Ask me who I view as the most entertaining entrepreneur around and I don’t have to think twice about it.
I love watching this guy surveil and engage at Maverick games, on Shark Tank, at celebrity events and motivational seminars—wherever. Even with that “made for the Mafia” scowl of his, he’s all passion and charisma. A cheetah-quick mind; wit as dry as breakfast cereal before the milk. And the transparency of a junkyard dog about what he thinks. He’ll tell anybody who’ll listen that they can replace him as “the world’s luckiest man” and then warn you that he’ll fight to keep the title because he loves the competition.
So what if this Mark Cuban came to me and said, “I’m ready to take competing to a new level. What comes next?”
I would tell him this:
The idea of competing is in big, big trouble. And people who think like a shark are mainly the reason why. Cheating is all too commonplace and too seldom punished. And the playing field available to everyone else is getting smaller and more uneven. Today’s avaricious, power-hungry sharks are getting bigger and bigger. Anyone who gets in their way is seen as bait fish. And each of them wants to be the last shark swimming—to at last have everything for themselves.
But, you ask, isn’t this the way the great Scottish economist Adam Smith and the other framers of free enterprise intended competition to be?
And isn’t this the best way to get the creative “churn” that fuels innovation and keeps the system, the organization and the individual dynamic and questing and fresh—at the top of their game?
Unfortunately, it isn’t.
If you want to take competition to the next level, Mark, my advice is this: I think you ought to give up thinking like a shark altogether and start thinking like a dolphin. Why? So you can see and understand competition in a much different light.
You will begin to realize that competition’s role in free societies is much greater than simply helping to keep the pots of commerce and technological innovation fresh and bubbling.
In its most important sense, competition is what We, the People, use to compensate for the fact that much of the time this brain of ours is wildly inadequate for determining the most suitable actions we can take to assure ourselves a viable future.
That’s because our brain is constantly cherry-picking the evidence and dismissing anything that doesn’t fit our preferred personal story line. The experts have given the name “brain biases” to these subjective processes in our heads. Wikipedia describes several hundred of them. Without us even realizing it, our brain is ceaselessly distorting reality, trying to make it to fit our beliefs and prejudices and automatic (sub-conscious) cognitive processes.
But even before psychologists and neuroscientists began to realize just how big this problem is, some very bright people had already sensed the danger.
That’s why we’ve set up one institution after another in the past three centuries where you and I can argue about what is true and right, what is smart and needed. Can argue tooth and toenail, with fur flying. We call these “arenas of competition” marketplaces and democratic governments and law-based judicial systems and scientific laboratories.
So don’t think of human competition just as a sporting business, Mark. (I know you’ve even used that idea as a book title.) Instead, think of it as the greatest incubator of human improvement ever devised. Viewed this way, competing becomes a sacred trust. The idea and the ideal must be protected at all costs. And the means to compete must be kept vibrant, accountable and as fair as possible.
Some years ago, I began to sense that protecting the ability to compete in rapid-change times was going to require at least some human brains to rise to the occasion—to, indeed, move on to the next level. Their brains were literally going to have to experience a “rapture of the neurons” and wire themselves differently.
You can imagine my delight at discovering research like that of the late American psychologist Dr. Clare W. Graves indicating just such a phenomenon was already under way. Vibrant new world-views—systems of beliefs—were a’borning in inquisitive, changing brains. They were the product of a vigorous competition within the brain itself that our best researchers into the mind are still struggling to understand.
For years now, I’ve called the new brain-view I like best “the dolphin mind.” (Why? Because I’ve always liked aquatic metaphors—and what’s not to like about the ocean’s innovative, big-brained, sleeps-with-one-eye-open dolphin?)
When the human “dolphin” competes, it’s for the purpose of determining whose ideas are right and whose aren’t, not seeing who can destroy the other the quickest or capture the biggest slice of the pie.
Dolphins are mobilized and motivated by a fiercely pragmatic, diamond-bit-ended search for what works, what’s possible, what makes sense. And this, in itself, can make them formidable competitors.
Even when competing, dolphins tend to tell the truth as they understand it. This is because they believe truth-telling is the most effective way to avoid wasting time, energy and resources on useless, unproductive drama. Also, they believe that this is the straightest route to, and the quickest mechanism for, being trusted and being able to trust.
Dolphins like to win. But they don’t need for you to lose unless you insist on it. If there is little at stake or if they can learn something significant in doing so or if it can make important things happen, they aren’t opposed to losing either.
If dolphins have a trademark rule it is “First things now.” Relentlessly pragmatic, dolphins almost always act on “the big picture” and do it quickly. But if it helps to find the next right, smart, good thing or move, they are also capable of focusing on the smallest details.
Dolphins don’t care where good ideas come from. And they are always open to alliances and collaborations that work and make good things happen.
Dolphins are willing to retaliate to get their point across, counteract unfairness or sweep aside the obstinate, the ridiculous or the superfluous. But they don’t do so recklessly. They understand—as psychologist Jonathan Haidt has observed—“order is really hard to achieve. It’s really precious, and it’s really easy to lose.”
So, Mark, that’s what I see ahead for competition’s next generation of leaders.
It’s going to take lots and lots of Enlightenment-loving dolphins. They are going to need to do everything they can think of to protect our ability to compete. To test our best ideas and efforts vigorously but accountably. And to make sure that everyone who wants to participate gets to play on a level field using rules that are fairly enforced and methods that flag and contain the cheats.
Your leadership is vitally needed to protect the sacred trust that we’ve used to build the most productive societies in the history of civilization. So, first things now! It’s time to make the leap to the next level of competing!
3 Areas You Should Focus on to Become a Great Leader
Having listened to all of our stakeholders and being fully aware of the situation, spring is a good time to conduct a quarterly review to see exactly where we are in order. This helps us have a clear starting point to re-adjust our goals for the coming year.
One of the main problems tends to be that we look back at the things we haven’t done and where we didn’t get the results we intended. Because of this, we get ourselves in a state of anxiety which is hardly a resourceful state for setting positive goals.
A better approach is to be nice to ourselves. Have a look back over the last three months and check all the things you have achieved. Give yourself a treat for all of the things you planned to achieve and did. They may be something as simple as maintaining a to-do list or smiling more.
Afterwards, think of all the things you achieved which weren’t planned and congratulate yourself on your flexibility and creativity; for the person with the greatest flexibility of behaviour controls the outcomes.
For those results that weren’t as you intended, remind yourself that we all make the correct choice at the time we make it. We don’t deliberately make the wrong choices and whatever the outcome, there’s always a positive intention. There’s no failure, only feedback, and we learn more from our failures than we do our successes.
“Be good to yourself. Listen to your body, to your heart. We’re very hard on ourselves, and we’re always feeling like we’re not doing enough. It’s a terribly hard job.” – Marcia Wallace
Look to yourself
It is vital, especially for sole proprietors or owner/managers, to manage themselves in order to be fit, healthy, and relatively happy. Evidence points to a clear relationship between our moods and assorted aspects of job performance such as decision-making, creativity, teamwork, negotiation and leadership.
While success may put us in a good mood, an organisation that sees the glass as half full rather than half empty, stands a better chance in these difficult times.
Depressed individuals will always see the glass as half-empty and even rapidly emptying. This attitude saps energy and leaves those affected feeling worthless, helpless, and hopeless. In its worst case, depression can impair the ability to communicate and it’s not hard to see the organisational parallels.
Below are three elements within all of us that need to be taken care of:
1. Your mind
The key to a healthy mind is variety, so take an interest in other people, things, events and current affairs. Adopting an open and curious mindset allows us to see future possibilities and hence be more empowered.
2. Your body
A healthy body requires a solid routine. Ensure you eat and drink healthy products (especially water) and get plenty of rest and exercise. Knowing our own limitations and taking action to stay within them ensures we operate at our best.
3. Your spirit
Much has been written about feeding or maintaining the spirit but I believe there is one simple rule. Believe in something that is true to you and spend time each day with your true beliefs. Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm and is as needful to the imagination as friends are to our character.
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton
Beyond individual performance, there are broader issues at stake. None of us are islands, happy in our own little depressed world. Moods, good or bad, are infectious and some people or positions can have a greater ripple effect than others. If a shy apprentice has a gloomy outlook, few may notice. But if people like the owner/manager are wandering around looking like the end of the world is coming, that can directly affect team spirit.
Water bearer or well poisoner
So what can the organisation do? Firstly, as individuals, we must show a positive and upbeat demeanor. That’s not easy and faking it will easily be spotted as the deception will be transparent. This isn’t unauthentic, but merely an attempt to empower ourselves.
Congruent leadership offers the means to put into words what it is you are experiencing with the person in order so your behaviour is consistent with your own values and beliefs such that you always appear to be what you desire to be.
Your mood as a leader then is highly contagious. Even though leaders or opinion formers aren’t always in leadership positions, they’re at the centre of informal networks. They have charisma and magnetism, possess strong opinions, and express them forcefully. Therefore, they have considerable social power and can have a direct effect on morale by being a water bearer or well poisoner. Which are you today?
What resonated most with you about this article and leadership? Share your thoughts below!
The 6 Step Process for Delivering Critical Feedback in a Constructive Way
We have all been in the position where we knew we needed to have a difficult conversation at work that involved delivering constructive feedback. Maybe a major deadline was missed, there was a clear decline in performance, or someone blatantly dropped the ball. Most of us avoid delivering the feedback, and the conversation can get pushed back again and again, wasting valuable time and money.
Delivering constructive feedback is challenging, and uncomfortable for most people, even highly trained leaders. Yet, delivering and accepting feedback is one of the most important keys for success. So why do we avoid these conversations? Because we never learned how to have them.
Open, honest, direct communication is not a skill we are taught in school. There is no “How to Have Tough Conversations” 101. As a clinical psychologist that specializes in couples work, I see just how important communication is in maintaining thriving relationships. I understand that good communication is the foundation of every successful relationship; both intimate relationships and your work relationships.
Below is a 6-step guide to providing constructive feedback:
Step 1: Clarity on the Goal of the Conversation
The first step is to get clear on the goal of the feedback conversation. Are you planning to see a change in performance, simply communicate how you felt, or receive an apology? Get clear on what you are hoping to get out of the conversation. Be honest with yourself about what you need, what is most helpful to the relationship, and what is most helpful to the organization. Getting clear on the goal also ensures you are speaking with the right person.
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk
Step 2: Invitation
Set up a time to talk. Feedback conversations are not meant to be had in the hallway. It is important that both parties can set aside adequate time and have the space needed for dialogue. Additionally, there must be respect for both parties’ need for time to process information. For example, if you are delivering feedback, and the receiver needs time to process the feedback before responding, setting up a subsequent meeting will be most helpful.
Step 3: Ownership
Own the role you played in creating the situation. When you model ownership of blind spots, failures, or missteps, you set the stage for the receiver to do the same. For example, you may acknowledge that you were not aware of how to support your employee and not aware of the problem until x situation occurred. Equally important as owning your role, is owning your emotions. Own your emotions using “I” statements. For example, “I felt disappointed when I realized your sales performance had substantially declined”.
Step 4: Open, Honest, Direct Feedback
Feedback that dances around the problem does not do anyone any good. It only increases anxiety on behalf of the receiver, and potentially causes the feedback to get totally lost. The conversation needs to be open, honest, and direct. For example: “I felt concerned when you did not attend the last two strategy calls this month…It brought up questions for me about your commitment to the company.”
Step 5: Listen, Validate and Accept
When providing feedback, it is important both parties maintain an open mind, and respond in a way that communicates validation and acceptance. As soon as an individual gets defensive, feedback cannot be taken in, and the value of the conversation dramatically decreases. When providing feedback it is important to listen, validate, and accept your receiver’s viewpoint. Notice, I did not say agree. This looks something like saying: “I can see why X led you to commit Y , I understand you were under a great deal of stress/dealing with a personal situation/frustrated.”
Step 6: A Clear Plan for Moving Forward
In providing feedback, the magic is that now things can change! If feedback is never given, relationships end, things will stay the same, businesses will die, and money will be lost. If you have gotten to this step, that means you did the hard work, and now you get to put change into action. A clear plan includes an acknowledgement from both parties regarding what they will do differently to prevent the situation from occurring again, and how they will stay accountable in making the change happen.
The good news about delivering feedback is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, giving and receiving feedback is one of the most surefire ways to open yourself up to massive growth.
As a giver of feedback, it is your job to model openness and a desire for growth, so that the receiver may take in the feedback and make the necessary changes. Exceling at feedback delivery will help you set you apart from others and enable you to achieve extraordinary relationships, in both your personal and work lives.
Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show
Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.
What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.
1. Perceived Expertise
When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.
They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.
2. Global Acknowledgement
One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.
The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.
“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Backed By Numbers
One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.
The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?
4. Effective Communication
While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins
These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.
Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!
5 Essential Skills to Drive Success in Every Niche
There are many people who don’t have the courage to launch a business in a niche as they think they don’t have the right skills and experience to obtain success. While there are specific skills which determine the success in every niche, there are also some general skills which ensure success in any business you would try.
Below are 5 essential skills you need to drive success in every aspect of your life:
When you launch a new business, you need to be prepared for difficult moments such as fighting the competition and winning your target audience. Moreover, if you follow some successful entrepreneurs, you should keep in mind that they also faced difficulties and continue to experience them. So, how does a successful entrepreneur get over all the difficulties?
The essential skill you need to possess is called ambition. Set small and clear milestones in your development plan and use your ambition to go over each difficulty and finalize what you had in your mind. It doesn’t matter how hard the path is going to be. Visualize your target and put in all the efforts to achieve it. Staying organized and scheduling each step to get things done are some of the techniques you can use to achieve success.
2. Listen to those around you
While listening to your instincts is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is not enough. As your business develops, you will have an entire team to manage and lead to success. Therefore, you cannot be a successful leader and have success in every niche unless you learn how to listen to the people around you.
You should listen to your employees and discover what they are expecting from you. This is the way to follow if you want to keep your team motivated and help them give the best of themselves.
On the other hand, you will need to listen to your customers to improve your products and services and provide excellent customer support. By listening carefully to the voice of your customers, you will be able to stand out of the competition and ensure their loyalty towards your brand.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
When you decided to become an entrepreneur and build your own business, it means you are a courageous person. Courage will help you harness the power of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel a specific action will bring more success to your business.
Apart from doing intensive research on your ideas and developing the exact steps you are going to follow, you will need the courage to implement them. Not all the ideas will turn out to be successful.
Regardless, you will have something to learn from each success or mistake and this will help you move your business even further. When you have the courage to follow a path which is not very familiar to you, this is going to be the moment when you will widen your horizons and exceed your limits to achieve success.
4. Creativity and imagination
If you already implemented your idea and you see that it works, you most probably think that you don’t need to change anything to achieve more success. You need to keep in mind that customers’ preferences change and your competition is waiting for your mistakes to “steal” your clients.
Therefore, you need to use your creativity and imagination to improve your products and services to meet your customers’ expectations. What is more, creativity can also mean that you are open to talk to new people and use their experience to improve something in your business.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
5. Continuous learning
If you want to drive success in every niche you will need to show a willingness to learn. You need to stay updated with what happens in your niche and what your customers expect from you.
Education is not only something for school. It is a lifelong process, and you should be open to seek knowledge and improve your skills with every opportunity. An efficient trick is to stay close to people who are already successful in your industry, ask their opinions on various subjects and learn from their experience.
The above five essential skills will help you build a successful business in every niche. A true leader is ambitious, knows to listen to the people around him, and is always open to learning from others.
No matter the size of your business, you will need to be creative and use your imagination to improve your products and services. These skills will help any leader develop new skills, stand out of the crowd, and strengthen his position on the market.
What skill do you think is most important to be successful in life? Let us know below!
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