Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Successful Leader?

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Successful Leader?

Article excerpt

BUSINESS SCORE CARD

Being a good leader will have a lot to do with your success. But how do you measure it?

As Bruce Bachenheimer of Pace University says, "A definition of a leader is someone with followers. The top quality of a leader is the ability to attract top-quality followers."

To explore what attributes great leaders possess, I looked at a survey by the Alternative Board and I conducted my own less formal Zink poll.

The Alternative Board, an international provider of executive peer advisory boards with over 3,000 members worldwide, conducted its study last month. It surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs to gather their predictions for 2017 and measure what's driving them forward and holding them back this year.

The survey results had a lot to say about what it means to be a leader, including:

- Although 95 percent of business owners have a positive outlook for the new year, only 85 percent feel positive about the overall U.S. economy.

- Business owners report positivity as their No. 1 leadership trait (47 percent), above passion (27 percent), personability (26 percent) and decisiveness (23 percent).

- Entrepreneurs feel they're most lacking on holding others accountable (67 percent), which may explain why 86 percent of them report working 40-plus hours a week.

How are business owners planning for success in 2017? For 76 percent of entrepreneurs, preparing for more success means strategic planning, with the primary intention of improving sales revenue growth (50 percent) and profitability (44 percent). For those with strategic plans, the majority (85 percent) intend to review and adjust their strategy quarterly or annually. As for the 24 percent without strategic plans, it's not so much that they don't see the value in them (22 percent), it's just that they are "too busy" (50 percent).

"Strategic planning is an essential function for small business success," said Alternative Board chief marketing officer Jodie Shaw.

"Entrepreneurs who are operating without a strategic plan because they are 'too busy' are likely working in their business (putting out day-to-day fires) rather than on it," he said.

The majority of business owners selected "fulfilling our vision, mission and goals" as their No. 1 responsibility as a leader. This outranked keeping customers satisfied (21 percent) and keeping employees happy and productive (15 percent).

"If your company's vision, mission and goals are your No. 1 priorities, strategic planning should take precedence over everyday customer and employee concerns," Shaw said.

I couldn't agree more, as I am often asked to help clients with this process. …

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