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I am Woman – Hear me Roar

Us women, we must be special.  After all, we had a public holiday created in our honour.  I don’t see no Men’s Day, do you?  Ha!  No, really, all bra-slinging put to one side, woman are pretty special and I won’t cover the obvious differences between men and women, but rather that we are a diverse and dynamic gender.

But, do you know why there is a public holiday allocated to celebrating women in South Africa?  It has been watered down a bit over the years, and most, if asked, have no clue why it began.

History Lesson

So, here is a little history lesson.  Back in 1956, the FSAW (The Federation of South African Women) wanted to make a statement, as they were unhappy with a few sections of the Urban Areas Act.  The government was insisting that all African women had to carry a pass on their persons always.  The reason?  Very simply, the government wanted to differentiate coloured women from African women, stating that coloured women were to be employed first when a choice was given.  They were so strict that any foreign African women had to be removed from the urban area.  Their reasoning in implementing these passes was born from finding control over the influx of foreigners into the land.

As you can imagine, the women took great offence to this, stating that they were not slaves, and passes made them so.  They rebelled, but with no positive results.  So, the ANC commissioned a few ladies (which ended up being almost 20000) to put together a march.  This civil and peaceful march took place on the 9th of August, 1956 in Pretoria, and was deemed a great success, ending with a full hour’s silence outside the Union Buildings.  It has gone down in history as one of the largest attended peaceful marches to date.

Today, there are no passes issued for African women or otherwise, so we celebrate this fact every year on the 9th of August.

The age-old fight of women vs. men goes back many more years before this standing, but, this day is not about that feud.  It is about segregation, and that no one, man or woman, should be penalised for being different, or at least different in the eyes of some.

It should be clear, that while the original issues are not so prevalent today, there are still significant problems that women face today.  From workplace sexual harassment, various parenting issues, pay variances to men, and domestic violence cases.

While many of these don’t affect you, you may know of someone who has or who does experience one of them on an ongoing basis.  The 9th of August is there for you, not to sit back and take a day off, but to get involved, and protest any or all of these issues.

What has changed since 1956?

It is important to take note of what actually has made progress over the years because of that march and this day.  Let us take the percentage of women representation in parliament firstly.  The official public holiday of Women’s Day commenced in 1994, and since then the percentage has raised from barely 3% to almost 50%.  That is a significant rise.

In terms of equality in the workplace and at home, there have been many great leaps and bounds on that front.  Just the fact that there are more organisations supporting violence against women and children, shows us that there is a very real awareness out there.

How can I get involved on Women’s Day?

There are many ways you can show your respect and support for the day, and we have a few ideas for you:

  1. As a business owner, you could host a breakfast with all your female clients, and ask them to donate to a worthy womanly, such as violence against women and children, or any of the other issues mentioned
  2. There are many events that run on this day, from breakfasts to evening do’s, and even visiting under privileged sites and mothers in hospital.
  3. Think about putting together little packages and dropping these off at an old age home or hospice. The ladies will love you for it.
  4. Give your domestic cleaner the day off, if you didn’t plan to, and even get her to the spa for a lovely treatment
  5. If you have female staff, send them for a mani or pedi, showing them that you appreciate their worth as a woman

The sky is really the limit when it comes to ideas on how to celebrate Women’s Day.  Use your imagination and if you are really too busy to get out to an organised event, just pay it forward with a kind gesture of some sort.  Even your time spent with another woman is worth tons.

I am Woman – Hear me Roar!!

Do, Delegate or Dump

You are busy.  You have so much to do; and you don’t know whether you’re Arthur or Martha.  You have papers piling up on your desk so high that you cannot see past them.  You are starting to drown and you cannot see a way out.

Sound familiar?

Well, you are not alone.  There are many who struggle to balance tasks with time.

When it comes to that to-do list, one has to learn to either do, delegate or dump.

While that sounds fairly simple, it still requires some application processes.  There are a few ways you can apply these three actions and come out the other side in one piece.

#1    Make sure you have a to-do list

It seems like an obvious first step, but often times we just take on a whole lot of tasks and don’t really even know what all we have to do.  Making a list helps to bring it all together and certainly helps to make sense of the mayhem.

#2    Why are you doing it?

Take a real long and hard look at the list, and ask yourself why you are doing it.  List the reason why you need to do that particular task.  If the reason shows you that someone else can do it, then delegate it.  If the reason shows you that it is not an important task, then dump it.  And, lastly, if the reason tells you glaringly and obviously that you are the one to handle it, then do it.

#3    What is more important?

Splitting your list into the Do, Delegate or Dump piles, is just part of the process.  Now you need to split each of those piles into further segmentations.

A                =                High Priority (i.e. Needs to be done today)

B                =                Medium Priority (i.e. Can be done tomorrow)

C                =                Low Priority (i.e. Can be done in a few weeks time)

Once you have split your tasks into these priority piles, then you are well on your way to making good work on getting rid of them.

And that is the key to all of this.  Getting rid of the tasks.

#4    Following through is paramount

Now that you have done the groundwork, get going on implementing.  And, by this I mean either … you know it …

DO

DELEGATE

Or

DUMP

 

The Doing part

These are yours and you need to attend to them in the order of urgency as you segmented earlier.  Take your diary or calendar.  Plot out when you have time to do these tasks and slot them in like appointments.  Again, from most urgent to least urgent.

Even better, is to use a system, such as the Task list in Outlook, which will allow you to set a due date and reminders.  There is nothing more satisfying, when it comes to tasks, to tick it off the list as completed.

By having a to-do list and sticking to the outline you create, in getting rid of the task, you will feel, immediately lighter and less stressed.

 

The Delegating part

Not all of us are great delegators, but it is literally impossible to do everything oneself, so one must delegate.  This may mean giving work to a subordinate, most times, but it may also mean giving work to a colleague, an equal.

If you are a man-alone business, it may be sourcing outside assistance. There are many small businesses that offer services that involve administration help.  Simple tasks like filing, tax returns, copying, delivering, data capturing and marketing, can easily be outsourced for a small fee.  In the long run, it will come back to you tenfold.

Possibly, dependent on your business, you could do a service swap, whereby you help out another small business owner, and they do something for you.  Another idea is to share with someone.  Reception services, cold calling, and other similar jobs can be shared with a business in the same industry as yours, or even if they are not.

You could even make use of a virtual assistant if you cannot afford to employ someone.  Virtual Assistants don’t sit in your office, and are, literally, virtual.  They work remotely at their own premises and can cover a wide range of tasks that do not require them to be in the same office as yours.   I have known virtual assistants to be located in another country to their employer.  It works. Try it!

In a corporate environment, it is important to establish, from the list of tasks, if you are meant to be doing that particular task.  Sometimes we get straddled with tasks that actually do not fall under our job description.  Be careful not to be the “ja broer”, always accepting tasks that get thrown up into the air.

Make sure you are not splitting yourself into too many pieces.  There is much to be said for giving the busiest person more work, but if you are spinning out of control, you will, eventually, drop a ball or two.

When you delegate, follow through.  Check up on the person you gave the task to, even if you know it was not your job in the first place.  Somehow, along the line, it became yours, and it is still your responsibility to ensure it is completed.

Create a separate task list of these delegated to-do’s, and diarise to check up on them in a given timeframe.

There are many systems on the market that allow you to assign tasks and keep tabs on them without having to physically ask the person what’s happening.   A few that come to mind are Evernote and Workpool.   You can share tasks via these and other platforms, keeping track as the task is attended to.

Google Docs is another great free option, and works in a slightly different manner to the former platforms, where you create a document, share it with someone, and then you and they can make adjustments to the document.  Remember, though, once the change is made it is live and saved.  Any prior work will be lost when written over.

 

The Dumping part

It is not easy to dump stuff.  We worry that, somewhere, in the future, that it will become necessary. We worry that if we get rid of it for good that it will come back to bite us in the end.  So, when we say dump, we say just file away rather.  If a task was given to you at some point, it may have been important at the time. But, sometimes, tasks have sell-by dates.  If they are not attended to in a given timeframe, they lose their appeal and necessity.

A good example may be that you were to have followed up on a special on airline tickets for your bosses business trip to Chicago.  Because you didn’t, the special has now passed and his flight needs to be booked via the normal way. Dump it!

Perhaps, you had thought it a good idea to have all the servers cleaned by a professional cleaning company.  But, since then the servers have been replaced with brand new ones.  That task isn’t required anymore. Dump it!

Deciding to dump a task takes much thought and it may be that you don’t have the authority to dump something. So, make sure that you do and if not, find out who does.

 

With the Do, Delegate or Dump technique, which really can be applied to many angles of life, the groundwork does take a little time, but in the death, you will be saving so much time.

Now, every time, a task crosses your desk or email, apply the trio rule.

Do I …

DO

DELEGATE

Or

DUMP?

Live the Life You Love

We are all given choices in life.  Most times it doesn’t feel that way.  We go from day to day, telling ourselves that we are in that situation, that predicament, that life, because of outside forces, that we didn’t plan it that way.  Sure, life does hit us with a few curveballs along the way, but we have the choice as to how we will deal with those balls.

Everyone has dreams.  Everyone aspires to live a life that they can proudly and confidently say they love.  And, it is not such a far reach.

I am not here to throw you with the “10 steps to achieving the life you want” or “5 tips on reaching your goals”.  No, I simply want to help you realise that living the life that you could love is a matter of attitude.

When we were younger, we didn’t have too much say over what we got to do each day.  We were trundled off to school, told to sit and listen, given instructions the entire day, and then sat in front of a plate of food, with don’t-even-think-about-moaning looks, expected to eat whatever it was.

But, we all had dreams.  And, now that we are big and grown up, what is stopping us achieving those dreams?  Our stupid job that seems to be going nowhere?  Our partner, who doesn’t ever seem to do anything worthwhile?  Our children, because all they seem to do is cost money?

No.  All that is mumbo-jumbo and in essence just cop out excuses.  You have the power to change your circumstances or except that where you are right now is the best place for you.  You wake up each day and decide what mood you will be in.  Yes, there are those that will try to hit you with a negative vibe, and it can be hard to ignore, hard to stop them hitting in on your good attitude.  But, it really is up to you.  No one else.

Loving the life that you are living can be made easier by looking around you, at the people, the places, the fact that you have stuff, and that you are alive.  You may not like all the people around you, you may not like where you are living or working, you may think you need more stuff, and you may not be in the best of health, but in comparison to many others in the world, you are the king of your castle.

The old adage, “is the glass half empty or half full?” is a question we should ask of every situation you find yourself in.  To your naked eye, you may be quick to answer, “half empty”, but if you dig a little deeper, you will find that it isn’t all bad, and seeing the glass as half full is still a matter of attitude.

So, next time you are feeling a little iffy about your life, and wondering how you can love it, think about the reasons why you could.

Honour is a Powerful Human Motivator

In the modern western world the concept of “honour” has largely been replaced with that of “integrity”, which is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. But, in truth, only the language of honour is missing, not the idea.

Shakespeare wrote: “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honour, I lose myself.” To understand more about what honour is, it helps to understand it’s opposite.  In Western understanding, shame is the direct opposite of honour and arises when a person feels he or she has not lived up to his or her own expectations.  Going beyond personal shame, in Asian cultures “group shame” arises when a person has not lived up to the community’s rules and expectations. Upholding this concept of cultural honour is what drives Asian society; honour and shame are bound together.

Defining honour

If honour (as a noun) is the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right, and an honourable person is someone who believes in truth and doing the right thing, and who tries to live up to set principles, then honourable conduct must, therefore, have to do with people and actions that are honest, fair, and worthy of respect as judged by oneself and other people. It may be said that honour is maintained by doing the right thing for the right reasons, at the right moment, with an element of selflessness.

How does maintaining honour play out in modern society?

Honour is linked to the principal of being true to your word

Honouring one’s word is something that is often taken too lightly. Too many people make empty promises without realising the damage that not following through will bring about.  This does not only hold true when making promises to others. Nothing is more powerful in building one’s own self esteem than honouring your promises to yourself.  C.S. Lewis wrote, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

Honour is based on reputation

Honour is based on how others view us and on how we view ourselves.  When a person stops caring about their reputation, and shame goes out of the window, it follows that this person will devolve into doing the least they can without getting into legal trouble or being fired. Here lies the road to mediocrity, incompetence and even corruption.

Honour cannot be legislated in communities and networks of trust

Honour cannot be regulated by commands or legislated by law, but is a bond among comrades. To activate and engage the passions of an entire group of people it is important to transform the group into a highly-functioning community of individuals who want to be their best, who feel exceptionally valued, and who celebrate one another’s successes.

Honour leads to acts of selflessness

Showing honour entails treating another person respectfully because we value them highly.  We often think in terms of granting honour to those who have earned it or deserve it, but what amazing occurrence might be initiated if we just “gave” honour to someone without any expectations of payback?

Here are four practical ways to honour someone:

  1. Show loyalty:  As a loyal associate you may not agree with your comrade all of the time and will not always have the same opinion, but a loyal associate is always honest and impartial, wanting the best for the other person.
  2. Give someone your expertise to help fix a problem:  Honour someone by giving them a hand! You never know, through the law of reciprocity, when the same honour may be given to you.
  3. Listen:  Just listen. Oftentimes when people ask for advice, what they really want is to go over something they just can’t get off their mind.
  4. Don’t judge:  When someone comes to you for help, chances are they are feeling pretty vulnerable and they are trusting you to listen without being judgmental or condescending.

Who do you know that deserves honour?

5 Tips on Being the Best Woman Entrepreneur

Following a few surveys and stalker-like manoeuvres we sourced a few tips from around the world from the greatest woman entrepreneurs.

When it comes to working in a man’s world, these powerhouses don’t believe there is such a thing as a man’s world. It is just our world, and we all have a place in it.

From Coco Chanel to J.K. Rowling, from Arianna Huffington to Oprah, we have a lovely little treasure chest of golden rules to follow. Whether you intend to or are already deep into being a woman entrepreneur, sometimes it is best to take a leaf out of a fellow woman’s book.

1.            Work for it!

Perhaps one of the most iconic businesswomen, Estee Lauder, said that she never dreamt about success, she worked for it. Wise words from this great lady.

2.            Make Mistakes

Sara Blakely, the youngest self-made millionaire in America, and the Founder of Spanx, believes you have to make mistakes, and that sometimes those moments are the most memorable.

J.K. Rowling had a similar message, but delivered it so poetically, we just had to share, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all–in which case, you fail by default.”

3.            Be Thankful

Oprah Winfrey has much to be thankful for, but we know she worked dang hard to be able to have what she has, so we will take her profound words to heart, “Be thankful for what you have; you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

4.            Don’t be Fearful

It is very easy to fall prey to our fears, but Arianna Huffington, Founder of the Huffington Post, says she exercises her fearlessness muscle daily, so that her fears do not run her life.

5.            Create a Legend

Another great beauty mistress, Coco Chanel, taught us much to do about how to be graceful and make the most of our faces, but she had some nuggets of truth about life too. In her words, “May my legend prosper and thrive. I wish it a long and happy life.”

While there are many, oh so many more great women with great pieces of advice, we feel that these 5 powerful statements can set your world on fire.

Your Time is Now!

When you were a child, if you wanted to do something, you did it.  You would get up and start building that Barbie castle, or you would climb up that tree.  Nothing could stop you.  You had a bee in your bonnet, and you were going to get it done.  And, if you weren’t allowed to do it, what did you do?  You kicked up a fuss and possibly, got to do it in the end anyway.  But, nothing was going to stand in your way.  It had to be done now.  So, you did it.

While, I am not at all insisting that you throw your toys out the cot or land up on the floor kicking and fussing, we could all take a lesson from our 5-year-old selves at times.

Procrastination is the route of all evil, I say.  Forget money.  Money can be managed, and so it should be, but procrastination, that is another vice all together.  You know that saying about good intentions, well, it is true.  Hell was paved with the suckers!

When you finally realise that you have so little time to complete things, you will know that the time is now.  The time to do all you can is right now!

Older folk will tell you, “I don’t regret the things I did.  I regret the things I didn’t do.”

I fully understand that there are more ‘things’ to do nowadays, now that you are a fully-grown adult, with fully-grown responsibilities.  I get it, I do!  But, then all you need to do is plan a bit better.

Never has there been a better time than the now.  You are a power house, and you are ready to explode with ideas.  But, most times, you think to yourself, “Self, I just don’t have the time.  I know I have great and novel ideas, but I don’t really know where to start, so I will just let it lie for a while.  I’m sure it will all come to me soon.”

Well, self!  The time is now.  Time to take stock of your situation.  Time to look ahead and know that should you not at least take that first step forward in the direction of your goals, then you will be forever planted where you are now.

Let us go back to our 5-year-old self.  All kids have the FOMO affliction.  And, if you don’t know what that is, well let me spell it out to you.  Fear Of Missing Out!  FOMO!  It’s a real thing.  Many adults suffer from this so-called-disease too.  Not enough of us, I think.  But, I have a theory around this “disease”.

It is in fact a blessing.

Yes, I believe that having FOMO is a great affliction.   It is not so much a disease but a talent.  Some of you are frowning down at these written words, but once I explain it to you, you will be wishing you had more FOMO in you.

When a child just cannot stand to miss out on whatever it is that is going on around them, they get themselves into a real panic.  They work themselves up to the point of tears and frustration.  “Why can’t I go?  If I don’t go now, I will NEVER be able to go again!  I can’t stand that I won’t get to see that!  I can’t handle it that she gets to go and I cant!”

Sound familiar?  Anyone with a child or even if you just know of a child, will find those statements to be quite typical of a small person.  But, in fact, we have all screamed that out at some point or another in our adult lives.  Most of us don’t verbalise it.  We scream inside.  “Why did Angela get to go to the boss’s barbeque?  I wanted to make that sale on at Woolies!  If I don’t go to the Bieber concert, I think I will die!”  (Okay, that last one was all me!)

But, you get my meaning?

It is good to have FOMO.  And, the reason is that it will make you do all you can NOW!  From pursuing that senior position that you feel you will never get.  To visiting your ailing grandmother in that stinky old age home.  And, to putting together that business plan, that could mean a potentially lucrative business for you.

Time is short, people!  It truly is.

If I can leave you with just one thought here, it would be to live your life as if you were that 5 year old, who thinks that there will never be another good time, that if they miss out, they will surely die.  Because, the truth is, if you don’t do what you really want to now, then a little something does die inside.

So, get up, get going, and do it all – NOW!

What Do You Stand For?

Many a war has been started over what a person stood for. Many a riot, many an argument, and many a family feud, has gone on for years because of a difference in opinion over what each stood for.

What does it mean to stand for something? Let us break it down. If you stand up and declare that you believe in a particular theory or have a particular conviction on something, then you are essentially telling the world what you are a believer in your own state of mind.

Billy Graham, with all his brash and evangelistic ways, said it well, “I feel sorry for the man who has never known the bracing thrill of taking a stand and sticking to it fearlessly. Moral courage has rewards that timidity can never imagine. Like a shot of adrenaline, it floods the spirit with vitality.”

And, that was one thing that we couldn’t fault Billy Graham on, or any other public figure that has ever stood up, shook their fist, and declared their belief, their passion, their fearlessness, and their willingness to throw all caution to the wind.

Some find it easier than others to verbalise their opinions, and at the end of the day, it is your opinion that you are standing up for.

It may be as simple as believing that every child should have a hot plate of food every night, or that your partner needs to hear that you love them every day.

Most times, when someone makes an open and bold statement, they are speaking about a very serious matter. Most times we get our beliefs from our parents or a very close family member. With Father’s Day around the corner, it may be a good time to go through what your father stood for. The man of the house generally evokes a sense of awe, and you need to ask yourself whether how you live your life has to do with what you believe in, or what your father believed in. It may not end up with such a good ending. But, at least you will know where you stand in life.

So, what do you stand for? If you had to sit down, yes just for now, and list all that you feel deeply and passionately about, what would you write down?

Most will struggle to pen down even 2 things.

So, let me make it easier for you. Whether or not you are the religious type, there are the 10 commandments that govern our lives, again, no matter whether you believe or not, we always have those “life rules” springing up at us, especially when we have been “naughty”.

Start with these and decide if any of them make you want to put your hand into a fist and declare it your thing.

Many people that have started a group, band, or cult have started it because of a belief. And, it only takes one other to agree, to create a following.

It may be as simple as posting something on Facebook and having many comment and share your post. Perhaps you expressed that MacDonald’s makes unhealthy food and we all should stand up for healthy living. That, in its simplest form, is someone standing up for something.

Think about how news goes viral, how a YouTube video can gain 2 million likes in a matter of minutes. It is all because someone said or did something that they believed in.  Okay, there are those that just do crazy stuff to get noticed, but you get my meaning?

Standing for something generally revolves around values and principals. Ask yourself if you have values first?  There are many that don’t, or at least think they don’t.

The obvious choices are:

Integrity or “I shall not lie”

It is a hard one, but if you can get this one right, and feel good about standing up for it, then pretty much you can tackle anything in life.

Respect, honour or “Love your mother and father” and “You shall not steal” or “You shall not murder” or … oh gosh, okay, all of them apply here.

Respect for yourself and for others covers a wide array of areas, and if you can live your life like this, without exception, then you have found a great reason to stand up. Respect of others and yourself starts at home, so look back at your upbringing, and how you bring up your kids too.

Knowledge

Most believe that knowledge is power, and they wouldn’t be too far wrong. This doesn’t have to just pertain to educating yourself in terms of studies, but just getting to know a person, getting to know yourself, and trying to understand everything around you. Never accepting things at face value can definitely help you out in life.

Dependability

Another toughie, but the saying, “A friend in need, is a friend in deed” does have some deep meaning. To most, that is the most confusing statement ever. I mean, why is someone that is needy a good friend? Shouldn’t it be the other way round? A friend who helps a friend in need is the friend in deed? Perhaps, but for someone to ask for help is indeed a way to see that they are a friend. Contrary to most, it is a hard thing to do to ask for help. I digress though. To be a dependable person, someone that everyone can rely on, is a great reason to stand up for too.

Standing up for a belief does not require a crowd. In fact, it needs to start with you and end with you. Do not ask around if there are any other takers. Do not expect others to agree with what you believe in.

If you claim that you will not do business with anyone that wears pink, then you have to stick to it, and carry it through. Many will frown on your decision, but if you vehemently swear it is the only way to do business, then be prepared to be the only one that agrees. A silly example, but you get what I mean? Some ideals are just that – silly, out there, and down right ridiculous, but if you believe in it, then that is all that matters.

But, beware! Whatever you decide to stand up for stays with you for life. You cannot step back one day and decide that being an honest person isn’t working for you, and then declare the opposite to the world. I mean, who would do that anyway. (Bill Clinton comes to mind …)

Declaring your beliefs is a brave and proud moment, so be sure you are sure.

Living the Values in your Leadership

Values play an essential role in Leadership Credibility and Authority. They are at the root of motivation and respect for Leadership:

Values are efficient: they help us navigate infinite situations better than any rule book

Values are timeless: giving us strength to be consistent even though the pressures of life tell us to be situational.

Values are enduring: inspiring us to be principled however inconvenient, unpopular or dangerous that might be

Values elevate us to act beyond what we can do, to embrace what we should do.

Do you remember the last time you were inspired to do something great? Something that you didn’t think you were capable of doing? Inspirational leadership would be those people in our lives who pushed us beyond what we imagined and I am extremely thankful for it.

It was a teacher at school, a senior manager in Corporate, a small business owner that was my boss. All of whom I wanted to work beyond what was expected and excel at a higher level for.

They always believed you were capable of more, that you could be excellent. On the other hand, I’ve worked for (not with) people who were usual “managers” – people who dictated work, didn’t expect excellence, didn’t provide challenges, authority or responsibility, and didn’t care. They did not live values of respect for life, self and others.

  1. Inspirational leaders do not sell you short.

An entrepreneur that’s hiring senior team members was having a difficult time. When asked if there were any up and comers in the company that he could see becoming a senior manager he said there are some strong performers, but they just don’t have the skills to do it. An inspirational leader might take a risk and put the title of “interim Senior Manager” title on one of the star performers and see if they can step up and do the job. An inspirational leader provides opportunities beyond what the individual or the leader thinks the individual is capable of. The results might surprise you. Don’t sell people short, invest in your starts and give them enough responsibility where they might fail. Push and coach, always compete – make sure they have an opportunity to win or lose and learn from it. If all they do is win, you just might not be using them enough!

  1. Inspirational leaders get rid of people quickly.

Bad employees and bad leaders not only don’t produce, they also have a huge negative impact on the team. Your leadership becomes undermined and confidence in your philosophies start getting eroded – and this is on your payroll!  Don’t get rid of people who disagree with you, but people who are always negative, never see solutions, don’t care, are never accountable cannot be on your team. No matter how inspirational you might be to the majority of your team, they will always wonder why you’ve kept the non-performer on as long as you have. These people are so easy to spot – they’re difficult, they wear you down, they take up your time, and you allow them to drain your energy. You need all your energy focused on what is important. Be a real leader and let them go quickly and with dignity. They may even thank you for it later.

  1. Inspirational leaders do not lead through fear.

They lead through confidence and shared vision. Think about the managers you’ve worked for that you were always worried about getting fired, angry outbursts or caused undue unhealthy emotional and physical stress. Although it does motivate some, it becomes a quick spiral to burnout for star performers. Fear can be a reasonable short-term strategy, but rarely sustainable. Inspirational leaders instil confidence and purpose into the workplace. There is a clear vision amongst the team and confidence in the leader. The leader sets out on which mountain to scale or war to fight, but relies on the team to own the strategy and execution to scale the mountain or win the war (or complete the project on time). The inspirational leader is the cheerleader that instils confidence into each person that the mountain is worth scaling and the war is worth winning. Do your employees and team members know what your vision is? Do they have confidence in you to lead or are they fearful of you? Or neither?

  1. Inspirational leaders have a constant flow of internal energy.

We saw it in Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi and others. Are you fired up about the shared vision? Are you energized? Is there a positive ethos, momentum, and determination that people can sense when they are around you? This is hard to measure, but do you feel inspired each day you wake up and interact with people? Ask those around you – do they get more energy after spending time with you or less energy? If you regularly and constantly take time to re-charge, people will feed off your energy.

Seven Core Values that Serve the Greater Good and Are the Road to Success

BNI is both conscious and deliberate about serving the greater good by helping businesses around the world to create a culture of collaboration in business.  Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI says: “An organization needs a sound strategy to succeed but, it needs a great culture to excel.  For me, that approach has been about creating core values around a culture of collaboration.  I believe that it is possible to make a good living while serving a greater good. The core values I have tried to apply in my life and in my business have helped to create a culture of collaboration within the context of building a business. This approach is not only a great way to get business, I believe it is an even better way to do business.”

(http://ivanmisner.com/make-good-living-serving-greater-good)

Reflect on BNI’s seven core values and see how they relate to your experiences as a BNI member. Members who know what our values are, understand that we are driven by common values that inform the ways in which our commitment, and all instituted procedure, and ongoing education is positioned and executed in order to result in our members’ success.

One:  Giver’s Gain

Giver’s Gain embodies the law of reciprocity – the application of which, one way or another, is found in every culture.  It states that if we help others, they will in turn help us; or what goes around comes around; or do to others as you would have them do to you.  Giver’s gain involves really paying attention to the needs of others.  Giver’s Gain is not a game of solitaire and can only be practiced by surrounding ourselves with others who behave likewise.  If a BNI chapter truly adopts Giver’s Gain they will truly be on the way to changing the way the world does business.

Two: Building Meaningful Relationships

The whole design and function of BNI’s regular meetings, and the practice of 1-2-1 meet-ups, is about putting into practice our understanding that referral marketing is best done between trusted parties – and that trust is built over time.  Our reputations are affected by the quality of referrals we pass.

Three:  Life Long Learning 

BNI believes that all people should exit the planet on a learning curve. Businesses that are constantly sharpening their saw are the ones that are the most successful. Not only are BNI members provided with ongoing educational opportunities, they are encouraged to constantly gather information in their industries and to hone their industry skills-set.  Education points are plotted by BNI chapters and 148 000 man hours of training was done last year by BNI.  Ongoing education within BNI exists to enable our members to succeed within its proven system.

Four:  Traditions + Innovation 

Traditions are key to a successful business.  They are what bind us together and they lay the foundation of a shared history, showing who we are by where we come from.  On the other hand innovation is what grows our experience.   A business that is based solely on traditions will not thrive – there must be a balance between tradition and innovation.  Innovation keeps businesses current – requiring that new information and thinking must adopted into business practice, along with employing up to date technology.  Don’t lose touch with new changes in business and don’t be afraid to try new things at BNI.

Five:  Positive Attitude 

A positive and supportive attitude promotes good business. Life is too short to surround yourself with people who bring you down.  Rather surround yourself with people who will uplift you.  A positive attitude at all times uplifts the mood of the BNI group and your business.  So, no matter how you feel: get up, dress up and show up.  Putting a smile on your face to give to others not only makes them happy but it will make you happy too.

Six:  Accountability

Without accountability BNI would be a social club.  Practicing accountability within each BNI chapter is an important foundational element in growing a strong and healthy business; because it is imperative, particularly as we build meaningful relationships, that we “Be our word” and hold ourselves accountable for our actions.  Practising a habit of accountability within BNI chapters and regions in a positive way is sound business training for every member.

Seven:  Recognition 

Recognition is the greatest encouragement.   BNI embraces recognising members who have participated; who have given to their chapter and members, and done a good job.  Always strive to catch somebody doing something right and reward them for it.  If you see something praiseworthy within BNI or among members, let other people know. Know that it is wise to praise in public and correct in private.  A great way to recognise others is to make it a habit to hand out written testimonials and to give verbal testimonials during meetings.

If you think there are some areas in which your BNI chapter can improve in living BNI’s core values, discuss these at your next shareholder’s meeting. By practising these seven core values BNI and your business will be stronger and more successful for it.

Members who do not share BNI’s values will struggle to enjoy the BNI system.  But members that do, enjoy years of productive and supportive memberships that reap all the benefits from the seeds that were sown initially.

When Is a Referral Not Really a Referral

BNI members know that word of mouth marketing is the most valuable tool in any business person’s marketing arsenal. A personal referral from a trusted contact can influence a potential client to buy your products or services over any other method of marketing. What makes a referral different from a lead is that, more than just the random passing along of a supplier’s information, a referral is passed on at the time at which your particular product or services are in need, and the quality of what you offer is personally vouched for in the process.  While referral does not necessarily lead to a guaranteed sale, it opens the door for you to do business with someone who is in the market to buy your product.

For this reason, and because good referrals are given in the spirit of reciprocity, of Giver’s Gain, it is very important to develop the habit of following a process to qualify the referrals you pass on to others in your BNI network.  After all – you would like them to do the same for you.

A qualified referral entails following a process with the desired outcome to be that when your recommended supplier, and fellow BNI member, calls your contact, they are expecting the call.

Here are the 6 steps to giving good quality, qualified referrals:

  1. When networking and interacting with people in your business or social spheres always listen out for a need. A good networker has two ears and one mouth, and uses them both proportionally.
  2. Tell the person you’re talking to that you know someone who can provide the service they need.
  3. If you’ve done business with the fellow BNI member under discussion, give a testimonial – tell about your experience.
  1. Give out the business card of the person you are referring and ask for the individual’s card to pass on to your contact. This is sure to impress the person you are talking to and is why your BNI business card caddy is such an important tool in your daily business kit – have it on you at all times!
  1. Ask if it’s okay to have your referee give the person a call.
  1. If the answer is yes, fill out a referral slip and hand it over at your next BNI meeting – or log the referral online at your earliest convenience for instant action.

 

Here are some examples of 3 degrees of referral – from super hot down to lukewarm

Hot Referral: Someone needs a phone system for their new office. A fellow BNI member gave him your business card and he is expecting your call.

Warm Referral: Someone is new to the area and needs a good chiropractor. A fellow BNI member of gave her contact your business card and she wants you to call her next week.

Tepid Referral:  Someone is shopping for car insurance and is interested in getting quotes.  A member of BNI gave him your business card and let you know you should call him soon.

Here is an example of a non-referral

You see a Facebook post where one of your ‘friends’ needs our fellow BNI member’s services, and so you share and tag them in the post.  This is not a referral because the steps to qualify it have not been followed. You can turn it into a quality referral, by simply following your referral qualifying process, vastly improving the chance of a good outcome.