Becoming the top brand in any market segment requires leadership qualities second-to-none. But it’s a position every seriously dedicated entrepreneur should strive to achieve. In doing so, as you travel along your journey, you will ratchet up your performance and get far-reaching results.
These are the key attributes I suggest you seek to master if you wish to become a rock star chief executive.
1. Be a Decision Maker.
The company leaders behind the best known and biggest selling brands must be individuals who can make decisions. Once you’re presented with options you need to firmly lay down the road to be traveled. No prevaricating. No pussy-footing around. No “splitting the difference” approach in an effort to keep everyone happy. No “let’s try a bit of this and a bit of that.” Take decisions and take responsibility, and forge ahead.
2. Lead by Example.
Don’t expect your team to do anything you’re not willing to do yourself. You need to lead by example. Roll up your sleeves and get the job done. Get down in the trenches when necessary. Burn the midnight oil when necessary. You must be the best role model with the best work ethic. You can’t expect and demand hard work and top quality from your employees if you don’t do that yourself. Display your commitment to the brand. Your energy will prove magnetic.
3. Get Focused.
You must have a laser-like focus on meeting a specific market need. You cannot be “all things to all men.” You cannot target the world. Analyze the audience for your product and make sure you’re delivering the best product and the best service at the most competitive pricing. Make your messaging tight. Don’t confuse the customer. Are you selling quality? Reliability? Speed? Design? Consumers are on the receiving end of thousands of brand messages a day. How many of these messages actually penetrate? Make a choice.
4. Learn How to Delegate
Brand leaders can’t do it all by themselves. They have to find like-minded individuals who share their passion and vision and can help implement the marketing strategy. Find people you can trust and to whom you can delegate important tasks. People who have talents you don’t have. People with the same work ethic who can help grow the company. Find executives who are so good that you can truly trust them to take on the mantle and run the business the way it needs to be run. People who will carry on and build your legacy. Knowing how to delegate is an ever-more-important skill the bigger your company grows.
5. Go with Your Gut.
Great brand leaders have great instincts. They often have a magic touch because they go with their gut. It’s not that they ignore facts or sound advice. Of course, they take all pertinent information into any equation, but at the end of the day they often have the uncanny knack of intuitively making the right decision, even if it’s a bold extraordinary decision. But don’t forget that it’s instinct born out of experience and success.
6. Establish a Higher Purpose.
Entrust people with your heart. Empower and inspire them by sharing the ultimate purpose. Motivate them by enabling them to appreciate your mission and the benefits of joining forces with you. No-one really just wants to work for a paycheck; ideally they want to work for a cause. When there’s meaning to their work, their work takes on meaning. When their work is important they will thrive emotionally and intellectually and your company will also be the beneficiary.
7. Relate to Your Customers.
Great brand leaders understand their audience. They can get inside the heads of their consumers; they know what makes them tick; they know what the customer wants and then they provide it. You can never stop thinking about the wants of your customers. Without customers, especially long-term repeat customers, your business won’t exist.
8. Learn How to Communicate.
You can’t expect people to be mind-readers. So great leaders have the ability to clearly define their corporate vision and communicate it to the troops. There may be times when a project is forced to change course. Make sure that everyone understands what’s going on. Don’t sow confusion. The better able you are to lay out your plan the better able your employees will be to execute it.
A final note: Many people have great ideas. But turning an idea into reality is another matter. Successful implementation is not a common occurrence. Three out of four venture-backed start-ups fail. Putting together the right kind of team is an essential step to take in executing one’s dream; in ensuring that you’re not just a dreamer but a successful dreamer-entrepreneur; to reach your ultimate prize.
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