5 Ways to Assess Your Top Soft Skill

Now that summer is upon us and living is a little easier, this is a good time to invest in your personal growth as a leader/founder. Where to start?

According to the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation only 25 % of long term job success depends on technical skills, where a whopping 75% depends on soft skill mastery. Soft skills include critical thinking, leadership and communication skills, with the latter topping the list. (Actually, all the soft skills have language at their core!)

If you haven’t already discovered – in business, communication is everything.

To identify where your communication skills need a boost, ask yourself and a trusted other :

  1. What comments about my communication skills have I received? In what ways am I most effective in communicating with customers or as leader of a team? How am I least effective?
  2. In what situations (sales, negotiation, conflicts, public speaking, etc) do I find my communication competency challenged?
  3. How would I rate my emotional intelligence (the ability to manage my emotions appropriately and influence the emotions of others) in regards to communication?
  4. Would my team and those I interact with on a regular basis call me a “good listener?”
  5. Does my co-founder (if I have one) complement or conflict with my communication style?

Want to be a more mindful communicator at home and at work? Coaching works! Contact me at [email protected]

Add a Morpheus to Your Mix

A COREageous CEO listens to the good, bad and the ugly.

When passion takes hold and our vision becomes invincible, our mirror gets cloudy and we’re apt to act on murky and idealistic perceptions. It is comfortable to surround ourselves with people who share the same mirror, instead of those that come from a more realistic perspective.

Include people in your organization who will expose the weaknesses you may have denied or overlooked. As in the movie, The Matrix, the character Morpheus delivered the truth. Consider forming a small team of Morpheus’s that will help you see clearly. And will you listen?

In the highly recommended book, “The Art of the Start 2.0” the author, Guy Kawasaki, suggested having a Morpheus for each aspect of your business:

  • Research and development
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Ethics

Kawasaki claims that a Morpheus is the yang to the CEO’s yin. The CEO decides “what” while the Morpheus identifies “what could go wrong?”

Could having a Morpheus on your team safeguard your venture?

Have trouble listening to the hard stuff that could save your startup? Listening is “my thing.” Contact me at [email protected]


Build a Strong Defense!

Marcia from Highland Park, Illinois writes: I started an online business for working mothers that’s requires work wherever I go. But, when I visit my parents, I’m also visiting their depression and their clutter. I’m significantly affected by their negativity. Back at the office, it takes me a few days to get my mojo back. I see my response to negativity as human, but it slows me down precisely when I need to speed up! Any tips?        

It’s  easy for our creative energy and optimism to get dampened by negativity around us: sadness, jealousy, anger, disparaging talk, neglect. The Debbie-downers among us may have some good reasons for their mental state. Most people want to be happy, but they don’t know how. Pep talks and denying their realities waste energy. To be kind to those in pain, to survive the rigors of entrepreneurship and to defend ourselves from negativity seeping into our mojo we, the COREageous, need to cultivate healthy defenses. These actions also serve to lift the spirits of those around us. Try to:
1) Get up early before everyone else, stir up the thoughts that drive you: your personal vision, your WHYs, gratitude or personal affirmations.

2) Work out for at least 15 minutes, something rigorous, preferably outside.

3) Give praise or a sincere compliment to those who are unhappy around you. Listen to connect with them over a meal without expectations for solving their problems.

4) Clean up your work space. What’s your plan for the day? How do you want to finish the day with a high degree of satisfaction? Turn on some upbeat music and rock the day!

Building a strong emotional core is the cornerstone of entrepreneurial success. Let me help you.Contact me at [email protected]

Entrepreneurship Out of Necessity?

The Kauffman Foundation’s “National Report on Early-Stage Entrepreneurship in the United States” in 2020, indicated a spike in the number of new founders with few other income options, compared to those who transitioned from existing jobs to entrepreneurship as an opportunity.

This is concerning because desperation can make one focus on what there is to gain from owning a business versus the work and risk it takes to sustain it.

In addition to an article in the November 2020 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine entitled “5 Questions Every Founder Must Ask,” let me add a few questions of my own:

·      Is your family supportive? Are they well informed as to the business idea, the possible gains, the risks and the home responsibilities you’ll have to off load as you build your business?

·      When you plan your day, are you able to prioritize, manage your time and follow through?

·      Is your work environment free of distractions and interruptions?

·      Have you a way to handle stress, get a good night’s sleep and sufficient exercise?

Being your own boss and creating something that folks will pay for is an enticing proposition, but one that requires “eyes open” all the way.

When we report to someone else there is a structure. As a founder, you need to create your own structure. Let me help you plan, get things done (even the more odious tasks!), done well and on time. Contact me at [email protected]

Creating Your Company’s Culture: A Philosophy to Ponder

A company culture is the vibe of a company. It sets the tone for how you do business internally and externally. It is a philosophy for how you communicate your brand and how you treat people.

As a solopreneur or a founder with a small team, you may think it too early to contemplate your  company’s culture. Not so. Research shows that companies that establish a healthy and positive culture from the start are more successful and sustaining. It is also a well-known fact that fixing a broken culture is a productivity-consuming and expensive overhaul.

As a leader, your team will look to your example as a way to bring mission and value statements to life. So, take a few minutes to envision the ideal culture for your new enterprise:

  • How would you want to be treated if you were a customer or an employee?
  • How do you want employees and customers to feel about your product and service?
  • How can your brand communicate the same intent?
  • When recruiting team players how will you identify those that align with your cultural vision?

Put your answers on paper and abide by them as you build your startup. Be the culture you want to create.

Need more help in defining and building a successful and sustaining company culture? Contact me at [email protected]       

The Ideal Team Player Triad

Your team plays an integral role in your success. Research shows that a weak or dysfunctional team can deflate a startup. Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group, is one of my favorite leadership gurus. When building a team or keeping your team in check, Lencioni suggests you look for three virtues:

Humility, not to be confused with  insecurity or lacking confidence in one’s skills or ability to contribute, is the virtue of putting the team’s interest ahead of their own. Humble players support and encourage their peers. They may go beyond their job description to help another team member in a pinch as it benefits the organization.

Hunger is the desire to work hard and get things done and done well for the good of the enterprise.

Smarts, as Lencioni describes, is less about IQ and more about EI − a team player’s emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication skills.

For more on becoming an ideal team player, go to: www.ted.com/talks/patrick_lencioni_are_you_an_ideal_team_player

Do you have a team or a member of your team lacking in these virtues? Core Coaching can help. Contact me at [email protected]    

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