A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
The NBA Finals this week are giving us a great showcase in two distinct leadership styles -- the outspoken dynamic of Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, and the reserved, rock-solid dependability of San Antonio Spurs veteran Tim Duncan. Despite the obvious differences between them, both players developed their leadership abilities over time, says Trevor Turnbull, the chief operating officer of sports news site Sports Networker and the Sports Executives Association, and both elevate their teammates' play. Similarly, business owners who put in the time and effort to grow as leaders are able to motivate their staff to do great things.
Take LeBron's charismatic style. At halftime in the crucial fifth game of the Eastern Conference Finals this season, the Heat were down by four points against the Indiana Pacers. James rallied his teammates with an impassioned speech designed to inspire a sense of urgency in their on-court performance. The Heat went on to win by 11 points and advance to the Finals. "As a charismatic leader, you can infuse a level of energy and enthusiasm into your business to motivate your team," Turnbull says. "Engaging with your team and believing in your own people can be essential to driving the company forward." More: Lessons in Business Leadership From the NBA Finals
Keep challenging your employees.
In many companies, new employees often find themselves "hanging on by their fingertips" and have to overcome the challenges of a new job with passion and energy, says Joseph Folkman, a leadership consultant and author of The Power of Feedback (Wiley, 2006). But over time, many employees master their job functions and stop growing. The solution to this stagnation is to give them a new challenge or problem to work on. "If you put people in a position or task they haven't done before, you'll see that new job cycle start up again," Folkman says. More: How to Deliver Uncomfortable Employee Feedback
Bring your social network into the real
Social media makes it easy to connect with colleagues and potential mentors, but being followed on Twitter or adding someone to your network on LinkedIn isn't enough. You have to build relationships in the real world, according to marketing and business-development expert Lewis Howes. Among other things, he recommends setting up one or two meetings each week with new people in your network. More: 4 Ways to Turn Online Relationships Into Valuable Business Contacts
Prove your grand vision on a small scale
Better Place was founded in 2007 to support electric cars by building switchable electric-battery stations around the world. But despite raising $836 million in venture capital, the company was forced to shut down in May of this year. One of founder Shai Agassi's mistakes was that he built too much too quickly, says Peter Cohan, president of Peter S. Cohan & Associates, a management consulting and venture capital firm. Agassi thought his business would quickly gain a large number of customers, but this didn't happen. "It might have been better to try the idea at a much smaller scale -- creating prototypes in close collaboration with early-adopter customers -- before building a huge, capital-intensive network under the assumption that [he] had to be first to market," Cohan says. More: Lessons From a Startup That Scored $836 Million in VC -- and Failed
Judging success and failure by the
It's important to quantify the success and failure of your business. By attaching numbers to your goals, you can understand what it will take to build a profit-making enterprise and what will constitute falling short. "For example, if your sales team made 500 outbound calls already, your number of customer complaints is less than 10, and your average delivery time is less than seven days, you can rest assured that your business is running smoothly," says Dave Lavinsky, the co-founder of Growthink, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm for entrepreneurs. More: Numbers You Need to Know to Grow Your Business
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