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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    integrity

    Your Inner Circle: Building Your Leadership Team

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    Imagine that you want to move a 4,000 pound hulking mass of metal, plastic, rubber and fiber from your home to your office. In other words, you want to drive your car to work. The primary device of movement you will need is a set of wheels. Since its invention more than 6,000 years ago this basic tool has facilitated the transportation of objects across the world. The original design of the wheel was a solid frame, until the discovery that spokes made it lighter and faster, thus easier to use. While its design and aesthetics have evolved, the simplicity of its use has remained the same. It provides mobility and progress. Continue reading

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    The Accidental Entrepreneur

     

    Most of what we accomplish in building a business involves balancing the right combination of the person, product and profit. The person must possess the right business and leadership skills.  The product has to be in demand for the market.  The profit comes from sufficient funding and management of resources.  But is it possible to accidentally be successful as an entrepreneur?

    Auntie Anne’s pretzels is a phenomenal success and today has 1200 stores across 26 countries, with 2012 sales of $410 million. The business wasn’t a likely candidate for such success though when it was started by Anne Beiler. Anne was raised in the Amish community and when she married at 19, her only goal was to become a mother. Unfortunately, a tragic accident killed one of her daughters and her marriage went into a crisis for six years. Thankfully she and her husband were able to restore their relationship. In an effort to support other families going through similar marriage and family issues, they opened a free marriage and family counseling center in their community. To fund this initiative, they purchased an Amish-owned store that sold pretzels, pizza and ice cream for Anne to run.

    Business owner holding an "open" signAnne lacked the education, financial backing, and business plan for this entrepreneurial adventure, but credits her success to her discipline, teamwork and perseverance instilled through her upbringing. Over time she improved on her recipes, narrowed the product to just pretzels, learned how to market, built a franchise operation, and found an angel investor. She credits her overall business success with using three small Ps, purpose, product and people, to yield one big P, profit. After about 17 years of ownership, she recognized that the company’s growth was outpacing her capability and capacity, and she made the difficult decision to sell it. The company still bears her name, but she has no financial interest in it.


     

    The Entrepreneurial Knack

    Contrast Anne’s skillsets as an entrepreneur with typical traits and characteristics of entrepreneurs as suggested by Kara Page of Demand Media. These traits include:

    • The ability to motivate yourself and others.
    • Integrity of your product or service, and yourself
    • Creativity to continually identify new ideas and opportunities,
    • Inquisitiveness to ask questions and engage in continuous learning about the competition and your own business
    • Willingness to fail and ability to evaluate what went wrong to keep trying
    • Sociability to meet potential clients, suppliers and develop networks.

    This challenges my paradigm of the skills that are really most important to be a successful entrepreneur, because what I expected to see, but is missing from this list are the standard items like education; experience in financial management, marketing, sales, or operations; strong leadership skills, etc.  As the business grows, the entrepreneur can hire people with these skills, but in the early years, the founder/entrepreneur frequently has to be a jack-of-all-trades. While Beiler didn’t appear to have a plan for a franchise business when she first opened her stores, she seemed to possess the majority of these skillsets.

    Accidental or On-Purpose

    Thus Anne looks like the accidental entrepreneur. In spite of her business deficiencies, she developed a good product and created a demand for it. The opportunity propelled her forward to success, and part of the motivation was being able to use the profits to help her community.

    So if you really feel a calling to entrepreneurship, but aren’t sure whether you have what it takes, are you focusing on the right skillsets? Are you shortchanging your abilities and experience? Have you creatively explored different approaches to accomplish your goal? Maybe you have a non-profit organization and entrepreneurship will provide the funding to support it.

    Admittedly, there’s really no such thing as an accidental entrepreneur. People simply approach business ventures differently based on their background and perspective. The true key to success is combining the right skills with your entrepreneurial passion and calling…in essence, being on-purpose…in line with what you’re called to do. Who knows? Maybe your entrepreneurial success will be a gift to those around you.

     

    Read more about Anne Beiler and Kara Page’s characteristics of entrepreneurs.

    Photo courtesy of IStockphoto

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    In The Spotlight

    Robert Gates retired as U. S. Defense Secretary at the end of June.He served in the position for four and a half years, initially appointed by President George W. Bush, then asked to continue to serve by President Barack Obama.He held this role during a period of continuing wars and turmoil in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Middle East countries.

    The Wall Street Journal (click here to read) reports that when he assumed the role, Gates said he had never read a management book, but he developed an effective management style over time based on showing respect to the generals who reported to him, and holding them accountable for their performance.He wasn’t afraid to tackle issues head on. For example, when Army leaders criticized the media for their reports of substandard treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he fired the Army secretary. When the Air Force failed to properly oversee the U.S. nuclear arsenal, he forced the resignation of the Air Force secretary and chief of staff.He reportedly encouraged discussion and input from his team but wasn’t afraid to make decisions at the end of the meetings and expect everyone to follow them.Gates also learned the importance of symbols and symbolic gestures through his early days studying the Kremlin as an analyst with the CIA.This perspective of understanding organizations shaped his management approach in his later years when he assumed a leadership role.

    Gates wise behavior as the military leader of a powerful nation in the midst of overwhelming challenges and under two political parties reminds me of David, a military leader who served under King Saul of Israel.

    Too Much Drama

    Such was David’s life when he skyrocketed to popularity after killing Goliath, a giant who had taunted the Israelites for the past 40 days. With this bold act of leadership and bravery, David quickly went from shepherd over his father’s flock, to soldier. He achieved sudden recognition with the king and the people, and everyone was talking about him. The media of that day, women celebrating in the streets, sang his praises.

    IStockPhoto

    Saul then brought David onto his staff and placed him in charge of the army. David became a statesman going wherever Saul sent him, faithfully doing his bidding.All the people, along with Saul’s leadership team highly respected David, and thought he was a better leader than Saul himself.It was obvious to them that David had the favor of God, while Saul had lost it.Even Saul’s son Jonathan became David’s best friend, willing to give up his right to succeed his father on the throne because he knew that God’s will was that David become king.

    David was also a skillful musician, and in the past his music soothed and relaxed Saul when he became tense and agitated. But eventually Saul’s jealousy of David’s increasing fame grew to the point that he plotted to take David’s life.Saul unsuccessfully attempted to kill him by throwing his spear at him. Then he invited David to become his son-in-law in exchange for fighting the enemy army, but David and his men were strong and valiant, winning the battle.

    David was between the proverbial rock and a hard place. In spite of his high position and favor with the people, the king hated him and continually tried to kill him. But throughout all of this drama, David behaved wisely in all his ways.He was wiser than all of Saul’s staff members.

    …He presided over the business of the country and the army.

    …He was obedient and respectful to Saul, even though he knew that Saul wanted to take his life.

    …He didn’t try to undermine his leader, or take unfair advantage of his position.

    …He led with integrity.

    What About You?

    Imagine yourself suddenly catapulted to recognition among your peers because you performed an act of bravery, exhibited exemplary leadership, or your unique gifts and talents were discovered by those who valued them.Such fame doesn’t come without its problems and challenges, and your ability to sustain your role will be impacted by how you handle these pressures.

    ….The spotlight of leadership makes you a target for personal and professional attacks.

    ….The spotlight of leadership exposes your underlying motivations.

    ….The spotlight of leadership tests your accountability to the God who positioned you there.

    ….The spotlight of leadership checks your responsibility to the people whom you serve.

    It seems that every day, the news media reports on some leader who failed the scrutiny of the spotlight: a leader who failed to act with integrity, credibility, accountability, and appropriate responsibility. What about you? No matter its size or scope, are you prepared to behave wisely in your leadership role?Are you prepared to lead in a way that pleases God instead of trying to please men? What will the spotlight uncover about you?

    Copyright Priscilla Archangel 2011

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