What are the Secrets to Being a Remarkable Leader?

Who’s your leader?

I have been fascinated for years by leaders and leadership. This has come about for a few different reasons.

As I have moved from the military to academic, then corporate and now entrepreneurial environments, I have experienced a huge spectrum of leaders and leadership styles (or lack thereof…), and have benefited from the journey. Whether I have worked for the best or the worst, I have learned a lot.  Reading about leaders and how they work with their teams and interact with people has been very interesting too. I always enjoy the more comprehensive view into their lives and who they actually were, the god and the bad. that comforts me as a human being, knowing that those who have been placed in these places of leadership suffered from flawed personalities and persevered.

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How Do You Set the Table for Unparalleled Awesomeness?

Can you remember the single best dining out experience you’ve ever had? Whether it was the best steak ever, stir-fry to die for, or that anniversary dinner at the Killer Italian Place, do you remember what it was that made the meal memorable? The company probably had a lot to do with it, but the context and environment had a BIG part in the whole thing, too.

This same principle holds for your content and whether it is share-worthy or not. If that serving of shrimp linguine had arrived in a Styrofoam container with a packet of generic grated cheese and a plastic fork, the night might have been memorable for entirely different reasons! You expect premium content to look like premium content, too.

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Say What?! Do You Know The Odd Truth About Reviews?

How often do you get honest feedback about how you’re doing? I mean, honest….it doesn’t NEED to be brutal, just a truthful, balanced opinion from someone, based on their experience. A large number of businesses are scared of feedback and reviews on their various social media pages. This is despite the fact that this is an important form of social transmission and enhances the word of mouth referrals they value so much in the off-line world. These can make or break a business.

Social proof is a fuzzy concept to some, but basically it is an accumulation of the clues in our environment we use to make decisions when we don’t know the truth (a H/T [Hat Tip] to Mark Schaefer for this clear definition!) Reviews are one avenue for prospects to check you out if they’ve never heard of you before and are considering buying what you offer. Nielsen reports that 84% of people say that online reviews influence their buying decision.

There are two components to successfully working with customer reviews.

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Do Your Passions Make You More Human?

Signature of Richard P. Feynman

Signature of Richard P. Feynman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is much too easy to burrow into your business and go deeper into the knowledge, building more depth and expertise in that area so you can be an even better resource for your customers. But doesn’t this turn you into a “one-trick pony”? For example, in my social media consulting business, does it truly broaden my mind and stretch my intellect to become more facile in the inner workings of Facebook and Content Marketing…or is it kind of “more of the same”?

I have other interests. You do, too. How do I indulge them, push the boundaries of my interests, and maybe even develop new ones? I need to consciously expose myself to knowledge I probably wouldn’t otherwise, and I have to set aside the time to do it. This is a challenge as an entrepreneur, but to not do it means that I’m less likely to keep growing intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. There is also a much higher probability that, in exploring some of these new landscapes, I might come across a couple of new ideas that inform and impact my business in ways I have no way of anticipating now.

So, where do I start?

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A Prairie Dog Place

English: A black-tailed prairie dog at the Nat...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always found pictures of prairie dogs popping up from their burrows to be hilarious. There’s something about the idea of this small animal getting a better view of its surroundings that just makes me smile. This made me think of some experiences I’ve had lately with smaller local businesses.

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The Change of the Moment

mindfulness 1.0

mindfulness 1.0 (Photo credit: Mrs Janet R)

Like it or not, most of the passing moments bring something a bit different than what I am expecting.  That’s really just a fact, an observation. Whatever I plan, even in the midst of doing something that I feel like I have complete control over (like writing this post…), moments seem to move in a slightly different way than I thought they might.  Most of the time the changes are so small, so quantum-sized that they are virtually unnoticeable. That doesn’t change the fact of their existence.  What does change is my perception and acceptance of them.

Open the Box–Wood Floors

Timber Floors Pty Ltd - Forest Reds

Image by timber_floors via Flickr

I opened the box today and found hard wood floors..in boxes…with guys and their tools ready to start installing it all.

This has been my life this week.  My family and 4 cats have voluntarily relegated ourselves to a couple of large connected rooms (mostly to keep the cats out of the flooring stuff) in the evenings, and the cats are there during the work day (plenty of food, water, toys, and, heaven help us all, litter…).  It’s not comfortable and we’re all dearly looking forward to when (hopefully late this afternoon) they will be done, do the final sweep up, and we can reassemble our normal lives.

So, beyond the obvious, I started to think about what this evolution has entailed and what else I can learn from it.  Here’s what I have so far…

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