What does gen Z want at work?

Business owners and hiring managers, take note: Generation Z is entering the workforce and you don’t want to confuse them with millennials. Zippia’s 2020 Job Seeker Report reveals that the youngest generation of workers—people under 25—have distinct needs and desires when it comes to the workplace.

We’ve gathered key takeaways from Zippia’s survey of 1,000 American job seekers.

Which benefits will attract Gen Z? 

Gone are the days that employers can install a high-end espresso machine or set up a foosball table and then claim employee satisfaction.

Health insurance, the option to work remotely and retirement benefits top their list. They are also more likely to want student loan assistance than millennials. (Not surprisingly, since Pew Research finds that Gen Z job candidates are the most highly educated generation.)

Work-life balance is key for Gen Z

The numbers show that this younger generation values balance more than any other generation. Even so, a surprising 47 percent of respondents would be willing to take one week or less of paid time off. However, the majority would prefer a shorter work week. 

Why do they leave jobs?

Unlike older workers, many Gen Z believe it’s fine to stay at a job for less than a year. In fact, 47 percent of respondents reported being at their last job for under 12 months. 

When asked, these younger workers cite lack of advancement opportunity as a top motivation to leave a job. Work-life balance and pay were other top reasons.  

On the hunt for a job

Where do members of Generation Z look for their next position? While the majority of all ages search job sites, Gen Z in paritcular values the opinions of friends, family and connections on social media. Companies should keep this in mind as they maintain their social platforms.  

Insights on interviews

A whopping 66 percent of respondents would consider turning down a job after an unfriendly interview. Another turn-off is a long, complicated interview process. 

For more details on this up and coming generation of employees—plus the survey methodology—go to Zippia’s 2020 Generation Z Job Seeker Report

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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Why borderless innovation is more important than ever

borderless innovation

borderless innovationContributed by Alex Lazarow, a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation and author of OUT-INNOVATE: How Global Entrepreneurs–from Delhi to Detroit–Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley.

World leaders are putting up walls. For some, it is seen as a necessity to stem the growth of COVID cases in the domestic population. The European Union, for example, has extended its moratorium on flights from the United States, among other countries, because of coronavirus fears.

For other leaders, it is as good an excuse as any to push forward an established policy goal of protectionism and anti-immigration. In the US, the Trump administration announced its suspension of H-1B skilled visas, as well as other visa programs, to protect against COVID case growth and to prioritize Americans for domestic jobs as the economic recovery hastens.

Yet it is the same COVID story that tells us the importance of global collaboration for world-changing innovation. These days, some of the most promising vaccine candidates are coming out of the UK, China, France, Germany, and the US, and learnings from Liberia during the last Ebola outbreak are helping with contact tracing.

The global innovation supply chain, by which the best ideas come from everywhere, and are improved as they scale, has proven to be one of the strongest drivers of progress for businesses and consumers alike. The flow of people and ideas have led to the replication of products, services, and business models all over the world, and, importantly, to innovative iterations upon them. Disrupting this movement will have short- and long-term consequences.

Cross-pollinators power the world of innovation

Ideas spread through cross-pollinators: entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders that connect the dots. Immigrants are the ultimate cross-pollinators, bringing ideas and life experience from another geography. They bring a fresh perspective to existing issues and usually a desire to succeed and thrive in their new home. Because of this, immigrants have had disproportionate success in scaling innovations and kick-starting ecosystems.

Just look at the role that immigrants play in the US startup scene. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, more than 50 percent of US-based unicorns have an immigrant founder. These companies have a collective market capitalization of nearly $250 billion, which, for perspective, exceeds the stock markets of Argentina, Colombia and Ireland. Further, more than 80 percent of US billion-dollar companies have an immigrant in a key executive position.

Immigration also helps countries acquire much needed global talent. Imagine a professional soccer team that could only draw from its local city: They would be disadvantaged compared to their more open competitors. The same is true in the world of innovation. To find the best workers for certain jobs often requires looking for skilled workers outside of domestic borders.

Countries that use the unfortunate outbreak of COVID to close borders to skilled workers are only shooting themselves in the foot.

The best ideas come from everywhere

These days, innovative ideas are not just coming from Silicon Valley. They come from everywhere. Cross-pollinators—immigrants, global students and entrepreneurial nomads—contribute to a global network of ideas.

Take the case of Udaan, an Indian SMB trade platform. The company scaled to be valued at US$2.5 billion, and has spawned replicators among the emerging markets which share high degrees of informality. This includes Bazaar in Pakistan, Ula in Indonesia and Dropstore in South Africa.

Similarly, born-in-an-emerging-market company Oyo Rooms is an Indian hotel chain founded by a 19-year-old entrepreneur which (while having run into troubles in its global expansion) has inspired hospitality companies, including RedDoorz in southeast Asia.

M-Pesa is another example of a product in an emerging market. The mobile banking service, which started in Kenya, sparked a wave of similar companies. There are now more than one billion mobile money accounts with 290 live services in 95, according to GSMA’s 2019 report.

Inspiration is multidirectional, too. As much as Uber inspired the next big ride-sharing app in China called Didi, TikTok has inspired new American short-form video apps like Quibi. And as these companies start to add features and iterate on their offerings, innovation will continue to bounce back and forth between markets.

Ideas improve as they scale globally

The most enduring business models require adaptation, iteration and reinvention to succeed. As innovation scales globally, the model is duplicated and improved upon more rapidly across multiple geographies, ultimately yielding a stronger outcome.

Digital banking gives us a clear example about how a basic concept—a branchless app-based bank—resulted in different regional winners with unique products and distinct advantages.

In Europe, thanks to regulatory reform, big players arose like N26, Monzo and others. These companies had built an ecosystem model that offered multiple services to consumers. In Brazil, Nubank, today valued at US$10B, was a credit-first model. In the US, the leader is Chime (full disclosure, the fund I work with is an investor), where debit interchange has proven to be the model that succeeded. On the surface, the headline of digital banks is similar, but under the hood, how these businesses reach customers and monetize could not be more different. Today, players are emerging all over the world, leveraging elements of each of these approaches.

These ideas improve as they scale. Go-Jek the ride-sharing app in Indonesia valued at over US$12 billion is a good example. It originally leveraged the ride-sharing models pioneered in Silicon Valley. Yet it improved the idea, borrowing inspiration from super-apps in China. Through its network of drivers, Go-Jek offers a range of services spanning financial services, meal delivery as well as cell phone top ups, doctor visits and even massages. Go-Jek and other global evolutions ended up inspiring the original as well, as we have seen the growth of UberEats and more recently its credit card and wallet.

Real innovation happens when entrepreneurs have the freedom to take an idea and iterate upon it, to build something that the world has not yet seen. Oftentimes these products are tailored to a new customer base, and the consumers and local economies stand to benefit. But through this process, we all have a chance to benefit because the ideas improve as they get attempted around the world.

We must keep innovation channels open

To continue to spur the world’s innovation movement we still need global connection. This of course starts with smart policies that are built on facts, not fear. The business and academic communities also have an important role to play in finding new ways of supporting the global innovation supply chain amidst the lock down and travel restrictions.

Companies must speak up about the ways in which immigration propels their business forward through innovation and growth. Likewise, academic institutions must weigh in. The nonprofit sector should continue to double down on global entrepreneurial communities.

To solve the world’s thorniest problems, we need the innovation supply chain to keep flowing.

Alex Lazarow is a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation and author of OUT-INNOVATE: How Global Entrepreneurs–from Delhi to Detroit–Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley.

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The world can’t afford entrepreneurial extinction

closed business

closed businessContributed by Pam Kosanke, global marketing leader for EOS Worldwide.

We’ve seen more than our share of changes in the last six months, but one of the most disturbing has been the rapid disappearance of small businesses. While large corporations consolidate their power (and the stock market rises in response), entrepreneurs are becoming an endangered species. This has widespread implications for our economic future and the health of our world, and we need all hands on deck to reverse the trend.

Most people have no idea how much value entrepreneurs bring to the US economy. Before the pandemic hit, 44 percent of economic activity in the US came from smaller businesses. Since the pandemic, 42 percent of small business owners have reported shuttered operations. 

That’s a recipe for stagnation. Innovation suffocates when the dominant force is an oppressive, controlling government or a handful of monopolistic companies. It thrives when entrepreneurs have the freedom to explore ideas, create innovation and jobs, and change the world. Entrepreneurs—especially minority entrepreneurs—are the key to getting us out of this tailspin. To use a more timely metaphor, entrepreneurs are the economic vaccine that’s going to prevent future illnesses and get us back to health.

Here are three strategies to protect you from endangerment and keep your innovative ideas, jobs and businesses alive and thriving:

1. Put your mask on first—figuratively speaking.

You’ve probably heard it a million times: When you’re leading in any crisis, you need to take care of your primary needs before you can take care of others’ needs.

In terms of navigating the entrepreneurial world during the pandemic, your top priorities should be keeping yourself healthy, positive and motivated. Only then will you have the strength and energy to be empathetic and compassionate to those around you.

Staying healthy includes checking in mentally, too. Ask yourself if you’re truly committed to navigating this crisis as an entrepreneur. Don’t simply ask yourself, “Do I have what it takes?” Make yourself answer the bigger question: “Do I want to do what it takes?” If the answer is “yes,” then it’s time to get moving.

2. Don’t overlook the importance of virtual meeting strategies.

When the world went virtual in early 2020, companies with existing strong meeting strategies transitioned operations online with relative ease. Those without them floundered.

This aspect of entrepreneurship might seem like a trivial detail, but it’s not. Meetings dominate our professional lives. Unfocused and out-of-control meetings chew up everyone’s valuable time and energy, and they can send your business spiraling.

To avoid this, focus on the structure, organization and frequency of all your meetings. Share your expectations and ground rules with attendees before every event. For instance, you may ask Zoom participants to turn off their cellphones and limit distractions. You may also want to make better use of chats, polls and breakout discussion rooms to promote involvement and avoid monopolizing every session.

3. Tap unrealized potential by getting serious about combating racial and social injustice.

COVID-19 isn’t the only disease we’re fighting right now. It’s nice to say that you’re all about inclusivity, but you have to back up your words with actions. Doing so isn’t just “PC” or politically wise. If you want to remain competitive and nimble, it’s the right thing to do and a vital business strategy.

For example, a Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have innovation revenue that is 19 percentage points higher. As an entrepreneur, you need to tap the full spectrum of talent and potential for your business. When you do that, you also fight injustice. A win-win!

One step toward more inclusivity is to rethink your traditional methods of recruitment and hiring, as well as your onboarding processes and policies. Invest in unconscious bias training for yourself and everyone on your team, and use what you learn to make interviews and job descriptions as nondiscriminatory as possible. Then generate an action plan that sets up diversity as a core belief in your organization.

Don’t just talk about equity; live it. You might be surprised to see how many customers (and talented employees) come your way when you align your corporate values with their personal ones.

The silver lining

We’ve never seen this kind of fear, uncertainty or health and economic stress felt around the world simultaneously. But here’s the silver lining: Many entrepreneurs are realizing that the ways they’ve been forced to collaborate and communicate during COVID-19 are actually an improvement. I’ve heard several say, “We should have been operating this way all along.”

Whether you’re already an entrepreneur or are taking the first steps into business ownership, stay the course. The road may be rocky at the moment, but survival isn’t just for the lucky few. It’s for leaders like you with the foresight to acknowledge the changing landscape and pivot with confidence.

At this point, you might be a little tired of hearing, “we’re all in this together,” but it remains true. It’s been a rough year, but we’re all figuring it out together. Now more than ever, we must keep supporting one another and moving forward. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the world depends on it.

Pam Kosanke is the global marketing leader for EOS Worldwide and a Professional EOS Implementer®. She has experience at both the corporate and small business levels and is eager to help entrepreneurial leadership teams and companies learn to champion brand skills, gain more control, and experience real traction in their business.

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The need for diversity and inclusion remains

diversity and inclusion

diversity and inclusionHere’s a fact: No matter how diverse or inclusive you believe your organization is, there is always more work to be done.

As you hire new staff members, as you assign projects, as you assess salaries, as you engage with potential clients, as you set goals for growth, as you market your services—all the areas of running a business are impacted by how intentionally you advocate for equality, diversity and inclusivity.

What’s one way to keep the topic at the forefront of our minds as entrepreneurs? Let’s continue discussing it and exploring ways to support these critical priorities in our workplace.

What can you learn about workplace diversity and inclusion from two entrepreneurs and members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization? 

“Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur and even as an individual, I have been very fortunate to meet people from diverse backgrounds who helped me get to where I am now. I believe diversity and inclusion occur when different people from different experiences come together with their shared stories and talents to work collaboratively,” says Anou Khanijou, the director of IFOTA Group and managing director at Anouconcept.

Anou believes that practising diversity and inclusion in the workplace is essential for a thriving business. “It encourages innovation, creativity and a sense of belonging and purpose. In my companies—IFOTA, a uniform wholesaler, and Anouconcept, a PR and marketing firm—we have team members from diverse backgrounds. We have a work culture that embraces diversity and promotes equality.”

She explains, “Culture may seem amorphous and vague, but to us, it means concrete actions. These include, for example, having both men and women in leadership or management roles, hiring people from a variety of backgrounds, asking team members to contribute ideas, and respecting those ideas by turning them into action. Even simple activities like shared lunches from different cultural backgrounds promote unity in diversity.”

“I work with a lot of creative minds and being inclusive means acknowledging their skills, giving them the freedom to be innovative and to make suggestions, and allowing them to be themselves at work. We need to recognise that not everybody has the same experience and lessons in life.”

“I got to where I am today because I learned from my failures and I was given second and third chances. My team deserves the same, and I see mistakes as learning opportunities,” she says.

Anou offers three tips to effectively promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

  1. Know your staff and know them well. Know what they have to offer and encourage them to participate based on their unique skills and needs.
  2. Be open to learning. Listen and learn from and together with others.
  3. Practice what you preach and set an example. By doing so, you create an empowering work environment where your team members trust you and want to collaborate with you.

“For us,” says Nyree Hibberd, CEO of Koh Living, “the key to inclusion is to ensure that we appreciate the differences in each other while bringing everyone back to our core values in the business. This way, we’re all on the same page, looking to achieve the same core goals within the business.”

“At Koh Living, both myself and my business partner, Tui Cordemans, are out and proudly gay! I remember 15 years ago when we were first hiring staff, we would routinely ask candidates if they had an issue working with people that are gay. Today, it’s absurd to think that we even asked those questions, and we’re grateful for our growth and changes in society,” Nyree shares.

Having a joint purpose, no matter what their role in the business, has always kept Nyree and Tui on track. “We focus on the things we have in common, not the things we have that are different,” she says.

Because human connections and relationships are at the heart of their business, “Making people feel important” is one of their corporate values where they promote and practise respect and responsibility. Whether it’s a customer, supplier or service provider, everyone is important at Koh Living.

Nyree shares a few tips to those who want to advance diversity and inclusion in their teams:

  1. Be aware of the diversity within your teams, and if any staff that are sensitive to particular things.
  2. Ensure that there is no room for sarcasm and putting down. We make it clear what is and isn’t acceptable.
  3. Ensure each team member understands the important role they play in the overall goal of the business. We create quarterly and weekly goals. We check in with each person, asking about their high priority activities for the week to help the business achieve its quarter goal. We find that this makes everyone feel they are on the same team, and there is little room for not feeling included when you’re part of the big picture.

The original version of this article appeared here.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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Your path to happiness & success: 3 ways to hack your daily habits


happiness hacks

 

Contributed by Shawn Johal, business growth coach, leadership speaker and co-founder of DALS Lighting, Inc. He is also an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Montreal chapter. 

“Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.”
– William Makepeace Thackeray

An iPhone starts ringing, startling me out of my deep sleep. I lean over and grab it, immediately hitting snooze on the alarm.

Minutes later, it blares again. This time I turn off the alarm and start scrolling. First the news, where I see all at once the tragic situations happening around the world. Next up are my emails, where I get hit by a rush of dopamine seeing several messages that require immediate action.

I start replying quickly, wanting to get as much accomplished as possible. Now my mind is reeling, because only so much can be done in bed. I have fires to extinguish, people to call and answers to send in every direction. The day has just started and I already feel behind.

This is how I started my days for years. I never thought about the consequences, until I learned a better way to start my day.

Changing my morning routine helped me gain tremendous clarity. Next came better workout habits, followed by a new evening shutdown process. Eventually, I integrated all of these amazing tools into my daily schedule.

For years, I underestimated the power of good habits.

Being reactive seemed natural—and easier. As mere mortals, we’re often drawn to the path of least resistance. Being proactive is harder and takes discipline. But once we see the results of taking action, we can cultivate, step by step, a new way of doing things that will change our productivity levels, our energy and, most importantly, the successful outcomes we all want to achieve.

Here are three ways you can level up your game and begin habit-hacking your life.

1. Implement the 10-10-10 rule

I had the amazing privilege of attending GLA: Global Leadership Academy. This is an exclusive leadership program run by the Entrepreneur’s Organization, the world’s largest peer-to-peer network of entrepreneurs. For five days, we were immersed in deep learning about our habits, mindset and performance. A truly transformative experience.

The most powerful tool I learned during this immersive week was a practice called the 10-10-10 rule. The numbers represent minutes. As you wake up, you take the first 30 minutes to prepare your day for success:

  1. The first 10 minutes are dedicated to meditation and intention-setting.
  2. The next 10 minutes are for stretching and visualization.
  3. Finally, the last 10 minutes are used for reading positive and inspiring literature.

Since starting this practice, I have gained tremendous clarity of vision. I’m no longer reactive, but rather focus my energy on accomplishing specific goals.

When I teach this method to people, many feel it is too long. They feel they don’t have this amount of time available in the morning. I suggest they start small: 5-5-5. Boom! You cut the time in half and can still get the amazing benefits of setting your day up the right way.

2. Master your schedule

You are the master of your schedule. Yes, we all have commitments and work. We have partners, kids, pets and a million things to do on any given day. But we all have the same 24 hours to work with. How many excuses are we making?

I have learned that scheduling time for breaks and workouts is absolutely key in having sustained productivity for the entire day. These are energy-adding activities: they provide an opportunity to clear your mind and bring a fresh perspective to your work and life.

Put them in your schedule and do not compromise on them. Treat breaks and workouts the way you would treat a meeting with an important client. Make them non-negotiable. Once integrated, they will become a cornerstone of your forward progress.

3. Gratitude journal and letters

Yes, it’s time to show some gratitude for this amazing life we live. Think of the millions of cells we have, with our blood flowing, heart pumping, breathing every day without giving it a second thought. We are truly blessed to be alive and it is a gift to be cherished.

Once per day, at any time you choose, write down three to five things for which you are grateful. These don’t need to be awe-inspiring events—and often the simplest ones are the most powerful. Talking with a friend, having a meal with family, connecting with a butterfly, landing a new client—these are equally amazing events. Cherish each and appreciate all.

Here’s another way to show gratitude and focus on the positive: Write a letter to someone you wish to thank. Psychologist Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman tested the impact of positive psychology on more than 400 people.

Participants were assigned to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for their kindness. He then tested happiness scores and found a massive increase that lasted for months after the exercise.

Habit-hacking works

We don’t need to strive for high performance. Being “ambitious” is a choice—and not one we all necessarily want to choose. But all of us can try being happier and more productive, which can often lead to more time doing the things we love.

By creating better routines and integrating new energy-producing habits, we can focus on success outcomes instead of reacting to every situation that comes our way.

The only way to know if it works is by trying it. Give yourself small goals each day. Try one new routine and do it every day until it feels right for you. Then move on to the next habit you want to integrate. Slowly but surely, you will become amazing at habit-hacking—and you’ll win the day, everyday.

Shawn Johal is a Scaling Up Certified Coach currently working with several entrepreneurs and their businesses to help accelerate their growth, while finding personal balance and happiness.

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Three steps to a successful pivot

pivot
pivot

In today’s business vocabulary, the word pivot—as a verb or a noun—has become shorthand for any change or shift. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, forced many of us to initiate wholesale and all-encompassing pivots in order to stay afloat. 

We talked with entrepreneurs and members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) who recently overhauled their businesses in order to survive—and perhaps even thrive—in a post-pandemic landscape.

From their experiences, we learn three key steps to making a successful pivot. 

1. Adjust your services to be relevant today

WooHah Productions is based near Melbourne, Australia, and provides audio-visual equipment. Before coronavirus, they primarily catered to in-person events and live entertainment activities. When those became scarce, the company found itself with few prospects.

Arosh Fernando EO melbourne Arosh Fernando, creative director of WooHah Productions, says, “When our core business was not permited to function due to the government restrictions, we realized we had to change everything.”

The team had to come up with a new way to make their products and services relevant in the current times. With that, Studio 45 by WooHah Productions was born.

“We turned our warehouse into a television and live-stream broadcast centre. We created Studio 45, our pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a state-of-the-art studio with the latest audio, lighting and video technology as well as a 14m-wide digital LED screen and broadcast cameras to enrich virtual events,” explains Arosh.

The studio has become the venue for various live stream events—from Easter Sunday church services to five-day virtual conferences. “We also helped funeral homes during lockdown period by live-streaming services for family members and friends.”

Additionally, says Arosh, “we built an online ticketing platform to help event agencies and organizers make money on virtual and live-streamed events.”

Arosh notes that “all these changes helped us, as we would have no income if it wasn’t for them.”

2. Stay true to your brand and commited to your clients

Brad Hampel EO Brad Hampel, director at Solution Entertainment, faced the same industry challenges as Arosh Fernando. With in-person events drying up, he pivoted his venture to an online engagement platform that blends technology and experiences to connect and unite workforces.

His new company, All In, brings colleagues and communities together, even when they are physically apart. All In delivers hundreds of curated experiences around five key pillars that touch on today’s greatest needs: community, mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, education and entertainment.

“For over a decade, Solution Entertainment has made connection our currency. We bring brands, businesses and people together through experiences that are exciting, rewarding and memorable. In this challenging time, we may need to do it a little differently but that’s exactly what we intend to keep on doing,” Brad explains. “That’s why, no matter whether we’re together or apart, we wanted to continue to give our clients access to experiences that inform, inspire and delight.”

3. Maintain a narrow focus

trent dyball EO“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly delivered huge challenges for business owners both around the globe,” says the creative director at ManBrands, Trent Dyball. A subsidiary of Norman Connell Advertising, ManBrands is an advertising agency that develops creatively inspired strategic campaigns that speak to men.

Instead of focusing on the negative, Trent focused on how he and his team could make the most of the situation. “Owning a marketing and content agency during this period has provided me with an opportunity to help many businesses successfully change course to survive and, in some cases, increase profitability.”

The common thread for those organization that succeed? Change only one element of their go-to-market strategy.

Trent explains, “In our experience, businesses that stay focused on their existing target market have secured success quickly.”

According to Trent, “Modifying your product or service offering or providing alternate delivery methods to continue to fulfil your current target market’s needs is a simple and effective pivot strategy. Finding a new product or service to offer to your existing target market has also proven successful.”

“This allows businesses to increase their share of wallet and is easier and more cost-effective than identifying and nurturing a completely new target audience.”

“Of course, identifying a new target market for your existing product or service can also deliver outstanding results, but generally over a longer period,” he adds. “We recommend our clients ask existing customers how they use their products. As a result, they often discover potential new applications and target markets.”

Internally, their agency has shifted its focus from deliverables to strategy. “While still extremely challenging, it is also quite exciting to help clients adapt and explore new opportunities. The old saying still rings true: Play to your strengths.”

A version of this article originally appeared on EO Melbourne’s blog. 

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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How EO taught me I’m a no-good dirty liar (even though I wrote the book on honesty)

Peter Kozodoy honesty
Peter Kozodoy honesty

When I turned 30—four long years ago—two things happened:

First, I was told I should join the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), to which I promptly answered, what the heck is EO? (Don’t worry, I did join— thankfully so.)

Second, I decided I hadn’t achieved enough in my life. But, in fact, that’s an understatement.

The truth is, I beat myself up about not having achieved enough in my life, and right then and there I created new goals for myself.

They included writing for Inc. and Forbes, doing a TEDx Talk, going back to Columbia to get an MBA, and, last but certainly not least, becoming a published author.

By August 2020, every one of those big goals had come to fruition. And it felt…weird.See, I never meant to write this particular book, Honest to Greatness, about how today’s greatest leaders use strategic, brutal honesty to achieve success in their lives and businesses.

I actually meant to write a marketing book because my biggest company, GEM, is a marketing agency. But instead, I ended up writing a book about the thing which, to my shock and horror, I had been lacking all along: brutal honesty.

The lies we tell ourselves know no bounds

If the quarter-life crisis is a real thing, then my 30th birthday was it, and for no good reason whatsoever.

I had built a million-dollar business, after all. Wasn’t that enough? Unfortunately, sitting in my own self-loathing, it wasn’t.

In response, I created a set of goals for myself that included some of the most egotistical desires known to mankind, including an Ivy League degree, notoriety on stages and in print and enough social proof to be considered legally alcoholic.

Want to know the worst part? I told myself those were all business-building activities. Spoiler alert: They weren’t.

Those goals were what many of us succumb to—those of us members of the entrepreneurial intelligentsia who think we, like Midas, have the golden touch in all manner of self-gratifying projects.

As I learned from an expensive, painful, brain-scrambling book launch this past summer that missed the goal by only several thousand copies, we don’t always strike gold (though we sure like to buy the best-lookin’, golden pickaxe as our weapon of choice).

Which brings me back to how weird it’s been to achieve those ego-driven goals in the first place…and be forced to reflect back on how those goals have forever redefined my life.

What started as a quarter-life crisis turned into my goal to write a marketing book, which morphed, in the care and guidance of far more intelligent folks than I, into something so much more: a treatise on why we lie, how our biases, self-limiting beliefs and ego damage our lives and businesses, and how, ironically, a lesson we all learned in preschool turns out to be one of the greatest strategies to achieve remarkable success—both in business and in life.

Only through that journey did I learn the brutal truth: 30 hit me hard because I had allowed some early-in-life failures to knock me down a peg and tell me I’d never achieve greatness. And the thing about those kinds of lies is that they’re always true…as long as we believe them.

Now, even as I’m still evolving into a monk of self-honesty, I’ve become the guy who runs around and convinces business audiences everywhere that honesty truly is the best policy and strategy—especially if you’re a lying  entrepreneur (like me).

After all the lies and truths, here’s what I learned

The thing about writing a book on honesty is that I get to be honest. So, for better or worse, my way of solving self-loathing was to achieve the most validating goals I could dream up.

And yes, those lofty goals at 30 were ego-trips. Big ones. With Prada bags and first-class tickets that I’ll be paying off for a while.

But you know what else they were? Experiences. Memories. Close encounters of the kind I never thought possible—like with Barbara Corcoran, who endorsed Honest to Greatness, and with the CEOs of some Fortune 500 companies that wrote me to say “I look forward to reading this.”

The whole ordeal reminds me of two phrases that one of my professors at Columbia liked to repeat. The first was, “You can never discount the fact that the person you’re interacting with may, in fact, be an actual idiot.”
But the second, more pertinent phrase, was, “The best kind of altruism is selfish altruism. That way, everybody wins.”

So perhaps our ego trips are worth it—both to us and to others. They sure make for some great experience shares in our EO Forums and in our social groups, in our marriages and for the amusement of our mentors.

Plus, why else do we become entrepreneurs than to experience the freedom of choice—be they good ones or bad—as long as they’re ours?

In that light, perhaps all we can do is take solace in our evolving ability to at least get honest about what those trips really are. Then we can claim self-awareness…if not self-control in the first place. And who knows, maybe there’s no other way to fumble through the forest of self-identity than to run headlong into a few trees along the way.

But here’s what’s most odd of all: No matter how much shame or guilt or elation or pride I feel about the egotistical traps I set for myself just four long years ago, I just have to be honest.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Peter Kozodoy is a member of EO East Link and former member of EO New York. He’s the author of Honest to Greatness: How Today’s Greatest Leaders Use Brutal Honesty to Achieve Massive Success, an Inc. 5000 serial entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, and business coach who works with organizations and their leaders to help them overcome self-limiting lies and use honesty to achieve greatness. To strike up an honest conversation, visit PeterKozodoy.com.

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13 entrepreneurs reveal their best business advice

1. Agonise over whether or not you need business partners

Ai-Ling Wong—founder at The Decorateur

If you can afford it, don’t have business partners. Nine out of 10 entrepreneurs I know have long-term pain with their partners. The tenth entrepreneur without the headache is usually the one without a business partner. For me, not having a business partner is one less problem.

During my journey, people have asked me if I want to partner with them—usually because they know that I know how to work hard. I have held back because I place more value on the relationship.

2. Always look for the angles

Alex Louey—founder and managing director at Appscore 

If you’re pitching, selling or proposing a partnership, you want to find out what will spark the other person’s interest so that they can’t help but want to work with you.

The act of “doing business” is a lot like dating; everyone likes something different. Your job is to find where the other person’s sweet spots are.

If their response is “no”, it’s not because they don’t want to use your products or services. It’s because you just haven’t pitched your products or services to solve their problems.

3. Listen to your gut

Andrea Grisdale—founder and CEO at IC Bellagio

Even if every single person in the room believes otherwise–and that room is filled with people who you believe are more experienced, more intelligent and more prepared than you are–do what your instincts tell you you do. Listen to the point of view of others but go with your gut. It will never fail you.

Whenever I made a decision that was contrary to my gut or intuition, whether it be because I wanted to people please or I capitulated under the pressure of being surrounded by, in my opinion, people who were more intelligent, experienced or qualified than I was, those decisions have always turned out to be the wrong decision. Conversely, whenever I made a decision that honoured what my gut or intuition was telling me, it was the right decision.

4. Measure Twice. Cut Once.

Daniel Dickson—managing director at Amarco Enterprises

The best business advice I was given was in my year 10 woodwork class by my teacher—who was teaching woodwork to boys who were both frivolous and quick to make decisions on cutting into beautiful pieces of timber. I believe I still say this to my staff at least 10 times a week.

The reason this advice is so important is that often people are quick to make decisions or take actions, only to use twice the time later to fix mistakes that could have been avoided.

“Measure twice, cut once” ensures that that we do things properly and—prior to delivering, executing or starting—we ensure that all the checks and measures are taken to ensure our chances increase for a successful deployment or implementation.

5. Do the most important thing at the start of the day

David Fastuca—founder at Ambisie and founder at Locomote

Spend the first two hours of your work day doing the most important thing, so that if you did nothing else, you would be satisfied.

This is an idea that has been drummed into me over time by various mentors and business people. I–and many people I know–have a tendency to get caught up in “doing things” that we forget, or worse, neglect the things that should be done to help move our businesses forward.

6. Never give someone else permission to treat you in a way that is contrary to your values, principles, and beliefs

Demi Markogiannaki—founder at WeTeachMe.

The best advice I have ever received came from one of my mentors from the US. It’s an amazing life lesson, and one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

During one of our regular catchups, I was complaining about how I felt helpless while dealing with a co-worker who was being a bully. I remember vividly how I went on and on about how much I disliked the way my co-worker treated people, and the detrimental effect that this behaviour was having on the workplace culture.

I confessed how I constantly felt unhappy, stressed and unappreciated; how nothing was ever good enough; and how this co-worker had an uncanny ability to find the negative in just about everything.

After I finished unloading, my mentor looked at me in the eye and said, “I don’t feel sorry for you. I apologise if this sounds insensitive, but you are only allowing yourself and others to be bullied. Stand up for yourself. Build yourself up so that you will be able to handle situations like this. You have the power to call this co-worker out, and to tell them to shut up. If you don’t have the ability to stand up for yourself, how are you going to stand up for, and support, others?”

My learning is that to be an effective leader, one that can both protect and elevate others, starts from being able to lead yourself. It starts from having the courage to stand up for your values, your principles, and your beliefs, and never ever give permission to anyone else to treat you in a way that is contrary to your values, principles and beliefs.

7. Find the puzzle pieces

Emma Welsh—founder at Emma & Tom’s

Talk to as many experienced people as you can. Each person you talk to will have one small piece of the puzzle, but not the entire puzzle.

Your job, as an entrepreneur, is to find as many pieces of the puzzle as you can, from as many different, experienced people as possible, and then to construct your own version of that puzzle as best as you can.

8. Skills can be learned. Values cannot.

Jamie Skella—chief operating and product officer at Mogul

I didn’t have the luxury of mentors at my disposal as a young entrepreneur, so most of the business advice I garnered was from afar as I closely watched those succeeding on the global stage (as well as those who were making mistakes).

One of the earliest meaningful pieces of advice I remember paying attention to was Richard Branson’s “most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality”.

Alas, some lessons need to be learnt first hand. In spite of Richard’s words, I still fell into the trap of hiring based on credentials instead of cultural compatibility at one critical juncture in the past. It’s not a mistake I’ve made since as a hiring manager and it’s also a learning I’ve carried over into my investments: I back entrepreneurs first and foremost and not their CVs; that distinction is critical.

9. Life is too short to learn everything through experience

Keith Roberts—founder, author and speaker at OAKJournal; founder and creative director at Zenman

This idea was taught to me by a gentleman by the name of James Webb. James and I couldn’t be more opposite in our personal life, but throughout the years we have become lifetime friends.

The idea that “life is too short to learn everything through experience” applies to my business, my personal and my family life. It seems like common sense, but when applied to all facets of your life, it can have a significant impact by helping you: (1) avoid pitfalls; and (2) identify possibilities.

It means that you can avoid potential hardships by learning from what others have done or experienced before. The practice of looking into the past also reveals opportunities that may have previously gone unseen.

Don’t make mistakes or miss the chance to capitalize on trends that are visible by looking at historical or competitor data.

10. Be unrelenting

Kym Huynh—founder at WeTeachMe

I grew up intimately watching, and bearing witness to, the ethos and work ethic of my mother and my father.

It is seared into every fibre of my being the unrelenting nature in their extreme work ethic, the strength in their inability to take no for an answer, the bravery in their conviction to stand up for what is right and fair, the audacity in their willingness to bulldoze through insurmountable odds and the courage in their unrelenting ability to never, ever, give, up.

I cannot remember nor can I imagine a time when the above was not the case.

11. Let people go if you cannot serve them

Raymond Chou—founder and CEO at Infront Consulting

I used to hate letting non-performers go because I had this strange thought in the back of my mind that said, “If you let them go, you will destroy their life.”

This little voice was challenged one day when I was asked, “If this person continues working for you, am I right to say he will never progress in his career?”

To this question I responded, “Yes”, to which they replied, “So why are you destroying this person’s career when you could let them go somewhere else where they can be a superstar?”

It was at this point that I finally understood the meaning of “letting someone go”. This is something that I have carried with me since.

12. The riches are in the niches

Ron Lovett—founder and chief alignment officer at Connolly Owens; founder and chief community officer at Vida Living

Verne Harnish shared an idea that I carry with me and that idea is about focus: 

  1. Take an industry and break it into sectors
  2. Pick 10 percent of the overall sector where you think you have the most opportunity and can beat the competition
  3. Double down and completely focus there. Own 70 percent of that 10 percent!

In my last business (security guarding) we were focused on a model but not a market segment (customer). If I could go back and do things again, I would have put a lot more of my energies into focusing, and I believe that I would have built a much larger business as a result.

13. If you are in a crisis, committees of one make the best decisions

Tony Falkenstein—founder and CEO at Just Life Group Limited

In this time of COVID-19, I reflect on the advice from John Fernyhough, who was a very successful lawyer and entrepreneur in New Zealand. One of his great lines is “as a lawyer I will tell you what the legal position is, but then we decide what the commercial action is; that’s the fun part”!

John’s advice in a crisis is “take absolute control; you are like the pilot of a plane, you get paid the big money for when you are in trouble so forget discussions and meetings; just take the action you think is right, and execute fast”.

I became CEO of a long established family company that had gone public; it had millions of dollars of obsolete stock, it had no good processes, controls or reporting, it rented a building that it didn’t need, and every executive had an executive assistant. The son of the founder was the production manager, the board had monthly catered meetings with drinks and yet the company was insolvent. The directors hadn’t realised it. Nobody had.

I drew big red crosses through the management team, including the founder’s son, rented out the extra building, found a creative way we could use the stock, put a customer service person who had a “just do it” attitude into credit control, and found a new major revenue product. I went to the bank who had the company “under watch”, told them what had been done, and said they could put us in receivership now, or lend us more money.

All this happened within one month of joining. We then developed the new management team from existing staff who stepped up to the plate.

The result? The company’s share price moved from 48 cents to over $13 in three years. The big learning: First impressions are generally right, so if you are in a crisis, committees of one make the best decisions.

A version of this article originally appeared on Kym Huynh’s blog.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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Hey, entrepreneurs: Don’t push your kids the way you push yourself

entrepreneur parent

entrepreneur parentDr. Lee Hausner is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles, California, USA. She specializes in helping successful families raise resilient, hard-working children. In February 2019, Dr. Hausner was a guest on Kalika Yap’s Wonder podcast. The three-part series reveals practical ways that entrepreneurs can overcome unique challenges in raising their kids.

When Lee Hausner’s daughter moved from the Los Angeles public school system into the one in Beverly Hills, she picked up math right where she left it: in an advanced class. But the new class was much more advanced, and Hausner’s daughter began to flail.

“I need a tutor,” her daughter said. “I’m drowning.”

Many parents, especially type-A, entrepreneurial ones, would have gotten the tutor. Hausner knew better, and she made a call that would have been tough for other high-achieving parents. She took her daughter out of the advanced class and put her in a regular one. Hausner knows what she’s doing. She is a PhD psychologist who has worked with successful families for more than two decades, helping them raise resilient, thriving offspring. She is the author of Children of Paradise: Successful Parenting For Prosperous Families. Before that, she was a senior psychologist in the Beverly Hills School District.

One of the most common mistakes she sees is high-powered parents pushing their kids to be high-powered, too. It’s hard for those parents to let their kids take a path of less resistance because it seems like quitting, she says. But it’s not.

“Entrepreneurs push themselves,” Hausner says on the Entrepreneurs’ Organization podcast Wonder with Kalika Yap.” They think that they can put that kind of pressure and pushing on their children. That’s where the disaster occurs.”

When something like math becomes stressful, kids will avoid it, Hausner says. So, it’s better to have them engaged at a lower level than struggling at a higher one.

Nor should parents fixate on grades, she says. “Your hard working B student is just as valuable as that child who brings home As. If you have your child in a highly competitive environment, then that child is not going to make straight As. That’s not the focus. The focus is being a responsible student. There are strategies for that.”

Raising responsible students

Here are the four steps she recommends for raising a responsible student:

  1. Make your child attend school every day “unless you put a thermometer in their mouth and it registers a temperature.”
  2. Make them do their homework “and they take it back to school. It’s not on the floor, it’s in the backpack.”
  3. Kids should have designated study time at home every single day.
  4. If they come home and say, “Oh, I did all my homework at school,” then they use that time to read, write or review for exams.

Hausner started working with wealthy kids after she went to work in the Beverly Hills School District and saw how many hurdles they face.

“I came into that district thinking these children should have the best of everything,” she says. “The best houses, the best travel, the best nannies. I was absolutely floored by the complexity and the challenges in the families that I was dealing with.”

How wealth impacts children

Wealth can distort a child’s world. Many scions of wealthy families struggle with drug addiction, alcoholism and depression. Bill Gates famously says that he plans to give his children enough money to do anything, but not enough to do nothing. Kids who don’t have to work often don’t develop a work ethic. Hausner agrees.

“When you’re in a more affluent family, things just appear,” she says. “You come home, and the brochures are on the desk for the spring vacation, and there’s a new car in the driveway, and they’re laying a new carpet in the den.”

Kids see the luxuries but not the work that pays for them, Hausner says. That’s why wealth usually lasts three generations before the family is middle class, or worse, again.

The difference between good parents and responsible parents

Similarly, Hausner says entrepreneurial parents should strive not to be good parents, but to be responsible parents.

Good parents try to do everything for their children. Responsible parents let their children do everything they are capable of doing by themselves. That doesn’t mean you let your 13-year-old drive in Los Angeles. But if your 3-year-old wants to help you make breakfast by bringing you the eggs, you allow it, because what’s a broken egg?

The difference shows with homework. A good parent may dive into homework at the first sign that their child is struggling. A responsible parent helps a child find ways to do homework independently with other resources. “Do not do homework,” Hausner says. “If you’re planning to do homework, you better be planning to go to college.”

One trick: When your child comes to you for help with something, count to ten and ask yourself if he or she can do any part of the task alone. Say your daughter says she needs a topic for a writing project. A good parent might say, “Well, why don’t you do a wonderful thing about Alaska. We took that trip, and we can go down to the travel agent and get these posters. Then we can go to the market and get little sugar cubes to make igloos…”

A responsible parent, meantime, might say: “I bet you got some great ideas. Why don’t you think of three or four ideas and then come and let’s talk about them?”

Suggesting a strategy isn’t as efficient as suggesting topics—and entrepreneurs love efficiency—but, often, the longer road is better for your kids.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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3 key ingredients for successful remote work

remote work

remote workThe global coronavirus pandemic has forced a widespread shift to remote work. The impact on our families and careers has been significant. Around the world, parents struggle to find a quiet space to work, professionals battle with technology, and employers assess the safest way forward.  

For all these reason and many more, we’re stressed! Many of us are burned out and disengaged.

We’re left with the question, is remote work a viable option? Can it be done successfully? Richard Walton and Heléne Smuts say yes—provided you have the right framework in place.

Walton is an member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and founder of Avirtual, a company that supplies virtual employees. Smuts is currently enrolled in EO’s Accelerator program and the founder of Credo Growth.

They recently collaborated on a seminar exploring the key ingredients for successful remote working. Here’s what they shared.

In order for any company to transition to being remote, a robust framework must be established for everyone to follow. Additionally, all employees, at every level of the company, must understand the expectations and procedures.  

A successful framework for remote work is made of these building blocks:

COMMUNICATION

The biggest cause of disengagement is lack of communication. When working remotely, it’s imperative for companies to communicate three times more than what they were doing previously.

There’s no such thing as too much communication. Accessible communication channels and regular check-ins will make remote work seamless. Make sure you’re communicating the same expectations and rules to every member of staff. Set aside time for assessing how people are feeling as well as recognizing great work.

Check out these practical ways to ensure open lines of communication.

  • Daily team huddles. Morning meetings with operational updates are a great way to keep everyone on the same page. Keep them to 20 or less. If you have more than 20 people in your business, then divide your larger team up into smaller groups of 10 or less.
    Because these are frequent operational updates, leaders should be able to quickly ascertain challenges, obstacles or concerns that team members are experiencing. Ask, where are people are stuck? The huddle isn’t about solutions. Challenges and issues are mentioned but then get dropped onto a parking lot and spoken about by the relevant team members after the meeting. Details are discussed one-on-one after the meeting.
  • A “fireside chinwag”: Walton suggests informal get togethers where staff connect on a personal level. This type of session promotes full transparency because it’s where your employees can ask you anything. Sometimes less structure gets people to open up and this builds more of a bond.
  • “Start, stop, keep”: This technique helps staff open up. Ask the questions, what should the organization start doing, stop doing and continue doing? People always have suggestions and this is a great method to get everyone contributing to the discussion.
  • All-staff meetings: These should be around 30 minutes long and held once a month. Crucially, they don’t touch on operational items. They are an opportunity for acknowledgement and recognition. Welcome new staff, celebrate promotions and achievements. Share appreciation and learnings.
    Walton has had great success using something he calls “spotlight”, where he picks two random people what they have done over the last few weeks that they are proud of.
    “The beauty of this is that the team knows I am going to pick on two people, so in advance of the meeting everyone starts looking back to think of things they are proud of”, he explains. “We all have things we are proud of but it sometimes takes some prodding to stop and remember them. I think that’s really healthy”.

TRUST

Without trust, everything else falls away. Distrust results in micromanagement.

Credo Growth applies the Trust Equation from the Trusted Advisor to build trust among employees and to become trustworthy as a leader.

The Trust Equation = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy over self-orientation/interest

The Trust Equation helps teams and leaders develop credibility, reliability and professional intimacy. One way to develop professional intimacy is by asking yourself, how can I share something with you that leaves me feeling vulnerable?

Trust forms the foundation of Credo Growth’s remote team intelligence framework:

  • Focus on direction: People must know what they’re working towards and must be focused on action steps.
  • Routine and habits: Leaders and staff alike must be intentional in their planning. Everybody must follow the rules of engagement.
  • Engagement: Leaders and team members are accessible and working toward personal and professional development.

Essentially, this framework ensures that people have what they need to deliver. They know what to expect and what’s expected. They feel connected. If all these components work, and you have the team centred in trust, you are well set up to have a high performing remote team.

CULTURE AND VISION

People become more responsible if they buy into your culture and vision. It’s important to recruit people who align with your company’s vision. The hiring process must consider remote needs and be guided by  on the company’s values—even if you’re outsourcing or bringing on contractors.

Your people need to understand—and be passionate about—your why. Why do you exist? What is your purpose? This is especially important for millennials and Gen Zs. They want to understand the bigger picture and what they are contributing to.

It’s essential for leaders to consistently reiterate the importance of the why. If done regularly, then everyone will understand what winning will look like in six months, 12 months, and even three years from now.

Follow these steps to improve culture:

  • Encourage feedback. Schedule regular one-on-ones. Start by praising what the employee is doing well. Then provide constructive criticism. Together, determine the best next steps.
  • Assign culture ambassadors. Identify any employee who naturally promotes the values. Leaders are also meant to be culture ambassadors, so it’s good for them to spend time with employees and teams across the organization. This can help them discover what’s really going on, on the ground.
  • Create an environment where people feel safe. Practice secure-based leadership. Coaching enhances psychological safety. Having deep conversations, being very transparent and vulnerable will get the best performance out of your people.
  • Own the culture and environment. Leaders must listen, reflect and question. How do leaders earn respect? People must trust you. Start by listening.
  • Launch team development initiatives. Look at experiential learning opportunities—with people sharing their own challenges and experiences. These often work better than teambuilding exercises to connect and engage staff.

As the world’s only peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs, EO helps transform the lives of those who transform the world.

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