Tag Archives: Leadership

Defining What Value Is: How We Use It

What is the meaning of value to you? What is it mean to your team? It seems we often get confused with what the true meaning of value is upon giving it to the customers. We get distracted with our businesses that we tend to focus more on the money and if the money will be there at the end of the financial quarter. When this happens it’s mostly likely our customers start to decline or better yet, when we are starting to plan for a business, we often go into this mindset of asking ourselves if this market we are getting into will bring us a good amount of ROI. Upon this brainstorming phase, we get ourselves stuck and it starts to get painful because the indecisive thinking we can’t get out of.

I have a great friend of mine who is planning to launch his business but he asked me recently about what I thought about the product he was going to release to  public. I liked the idea and told him he should go for it, why is he worried or not executing it right away. He was worried that he wouldn’t make enough profit and all the time putting into it would be wasted, instead he’d be focusing on something else.

It came to me that this issue he was dealing with is very common. Many people who want to start a business have the idea that the only purpose for them to start a business is to make large amounts of money.

Perhaps some is true, but most of whom I’ve spoken with have stated the sole purpose of entrepreneurship is not to make money, but rather to give value to customers. Making customers’ lives easier by solving their problems.

This is the mindset we need when we plan to start a business, we have to deliver value unto customers instead of putting money in our minds. That value people will love and of course will trade in their value (money) in exchange, which will duplicate in time. A history lesson I was taught was that before there was paper as a way to exchange for currency, people would trade something valuable they had in exchange for something they wanted from the other person. This made complete sense; now people are taught to worry more about money thus creating mind full of selfishness and greediness.

Y Combinator’s own Paul Graham says it best in his essays about the true meaning of value and what it really is. How much value is worth is determined by how we and our customers see it. If it doesn’t solve a painful problem they face, that value isn’t worth much. But if the value you create solves their pain and makes their day go by better, that value becomes worth millions.

Instead of focusing if a business idea will make us rich, focus more on if this idea will bring in value to customers with their everyday needs. In other words: value=profits.

I think this is why starting a successful business again for entrepreneurs who already had success with one or more of their businesses is easier because they tend to think more about what is the next value they want to give out to customers and serving them with their needs. It’s something I’ve learned now as I’m maturing more into this leadership phase and this mindset of value can actually be applied to anything we do.

When we work for others as an employee, don’t put yourself with a negative attitude about not doing a certain role because it’s not what the job description stated. Let’s remember that anything we do at work, let’s do it with the cause of value. Not because it’s for the company itself, but for us as well. You may not notice, but others will notice the value you start to give. The more value, the more profit.

As my friend got into that mindset, we began to brainstorm more thorough ideas on how this business would give better value instead if the profits would be there. There is profits everywhere, millionaires know how to make profit anywhere because they understand that giving value first turns it into money in the end.

Now thinking of great ideas to solve customers needs are much simpler, the next part would be having your mind set only on that idea.

As this post comes to conclude, what is the meaning of value for your business to customers? Have you had the thought of value being the same as you previously thought? What would your advice be for someone that is solely focused on a revenue driven mindset?

I Am Growing: Put it in Your Mind

Recently I’ve been reaching out to other leaders and trying to get that momentum going. The response time didn’t come as expected, but I knew many of these figures can’t reply to everyone on time due to the available time they may be having.

When I did get a response it felt very great, a flow of positivity going through my body. However, upon having the courage to reach out to them, I did feel nervous replying back to them. Not sure if you feel nervous yourself when beginning to form relationships with others you most admire, but I began to experience this numbing feeling of what should I say next.

When starting to form relationships, this experience is both nerve racking and exciting at the same time. I do consider it very important to build relationships with people who may help you further down the road, but getting rid of this nervousness seems difficult to handle. How do you work this?

I spoke about this and asked for advice dealing with this situation. He batted off a few but I captured one important advice that I thought was extremely helpful to ease up the nervousness I was getting. First off, that feeling we get of being nervous is quite normal. But the main reason for getting nervous is due to the uncomfortable level we are in. When we feel uncomfortable in an action we are doing, we seem to go numb or question ourselves if we should continue going (self-doubt).

This leader that I spoke with explained to me that if it continues to occur; keep in mind whenever you begin to feel the doubts or nervousness, implement in your head that nervousness or uncomfortableness means you’re directing yourself towards growth.

With this in mind, it helps ease up those nerve-racking feeling one gets and that’s because we are doing something not many people are willing to do. Since that great advice I now focus on implementing it when reaching out, and I hope this advice benefits you as well.

I know there are other helpful ways when dealing with these situations, what helps you the most when dealing with that nervous feeling? How has it improved yourself and how can we implement those strategies?

Is Important? Should Leaders learn Everything

Ever feel like you have to know all the skills relevant to your business? Do you feel it’s a necessity to learn every vital thing? I’m sure we all felt this way; we are focused into our business, we want to be informed a little more about the overall roles of those areas. We go off course of what our roles are and instead take the time to study another area and learn as much possible. Trying to learn everything however, may not be suitable for leaders, it’s instead stealing us taking our time from what we should really be doing.

There are mixed feelings about learning everything, but I’ve came across blog posts and spoke with several leaders indicating that most don’t need to or should know everything. Many who responded to this rather told me that it’s not about what you know, but what you should ask. Asking the correct questions about your organization is one that should be learned. I picked up quickly three important questions: What are the steps needed to fulfill our organization’s vision? Why are we delivering it to the public? And how will our purpose bring an impact to those who use our services?

I recently wanted to learn new skills from another new area. It’s exciting learning new things and demonstrating those new gained skills to friends and associates. The capability of what our minds can capture is astonishing and it’s great to see how we progress even more. However I asked myself why did I want to learn these skills? It came to responses such as saying to myself I want to be able to understand how other areas work. I feel like perhaps there will be a day where a team member and I have trust issues, and his work isn’t what it’s ought to be.

From what I understand now, this could be a waste of time. Instead of trying to spend that time wondering what could go wrong or spending time learning that skill, I should be sharpening more the skills I already have. We have to own what we already have.

The key part here is by surrounding ourselves with people that know more than us relevant to that business area. Our role is to keep the organization at hand running smoothly and keep maintaining that vision we seek. I understand also that we want to seek new skills for pleasure, but what we do is create a team that leaves a brand behind that people will love.

It’s a very opinionated topic for many whom I’ve spoken with. The start-up community, some investors will question what the founder knows in relation to what they will be starting. Would you agree knowing everything from your business’ task are important to learn? How has that experience been? If you look back when starting your organization, would you spend that time again trying to learn those tasks?

Let Go: Agreeing To Let Go At the Right Time

Letting go of something can be perhaps the most difficult thing we come across in our lives. As kids, letting go of something isn’t an option, and therefore we are taught by our parents that the best thing to do is to let go because we may receive something bigger in return. However, it sounds nice, but the greediness within us keeps telling us no, this is comfort and I want it to stay that way.

As becoming leaders, we will come to times where we will face decisions with our relationships and team to determine if we think it’s the proper time to let it go or not. Those frustrating decisions when one of your most loyalists mentions they want to move on and go do their own thing. How do we handle those situations?

I recently experienced one of my very own closest friends I collaborated with deciding to move out of state. It was the most toughest thing I’ve ever heard. I responded to him that no he couldn’t go he has every helpful resource here, but he replied back saying he wanted to start a new life somewhere he desired to be.

Knowing him since my childhood and growing up together, at first I thought it was an insult. After everything we’ve been together and how much we both helped each other, that the end result would come to this. But I began to think clearly now, that as we come to age, not everyone stays in one place. What we have as comfort will not always be there in order to keep growing, we have to give something up in order to receive something bigger in return.

Having a hard thing to listen to, I agreed that I too thought it was the right time for him to carry on to a new journey. I gave him words of advice, and having the great technology we have now, we can on occasion schedule a Skype call to catch up on how things are going.

What I’ve learned from this is that this situation can occur on our team as well. The person we shared our knowledge into, cannot and won’t be there for a long period of time of we want them to be leaders as well. As the saying goes, leaders are hard to keep. They too will have to break free from the pack and hire a great team repeating the same cycle all over.

If we deny them wanting to leave, we are doing ourselves nor them any good. The time to show them great leadership is when we demonstrate them our decision making skills at the point of time. They expect us to deny their reasoning, but when we come to agreement that it’s the right time to take on their journey, we become that root of great influence and respect. We are not only building leaders, but we are building an empire of great leaders and what’s more to have than that?

As of now, we continue to lead pulling forward and not look back. There’s always room for growth and deciding to let go of situations similar to this, can be the right choice made.

To conclude this post, how has letting go made an impact on you? Was it the right choice at the right time? What did you learn from your experience and what can we do based on what you went through?

Consequeces of Holding Someone for Too Long

Have you been in a situation without thinking of what the consequences are when we hold on a team member that loses interest with the entire team and isn’t showing any enthusiasm any longer? Recently I had a conversation with my mother that runs a business about working different ways this situation could’ve been handled.

The discussion was mainly about how one of her team staff was just lacking in her work ethic. She was slow, non-energetic, and throughout the day the manager would be very stressful due to her speed of work. She would on occasion try to motivate her, talk her into giving more passion for her work so they could speed things up and leave customers satisfied, but over-time, it just wasn’t working out.

She mentioned she didn’t want to let her go because she’s been a part of the business for too long, with all the experiences she’s gained and if she were to let her go, finding someone else would seem too expensive for her.

I started to notice something going on here, it wasn’t that she didn’t want to let her go because she was a very experienced member, but rather she’s become dependent on her.

When we start to become dependent on someone for too long, it creates this barrier keeping you from stepping up to take the lead. That person of who we become desperately dependent among will not only notice it, but will take it to advantage and this is where I think starts to get ugly.

Why you may ask? Because a shift in power starts to happen and now the one who is being dependent on starts to play it as a game, sort of like a “you’re nothing without me” type. This will drag the organization down slowly and other team staff will become aware and I’m sure most would start to take off in different direction.

This as leaders makes us weak without hesitation, and we must not be carried into this playing field. What I suggested is that this team member should’ve been let go quickly. The ‘hire slow, fire quickly’ mentality.

When we hang on to a person that doesn’t bring value to the organization any more, they are robbing us- our time, our team, our customers, and our money.

I understand also that there is fear about what happens when we aren’t prepared to let someone go in that moment?

What happened during this situation was that the manager couldn’t handle it anymore and told her how she saw it. She blamed her for being too slow, wasn’t doing quality work and was wasting their time. That staff got upset and at the end of the day she decided to quit.

Soon after they all came to a meeting, they weren’t sure of who they were going to hire next. It was a clueless situation, there was no one in mind for the following Monday to hire. They quickly began post hiring ads everywhere and you could sense the stressful situation they got themselves in. On the opposite side however, they were the ones walking away laughing because they knew she was needed.

So what can we learn from this?

When there’s a person that doesn’t bring value to the organization any more, we have to let them go promptly, but before we let them go; we should prepare ourselves to have a plan of those who can replace them following the termination. This will reduce a lot of hassle and once you’ve found a replacement, it’s best to not go all out on a member in front of everyone, but instead at the end of the day have a one on one discussion with them about their work performance and let them know they no longer will be bringing their contribution to the team. It’s much more organized and saves a lot of time.

What strategies do you tend to use before letting someone go in your organization? Have you ever had to wait onto someone for too long and just decided to stick with it? Was your outcome good or bad? And what experiences have you gained?

Dealing with our Failures

I’m sure most of us through our lives have failed once, the problem however, is how do you come to admitting it to your team? What are the first words you say to your team and how do you bounce back from it?

In churches or the business organization, it probably is about the most embarrassing thing to say up in front of your team with all eyes on you and have them note we didn’t accomplish it or are on a pitfall. So what do we do?

We all have to note that part of becoming a great leader is to willingly admit to your mistakes. We can’t hide them because they will build up and cause havoc amongst you and your team. Especially with pastors. Many pastors at church I have noticed will not acknowledge their errors with the congregation due to the fact many members may leave, and want to make believe that the church has a firm standing.

I think that’s not the case. Once we admit that we have failed in front of everyone, the congregation will not get up and walk away. Instead since we are a team, this creates a tighter bond and much stronger motivation planning out how to bounce back up.

And how do we bounce back up?

Well we already establish ourselves to be motivated so that’s done. The next thing to do is to strategize what we are looking to aim for. What are the goals for the month? The year? Three years from now and how are we going to do it? Is everyone committed to be on board? When planning out, we have to be specific and give details in order to not come across failure again.

Another thought we have to keep in focus is not to listen to those who keep bringing us down (naysayers). If some of the members of the team left and decide to talk about the rest behind their backs, don’t listen to them. Listening to them will only cause more fuel to fail.

As leaders, when we fail, we should most importantly learn from it. This is how leaders become great. We build experience and gain knowledge if the path we are taking is the correct one to succeed. And what I love about this is that when we start to admit to our failures and learn from them, we then will gain more respect from our team or congregation, and that strong bond will be difficult to break.

To conclude, as leaders, how do you handle yourself when wanting to admit to your team of your failures? Do you address everyone about it at the same time or individually have them aware of what’s going on? If you’ve already had them aware, what was the experience like bouncing back up?

One important thing to keep note is that we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. Robert Kennedy quotes:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Guiding Leaders: Giving the Helping Hand in Situations

As leaders, how do you give guidance to other leaders that may be stuck in a certain situation they can’t move forward? You witness them trying to come up with ways of how the problem can be handled, but as a result, he gives in and reacts to the same degree one of the members gave him.

During the weekend our church had a big event going on. Many families from out of state were going to attend and friends invited relatives to come as well. The worship band leader was assigned to decide what will be on the list to play for the public. We all came to agreement of the list, however, one particular member did not agree with what he had decided.

The playlist they had was completely different for what he had in mind. He argued that the ones for this event should be different because it was a special occasion. The music leader cooperated with him but his response did not move him to make any changes.

Getting close to the special event, the same person who didn’t agree to the playlist had gathered himself a new music group without asking the worship leader about it first. The outcome was upsetting. Everyone felt it wasn’t fair and it was rude and disrespectful. He told me he didn’t know what to do because the way he pictured playing music for this event was different than what the worship leader has assigned.

Quickly the worship leader became aware of it, and resulted in being upset and with the mood of not going any longer to the event.

I took notice and I had to act quickly, but the question is-how can I motivate another leader and come with ways for him to handle these situations without authorizing him?

I didn’t want to demonstrate that he is a leader that is weak, rather I wanted him to be aware of areas he needed improvement. As leaders, there’s always continuous need for improvements. I contacted him and discussed to him how can he work things out with that member that disagreed with him. We gathered ideas and he agreed.

I later came communicated with our member that disagreed with the worship leader. I made him aware that I knew about what was going on. Our discussion included that we had to be fair for everyone, nobody is an individual and we are all apart of a team. Next I told him if he wanted to be a leader, he has to learn how to follow first. His reaction quickly came to agreement, as I finally told him to call and discuss with the worship leader, how the separate music group can work with the existing worship group.

On that day it worked out well, there was no problems, except for some technical difficulties at the start, but overall everyone came to the same mindset.

As leaders, how has your experience been like guiding other leaders to lead? Has the outcome been positive or negative? What can you learn as you move forward to becoming a better leader?