Nov 052010

When the first generation of women entered the workforce in earnest in the 1970s, they succeeded in the only way they could – by imitating men.  Authoritarian leadership and tight control was the hallmark of business style back then, and women were not exactly welcomed into the ranks of management.  Well ladies, that was yesterday, and today is today!

Today’s CEO/entrepreneur can no longer tap his/her company’s full potential using a “command-and-control” style.  The 21st century business woman needs to be able to build a vision based on the awareness of economic transformation, then help her partners and staff fulfil that vision.  She must draw on a wide range of skills to get to the top and stay there.

Following are 7 Key Characteristics that are essential:

Sell the Vision:

A leader with a fresh, independent plan for her company’s growth and future has a distinct advantage in luring and keeping great talents and investors.  Vision is not some lofty ideal, but an obtainable concept that is easy to understand and will make the company grow to another level.

Reinvent the Rules:

While women have traditionally been socialized to please others, the 21st century leader knows that good girls rarely post great returns. The strong managers/owners today not only anticipate change, they create entirely new organizations that respond to shifts and search for innovation.

Achieve With A Laser Focus:

Take the path where others fear to tread!  Being aggressive and ambitious has long been considered male traits, but they are key qualities for new leaders.  Today’s business woman has the ability to home in on opportunities that others may simply not see, and then excel in that uncharted territory.

Use High-Touch in a High-Tech Era:

When a number of leaders are conducting business by e-mail, voice mail, passwords, and PINs, the female entrepreneur succeeds because she guides with a strong, personal, bed-side manner.  Today’s business woman is just as technologically savvy as her peers, but her skill with staff and customers is “high-touch” which gives her a critical edge and separation from the “pack”.

Challenge or Opportunity?

Women are great at turning a challenge into an opportunity instead of using the “slash-and-burn” approach.  They are able to make bold strokes, but they also win the cooperation of others in the organization in making any transformation a success.

A Customer Preference Obsession:

In this information age which makes it easier to shop around for the best “whatever”, businesses must work harder to give people what they want before their competitors do.  There is no substitute for spending time with clients to become expert at their businesses and learn their demands.  Female leaders are almost intuitively adept in doing just that, and without the client even suspecting.

Courage Under Fire:

Show me any career woman or female entrepreneur today that isn’t able to “stand-the-heat” in any tough-call situation.  Their decision-making skills are rooted in a high level of confidence, because they’ve had to weather and surpass any and all “corporate” storms they’ve encountered over time.

It takes a certain mindset for anyone to start their own business and succeed, but it’s even more difficult for a female entrepreneur.  Let’s face it, ladies!  We’ve always had to be twice-as-smart and twice-as-confident as any male counterpart in the corporate world.  After all, if we can bear and raise the future generation, how can running a successful business scare us?

Dec 282009

The one quality which is common in all successful people and leaders is that they have a clear and exciting vision for the future.  Successful leaders spend time thinking about the future and plan for the future each day.  They develop a clear picture of where they want their organisation to be in the next one, three and five years.  And, they communicate this vision with so much passion that others “buy in” with excitement as well.

All businesses require a vision.  A business without a vision has no soul.  Without a soul, the business has no heart and thus, no passion.  Ironically, this is not in business only, but also in the personal lives of individuals.  A business, or even life, without passion is like one’s demise has already been foretold.

Visions are both personal and impersonal.  It is the future possibilities of what can be.  The first vision is for your life.  The second is for your business.  Together, they arouse emotions and become the driving force for the growth of a company.  Together, they motivate people to give their best, to encourage and instill confidence in them.

The most powerful vision is always described in terms of values and mission versus monetary.  It has the guiding principles behind your business ideas.  It is clear and concise and is no longer than a single short paragraph.  It will help you define your focus and set the stage for how your business will operate.

What does your ideal future look like for your life and for your company?  What is it like in 3 to 5 years?

What immediate action can you take to begin turning your future vision into reality?