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Self Development

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs Constructive Support

As the business leader, who is pushing you to achieve more personally and professionally than you thought possible?

Carl Bates




“I didn’t go into business to be performance managed.” So many entrepreneurs share this statement, and in my experience, it’s one of the biggest stumbling blocks to real growth.

When discussing the value of enterprise governance with business shareholder-managers, this is often the response I get. And it’s true. Getting away from a boss might actually be your motivation for taking that leap into building an enterprise.

What’s quite likely is that you wanted to create something significant, build an empire, create wealth or express your desire to do something truly unique. But here’s the only relevant question: Who ensures that you deliver on this promise?

Game-changing performance

In my experience and through the research I have done, governance is misunderstood and not widely recognised, especially in the SME and privately-held sectors. So here is a golden nugget myth-buster: Governance is as much about performance as it is about conformance.

Related: 9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

Governance is a strategic responsibility and opportunity. It should drive the strategic growth and focus of your enterprise, while holding the enterprise accountable to its promise.

If you are the chief executive, you should also be held accountable for performance in your role as leader. It makes no difference that you might have founded the enterprise or are a majority shareholder.

If you want to achieve your primary goals and the reasons you really went into business, understanding the role of a board in your performance management is critical.

As an independent chairman and director of billion rand privately-held companies, I know what can be achieved by shareholder-managers who are willing to be scrutinised by a board.

It’s not just about scrutiny; it’s about challenge, constructive support and career development. The initial response is usually: ‘A board won’t help me. They will never understand my business the way that I do.’

Once the shareholder-manager starts to see that directors excel at business principles irrespective of the industry, the response becomes: ‘The board holding me accountable won’t get me to perform any better.’ Really? I would beg to differ. In one of our client companies, the chief executive who was very competent had never been performance managed in his 30 year career.

The moment that performance management was implemented, even at a small-scale initially, there was a significant improvement in his performance as a leader.

Boards challenge management to step up to the next level and to let go of the areas they previously held close, which may also have been holding them back. A formalised performance management process is a game-changer.

I know that a shareholder-manager’s governance understanding is evolving when the response then shifts to: ‘That’s an interesting question’ and then to, ‘When is my next performance review?’

When the chief executive then says: ‘What a valuable session that was!’ we know that as a board we have cracked through the block to accountability that will unlock the business on so many levels.

Empowered for Growth

The chief executive of one of our client companies, recently shared: ‘I cannot believe how much I have been freed up to focus on growth. And while this year we did not meet our revenue targets, we have more than achieved the profit line. It’s the board that has forced me to do this.’ Without a board, who is pushing you to achieve more personally and professionally than you thought possible?

Implementing governance and a board is a challenging yet rewarding journey. If you did not go into business to be held accountable by a board then did you really go into business to achieve financial success? In my experience, you can easily have one without the other.

Related: A Formula For Uncommon Success

Carl Bates is a global entrepreneur, speaker, author, mentor and director. Currently based in South Africa, he is a dynamic entrepreneur from New Zealand who guides small to medium businesses to achieve Extreme Business Success.

Self Development

5 Inspiring Quotes From Madiba To Stir You Into Action On Mandela Day

In honour of Mandela Day, here are 5 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspiring quotes.

Casandra Visser



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Bouncing Back


“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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Self Development

25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

If the harshest thing you have to say about someone is partly true, say the other part.

John Rampton



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Did you know that in every language, there are more negative words than positive ones? It seems we need lots of words to describe our negative feelings, but we’re content with a handful of positive ones.

For instance, researchers have found that most cultures have words for seven basic emotions: Joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame and guilt.

That’s one positive emotion, and six negative

It’s no wonder so many of us have a hard time keeping our negative comments in check. Over the past six months I’ve been working on the verbal language that I’ve been using that I don’t even realize hurts others and in some cases makes them feel inferior. I even noticed that I’ve used a couple on my personal and business website. This is a “no-no” that I needed to fix.

This post will list 25 negative words you should avoid…so that you stop hurting, belittling and intimidating those around you!

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Self Development

How To Control What You Can And Influence What You Can’t In Your Life

Every day you need to get up and face numerous challenges. Here’s how you can keep your head in the game — even when all you want to do is quit.

Erik Kruger




On Monday you wake up ready to take on the world. You’re focused, determined and business is doing well. Tuesday feels like you’re invincible and things could not be going any better. Wednesday, your world collapses. You doubt your ability to deliver to your clients. You wonder whether you should still pursue the same business. You think that quitting at this stage is easier than dealing with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And you are dramatically reminded that entrepreneurship is hard.

Mix in human nature and it becomes borderline insanity to try and build a business. And yet, the reward is worth it. I therefore want to share three strategies that might help you cope with this tough but deeply rewarding pursuit.

Influence and control

Most of the things in business and life are out of our control. You cannot control how other people react to your service or product. You cannot control how your employees will show up. You cannot control how the market will react and how that will affect your business.

Related: How You Can Do Big Things

This makes it very important to control what you can and then influence the rest to the best of your ability.

So, what can you control? You can control your actions, reactions and perceptions of the challenges you face. Meaning essentially, that you can control yourself and your efforts.

Do this with excellence and you will automatically influence the people around you and the situations you find yourself in.

Override your moods

If we only did the hard work when we felt like it, we would hardly get anything done. Our moods fluctuate like the tides of the ocean. Not because we are temperamental but because the external world has a profound impact on us.

When you wake up to news that the economy is in recession, it has the potential to plant seeds of doubt in your mind. When you receive an email from a disgruntled customer complaining about your service, it has the potential to ruin your day.

The fact is that you can receive a hundred testimonials singing your praise, but you will obsess and become despondent over that one negative comment.

This means that we have to move beyond our emotions. Sure, they are important in the decision-making process and for fostering meaningful relationships. But you cannot allow them to dictate when you will do work.

In other words, work hard, irrespective of your moods, especially on the days when you don’t feel like it.

Create a calibration practice

One of the best ways to deal with this rollercoaster effect is to create a daily calibration practice. I am a big fan of any action taken on a daily basis. Not only because of the accumulation effect that occurs over time, but also because it keeps you focused.

So, what does a daily calibration practice look like?

It differs for everyone. It could range from meditation to a vision board to journaling to listening to a specific playlist of songs. My suggestion is that you give journaling a go.

Because it’s sometimes difficult to start a new calibration practice, I have included my journaling template for you.

It’s called ‘J1G’ (pronounced as jig). I use Evernote or a notebook from HumanWrites for journaling purposes.

J: Journal

For the first few minutes, simply allow your hand to run across the paper. The idea is for you to dump as many of your thoughts onto the paper as possible.

Some questions you can answer in this section are:

  • What am I currently excited about?
  • What am I currently worried about?
  • Where am I currently winning?
  • What can I learn from what happened yesterday?

1: The one thing that you want to get done today

In this time, I usually have a look at my to-do list and decide which one action I want to get done today. Write it down and then expand on why it is the most important action. How will it move you or your business forward?

Related: Better Thinking For A Better World

G: Gratitude

In the last section, you simply write down three things that you are grateful for. Trust me, this is an important daily practice, but even more so on the days when you feel as if life is beating you down.

When you focus on the things that you are grateful for, you crowd out fear and shift your state of mind to a more positive and productive one.

The punch line

If you can stick to the three ideas I outlined above, I guarantee you will develop more resilience and perseverance. You are an entrepreneur because you chose to be one. Do not allow life to impose its will on you. I have no doubt that you will be better off because of all the challenges you face. Not in spite of them.

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