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Make the decision – be a leader

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=sailing+boat&iid=7204341″ src=”1/e/5/9/Outdoor_Sports_1706.jpg?adImageId=8930591&imageId=7204341″ width=”234″ height=”373″ /]Before you set sail it is probably a good idea to know where you’re going.  In fact, it is probably an even better idea to know if a sail boat will get you there faster or more comfortably than a train.  Or an airliner.  Or even an automobile.  Before you set sail you have to decide if sailing is the best use of your time.  You have to decide if leaving on a Tuesday is better than on a Thursday or if you should sail solo or with a friend.  Lots of decisions to make before heading out on a journey.

Business is not different than sailing in this regard.  Every business has a leader and the leader must make decisions regarding direction and timing.  Oh, he or she gets input from everything and everyone from the Farmers Almanac to the bookkeeper.  Shall you travel north next Tuesday? Well, only if the weather is good and the chores are done and you have the extra cash.

Leadership involves making decisions. And making a decision is the single most difficult task a leader must do.  Let’s look at a couple scenarios.

Scenario One: you and two buddies have a fantastic idea for a business.  You thought up a clever gizmo that will revolutionize the internet and your two friends have some money to throw in and some expertise.  One friend is great with numbers and the other is a super salesman.  However, the business dream is yours and mantle of leadership falls on you.  You get input from your friends and research you’ve done, but you have to decide:

  • what the business will look like
  • when to launch the business and where
  • what aspect of the gizmo to spend this year’s budget on
  • where to best use your sales efforts
  • how to spend your capital

None of these decisions is easy and the business will go nowhere until the decisions are made.  But it’s the making the decision process itself that causes the most stress and anguish.

Scenario Two: you and your buddies have been in business now for five years and are making an annual profit.  You are able to offer your employees good benefits and you were able to finally take a vacation.  One of the friends asks you: now what?  Now where do we go with this gizmo?  They are wanting to know if you want to take the next step of growth in the business through innovation and expansion into new markets.  There is risk involved.  What will happen if you take on the added expense of research and development and speculation?  What would happen if you don’t?  As the leader you have to decide:

  • how big you want your company to be
  • how diversified you want your product offerings to be
  • if the risk of expansion is worth the cost, time and effort

To be a good leader, you have to decide to lead.  What that means to a business is:

  • the leader holds the vision for the business – ‘this is who we are, what we stand for and what we look like’
  • the leader sets the direction – ‘this is where we are now and where we’re headed and hope to be in ten years’
  • the leader is willing to alter course – this could be necessary due to outside economic factors or due to rising opportunities
  • the leader is willing to make the decision to hold or fold [in this lies the interesting thought that maybe a business has a life span…when is it time to retire not just the human element, but the business itself? – that’s grist for a whole ‘nother post]

“…Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall….” Stephen R. Covey.

Even a home-based business person has to shoulder the daily decision of upon which wall to lean the ladder.  And sometimes those decisions just aren’t easy to make.  However, once made, it’s all management the rest of the way.

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  1. […] Make the decision – be a leader « Linda's Business Blog Tags: comparison, farmers, farmers-almanac, from-the-farmers, she-gets, still-hasn, the-comparison, the-leader, will-wait, you-travel FIA announces intention to appeal Briatore decision « Joe Saward's …Commentary » Blog Archive » Obama Blew His First Important DecisionFox Waiting for O'Brien's Decision | Daily ContributorFerrero edges closer to decision on Cadbury | Australian Food NewsIHEC: Mutlak decision "within days" – The MajlisCharles' Purchasing Certification Blog: The Art of Recommending a …Pakistan: a country of interest | Pakistan63OK BLOG » Get the best Insurance Rates: Compare health insurance …Snow Alert: Travel Information (Saturday 9th) | Isle of Wight News …Comparison Shopping India, Online Product Comparison, Price … View the Contact Powered by Video […]

  2. Excellent article….here are some thoughts on leadership:

    Leadership is the art of mobilizing others toward shared aspirations. In a business enterprise, leaders must take care of employees who, in turn, are responsible for taking care of customers, stakeholders, and related outside parties, such as the government and the community, in an ethical manner. This approach also considers implications for the environment and results in profitable growth combined with an increase in the welfare of all parties involved.
    Great leaders are visionaries whose intuition helps them to recognize and capitalize on business opportunities in a timely manner. Their success is based on surrounding themselves with “like-minded” professionals who complement them to help reinforce their strengths and eliminate their weaknesses. They build teams consisting of individuals who complement one another in a way that ensures consistent performance in line with corporate goals. The mantra embodied herein is “Build grand castles in the air while ensuring that they rest on solid foundations.” This is in direct contrast to mediocre leaders who surround themselves with yes-people who, by their very nature, are unable to contribute positively to the bottom line!
    The wisdom of effective leaders enables them to appreciate the views of their inner circle and others. In situations where consensus cannot be reached, they have an uncanny ability to cut to the chase and make informed decisions. They foster an environment that encourages the sharing of ideas through brainstorming while realizing that innovation need not be preceded by the existence of committees.
    True leaders place a great deal of emphasis on culture and shared values. They realize that business involves human beings and that profitable growth results from fruitful relationships. They normally possess both formal and informal power. Formal power is entrusted to them by virtue of their position in the company. Informal power results from their core belief system. They lead by example, thus earning the respect and admiration of their peers and subordinates. As a result, employees are enthusiastic about going beyond the call of duty for “their” leaders.
    Great leaders build organizations that are vibrant and performance driven. They structure employee compensation packages in a way that promotes and reinforces the right behaviors and rewards people on the basis of individual as well as team performance. They believe that a base salary pays the bills, whereas variable compensation, including earnings before interest, taxes, dividends and amortization (EBITDA)-based bonuses, motivates employees to challenge themselves and increase their contribution to the firm on a consistent basis. These leaders find reasons to pay bonuses as opposed to those leaders who find reasons to deprive employees of bonuses they truly deserve!
    Leadership traits can create a virtuous cycle for the firm’s management, employees, clients, stakeholders, and others. Great leaders have a natural flair. There are those who believe that their effectiveness can be increased through education, other methods of training and development, and experience, though to a limited extent.
    Ethical leadership calls for morals, fairness, caring, sharing, no false promises or unreasonable demands on others, etc. Is “ethical leadership” an oxymoron?
    I have a policy of distributing free abridged versions of my books on leadership, ethics, teamwork, motivation, women, bullying and sexual harassment, trade unions, etc., to anyone who sends a request to crespin79@hotmail.com.

    Maxwell Pinto, Business Author
    http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Management-TidbitsForTheNewMillenium.html

  3. Thank you Maxwell for sharing so many insights about leadership…especially your point about ethical leadership. In the United States, given the past couple of years of news headlines screaming about the gross misdeeds of some leaders of commerce, I think more discussions about ethical leadership need to happen…I don’t think “ethical leadership” is an oxymoron at all. Rather, I think those who do wear the mantle of leadership ought to open their eyes and see the responsibility that lies upon them to take their businesses – and all that implies both in human terms and other – on paths that seek the best outcome. It’s time to realize that money/profit is not the priority; what is priority is balance. To use a naval metaphor, everything aboard the ship and the ship itself [the business] needs to be working in synchronized smoothness to get the ship where it needs to go: with the ship itself in tiptop condition, with the crew working smoothly and happy at their tasks [trained, fed, cared for and appreciated], and a cargo suited to the ship’s design and a destination worth the efforts of all. – Linda

  4. Saw your blog bookmarked on Delicious. I love your site and marketing strategy. My Oral Exam Blog – http://begginerslearnforex.blogspot.com/

  5. I agree with everything that was posted in this article, Im a loyal reader so please keep updating so frequently!

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