accept that we are transitioning from a knowledge-based to a wisdom-based economy.

It’s not just about what you know, but what you do with what you know. This mindset will allow leaders to stop unknowingly creating work environments infused with tension, as they learn to embrace and promote diversity of thought.

2Don’t stand in the way of progress with “substitutional” thinking

Leaders must break free of substitutional thinking (old templates) that slow progress down and make it difficult to measure workplace, strategic partnership, and marketplace evolution and create a distinct competitive advantage.

It’s becoming less about the business defining the individual and much more about the individual defining the business. The minute leaders stop touching the business, they stop understanding the impact that individuality can have on the evolution of the business.

Related: How You Can Use Your Creditors To Fund Your Business Growth

3Enable the full potential of others

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Business evolution requires leaders to continually identify, enable and leverage the full potential of their teams, partnerships, and client relationships.

They must take ownership and be courageous enough to see beyond the obvious to avoid complacency; to anticipate the unexpected to ensure that circumstances don’t force their hand; to explore endless possibilities in search of previously unseen opportunities; to invest in relationships and maximise the utilisation of resources to be more strategic and efficient; to build new ecosystems to strengthen the organisation’s intellectual capital and momentum; and to lead to leave a legacy of significance and sustained success.

4Invest in the Cultural Demographic Shift™ and create new areas of growth

Leaders must commit themselves to invest in the seismic Cultural Demographic Shift – the last remaining true growth opportunity.

This requires a new layer of intelligence that embraces the strategic implications of cultural fluency, innovative team-building, marketing strategies, global competitiveness, and the new requirements for talent acquisition and consumer engagement.

Related: Are You Running Your Business Like Clockwork (Or Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants)?

5View diversity as a profit centre, not as a cost centre

We must move away from the tactical approach of viewing diversity as a cost centre, which clouds growth, slows progress down, and makes businesses vulnerable to new – and less traditional thinking – competitors.

The new way forward is to guide our organisations to be more diverse in their thinking and to broaden their observations to create new profit centres for strategic growth – where talent and market development represent two sides of the same coin. You may only see one side at a time, but they must co-exist because they are unavoidably connected.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Glenn Llopis is the Chairman of the Glenn Llopis Group – a nationally recognized thought-leadership, human capital, and business strategy consulting firm. As a speaker, consultant, and executive coach to Fortune 500 companies and beyond, Glenn guides leaders and organizations to embrace a new type of thinking that helps them evolve and stay ahead of the rapid changes in the workplace and marketplace to drive growth. He is the best-selling author of the book Earning Serendipity and contributing writer to Forbes, Huffington Post, and Harvard Business Review. He has been recognized as a top 20 influential writer at Forbes and a top 100 leadership speaker and business thinker by Inc. magazine. His new book The Innovation Mentality (Entrepreneur Press) will release February 2017.

Strategy

What’s The Worst That Can Happen With A Disgruntled Silent Shareholder?

Whether a shareholder brings capital to the business, experience or connections, you need to ensure everyone has the same vision and values.

Kyle Torrington

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While we often hear that it can be bad to have a silent shareholder that does not want to play ball, it is not often that we make enquiries about how the governance of a company can be hindered by a disgruntled shareholder.

Most of us assume that as long as they own more than 50% of their own company, they are entirely in control of all aspects of the company and how it is governed. This is not true: Even if you are a majority shareholder, holding less than 75% of all the shares in your company can still result in headaches if a minority shareholder, holding at least 25% of the company, becomes disgruntled and neither participates in the decisions of the company, nor consents to the decisions being made.

What is set out below highlights, among others, why it is so important to give shares in a company to prospective shareholders over a period of time, rather than from the outset. This allows for shareholders to prove their worth without you potentially placing your company in a position where it could be held at ransom for many years.

Related: 7 Factors To Determine Who Are Your Employees (And Who Aren’t)

The illusion of holding more than 50% of the shareholding in a company

  • Many people assume that by holding more than 50% of the shares in a company they are free to do with the business as they please. This generally only holds true for basic decisions of the shareholders, such as the removal and appointment of directors. The most important decisions of a company are based on special resolutions. A special resolution requires that shareholders, either individually or collectively, holding at least 75% of all the shares in a company, vote in favour of a specific decision.
  • Examples of decisions that require a special resolution include:
    • Amending a company’s Memorandum of Incorporation
    • Approving the issuing of shares or granting of other similar rights
    • Authorising the basis for determining directors’ salaries
    • Disposing of company assets
    • Mergers and acquisitions.

So, what does this mean for you and your company?

  • If you are a start-up looking to raise funds, apart from some exceptions, you will not be able to issue further shares to new shareholders or anyone other than existing shareholders if there is a shareholder that is effectively dead weight.
  • Should you manage to vote a new director to the board, you will not be able to determine the basis on which they are compensated (their salary) without a special resolution.
  • If you intend to merge with another company, you will not be able to pursue this without a special resolution.
  • If you plan to raise money by disposing of or selling most of the assets of your company you will, once again, be prevented from doing so.

Related: Reality Check: You Probably Don’t Own That Work You Outsourced

Accordingly, it is always best when starting a venture to vest your shares over a period of time. This means that, for example, shareholders are only entitled to have their shares allocated to them after a certain period of time to avoid a situation where you have a dead-weight equity shareholder hindering the governing of your company, and requiring possible litigation to remove them.

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Strategy

There’s More To Team Management Than Leadership

When you’re running a business you need to ensure that your employees are on your side, helping you to make profits. Giving them job security, taking them seriously and treating them with respect, will go a long way in enhancing loyalty and productivity.

Henry Sebata

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The staff that work for you determine:

  1. How happy your customers are with your business
  2. The quality of the things that you sell
  3. The costs that you incur to sell your products and services
  4. Your risks – the things that can go wrong and how much it costs you

All of these things determine your profitability and how competitive your business becomes. How do you ensure that everyone is on the same side and helping you to make profits?

At work everyone believes that they are getting something (such as money) and are giving something in return (such as time and effort). They are weighing up in their mind “how much am I giving, how much am I getting in return and is this fair?” If they believe that they are:

  • Giving too much or
  • Getting too little
  • Then this is unfair, and they won’t work well (poor productivity – how much they produce).

Related: Why Innovative Employee Benefits Are Your Competitive Advantage

The manager needs to:

  • Know what people are thinking about what they are giving and getting and
  • Manage the giving or getting side
  • So that people become more productive

In a smaller business you sometimes cannot afford to pay more or provide the sort of benefits (pensions, medical aid, bursaries etc.) that larger firms can and so the staff may be unhappy, not be productive and be on the look-out for something better.

How do you increase happiness without money?

Everyone wants:

  1. Job security – knowing that you will still have a job next year – and that you will get paid on time.
  2. Contributing to the success of the business. If you train staff to have the knowledge and skills to do a better job and you then encourage and support them to do this then they are happier, and you increase profits. If you then share some of these profits with the staff that helped you to make them then everyone wins!
  3. To be taken seriously and treated with respect. If you do this then staff are happier, and they will also treat your customers with respect.
  4. To be part of the team. You can often do this by having a regular briefing on what your plans are and discussing ideas. Because staff are doing the actual work they will often have good ideas and then will be motivated to implement them – it was their idea after all!

Staff leaving you all the time is a can destroy significant value. If you implement the strategy above, you will have happier staff that are more productive and a more profitable business.

Read next: Understanding Your Responsibility As An Employer

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Strategy

Jeff Bezos Reveals 3 Strategies for Amazon’s Success

One of the richest men in the world shared his leadership tips for running a company.

Hayden Field

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“It remains Day 1.” That’s how Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, signed off in his 2018 letter to shareholders. He’s been propagating the “day 1” mantra for decades, and it’s meant as a reminder that Amazon should never stop acting like a start-up – even though the company now boasts more than 560,000 employees and more than 100 million members of Amazon Prime, the company’s paid service for free shipping on select items.

Here are some of the most useful nuggets of wisdom Bezos shared in his letter and during a recent onstage interview:

1. Standards are contagious

Bezos says he believes high standards are teachable rather than intrinsic. “Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt,” he writes. “The opposite is also true.”

If a company or team operates with low standards, a new employee will often – perhaps even unwittingly – adjust their work ethic accordingly.

He also says that high standards in one area don’t automatically translate to high standards in another – it’s important for people to discover their “blind spots.”

Related: Executive Director Hasnayn Ebrahim’s 5 Rules For Strategic Growth In Your Business

Try making a list of your duties, then ask trusted colleagues to tell you which responsibilities are your greatest strengths. If certain things from the list don’t come up during the conversation, it might be useful to think about how you can up your personal standards in those areas.

2. Set clear, realistic expectations

If you’re looking to raise your standards in a particular area, the first course of action is to outline what quality looks like in that area. The second is to set realistic expectations for yourself – or for your team – regarding how much work it will take to achieve that level of quality.

Exhibit A: You won’t find a single PowerPoint presentation at an Amazon company meeting. Instead, teams write six-page narrative memos to prepare everyone else for the meeting.

Bezos says the quality of the memos vary greatly because writers don’t always recognise the scope of the work required to reach high standards.

Related: Jeff Bezos: 9 Remarkable Choices That Shaped The Richest Man In The World

“They mistakenly believe a high-standards, six-page memo can be written in one or two days or even a few hours, when really it might take a week or more!” Bezos writes.

3. Stay involved with the people you’re serving

Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s a good idea to make sure you never lose touch when it comes to the people you’re serving – no matter how high up the ladder you climb.

Related: Lichaba Creations Founder Max Lichaba’s Inspiring Journey To Entrepreneurial Success

Bezos says he still reads emails from his public inbox (jeff@amazon.com) as a way to keep his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with Amazon customers.

He says he believes focusing on what customers are saying is much more important for success than focusing on what competitors are doing, and he often compares customer feedback to company data to see where they misalign.

“When the anecdotes and the data disagree,” Bezos said at a recent leadership forum at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, “the anecdotes are usually right.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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