Arturo Alvarez-Demalde is a managing partner. A graduate of Harvard Business School, he works in the areas of venture capital and private equity. His track record has been overwhelmingly positive. With years of experience and a track record that demonstrates true expertise, Alvarez-Demalde is a great model for young entrepreneurs to emulate.
Alvarez-Demalde makes it clear that the ability to collaborate has been a key to his success. Efficiency is also a focus for him. When tackling a problem, his strategy is to, “…first recognize the source of the troublesome issue and then commit to doing everything possible to correct it in the future.” With this pragmatic outlook, he has achieved a great deal.
Giving back is also important to Alvarez-Demalde. He is a board member for ARIS and supports a number of other philanthropic causes. These include the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at his alma mater, Harvard.
I recently had the chance to discuss leadership and management with Michael Mally. Mally has held numerous positions as an executive and manager over both individuals as well as teams. His experience is invaluable to both new and seasoned managers.
Randi Glazer: What is one thing you would tell a new manager?
Michael Mally: Listen to your employees. If there is something they are trying to tell you, listen. You don’t have to bend to their will or do what they say, but you should listen. I was recently in a meeting and another manager heard an employee give an idea and before she could even finish getting the words out, the manager was shooting holes in her idea. The idea may or may not be a good one, but this employee is unlikely to give you her thoughts next time because you don’t care what she has to say. She was not made to feel valuable and she was taught to keep her thoughts to herself.
Glazer: That sounds dramatic.
Mally: It was overly dramatic to everyone except the employee. It was a situation that she likely won’t forget for a while. If you can’t hear your employees, you don’t know what you’re missing. It could be something as simple as getting a parking ticket!
Glazer: A parking ticket?
Mally: I was sitting in a meeting with a client and his receptionist knocked and opened the door. Before she spoke he chastised her and told her to shut the door. She started to interject her comment but he stopped her and made her shut the door. When I was walking out he said, “Now what did you want?” She said the public parking police was at the end of the block and was going to give him a ticket when she got down to his car. Embarrassed, he showed me out. I don’t know if he learned a lesson, but I certainly did. Listen to your employees!
Regardless of the endeavor, true leaders take on an incredibly diverse range of responsibilities to ensure the continued success of their organization. It is for this reason that the most successful leaders understand that their role should include a significant focus on the development of a future generation of leaders, especially in a field as critical as social entrepreneurship.
For Luke Weil, a longtime social entrepreneur who has enjoyed immense success in a variety of pursuits that include entrepreneurial, philanthropic and investment endeavors, preparing a new generation of social entrepreneurs is one of his most essential leadership responsibilities. It is this view that has led Weil to focus not only on creating a foundation for social entrepreneurship upon which future leaders can build, but to also ensure those leaders understand how to best utilize the tools that are available to them and that they are able to make the most out of the endeavors they ultimately choose to pursue.
Of course, preparation is easier said than done, and many current leaders have emphasized the importance of developing an understanding of those who will eventually occupy critical leadership roles. With a deep understanding of the generation that will follow, the current leaders in social entrepreneurship will be able to develop a highly effective set of strategies and methodologies for use in instilling the most fundamental qualities a future leader should possess.
Business leaders must be able to manage a wide range of responsibilities if they are going to be able to be effective in carrying out their duties while also achieving the stated objectives of the business they are charged with leading. While these responsibilities are often incredibly diverse and entail a great deal, ensuring that all team members are consistently motivated to excel in every way possible is certainly at the forefront of any business leader’s mind, and rightly so.
Much has been made of the need to adopt a specific style of leadership in order to effectively motivate team members, but a nuanced approach in which very specific steps are taken for the express purpose of motivating personnel is likely to be equally effective, if not more so. One highly effective measure being increasingly implemented by business leaders revolves around the use of data analytics derived from a social media proposal template as well as any number of other sales proposal templates.
Real-Time Feedback Encourages Healthy Competition
It may come as something of a surprise that a template could somehow yield significant increases in motivation among sales team members, but the advent of proposal templates like the ones offered by Proposable.com have increasingly utilized the kind of real-time analytical feedback that can stimulate motivation in a manner that has a meaningful impact on overall business operations. With regard to the social media proposal template created by Proposable in particular, team members are able to easily access instant data concerning the efficacy of the specific approach used by each and every team member, thereby encouraging healthy competition among the entirety of the team.
The Impact of Increased Efficiency on Productivity
It’s not just competition among the sales staff that yields a positive impact on a manager’s ability to effectively lead, as there are many studies demonstrating how enhancing the efficiency of the systems team members use in their daily work responsibilities has a compounding effect on overall productivity. This is because team members are not discouraged by the presence of unnecessary obstacles and frustratingly inefficient systems, and they instead feel that their time and efforts are being recognized and appropriately valued when exceptional systems are put in place.
Business leaders who demonstrate to team members that they are committed to ensuring consistent quality in all areas of operations are simply more likely to enjoy exceptional productivity from the team members they are charged with leading. In utilizing social media proposal templates in which the value of customization is clearly recognized and the sales proposal process is made far more efficient, business leaders place team personnel in the ideal position to succeed in all aspects of their professional responsibilities.
Showcasing the Company’s Commitment to Cutting-Edge Technology
There is no easier way to discourage team members than by failing to recognize the inherent advantages associated with the use of the most cutting-edge technology available. A business leader who asks sales staff to just “do the best they can with the technology as it is,” may as well tell their staff that the time and energy put into business operations is not inherently valuable. On the other hand, a business leader who provides their team members with access to only the most innovative and cutting-edge technology demonstrates a commitment to the company’s continued success as well as a commitment to the continued success of their team members.
When we start a new job, we learn how to do the tasks, but there’s more that we aren’t taught. A lot that isn’t taught about jobs is what we have to learn on our own unfortunately. This is what inspired me to write my book because I wish I had someone to teach me the things that I had to learn on my own over the many years in underwriting industry. In my book, you’ll learn wisdom through my experience of what to expect in working with the underwriting industry.
Despite the fact that highly refined leadership skills are deeply valued across every industry, few professionals are able to truly develop their leadership capabilities in such a way that they are able to consistently get the most out of those they are charged with leading. This is not to say that there is an utter lack of capable leaders available in professional settings, as it is certainly true that there are many fine leaders generating exceptional results through the guidance they provide.
According to Dr. Sid Solomon, however, nearly every leader could better serve their industries by making a commitment to continually pursuing educational opportunities whenever they arise. While courses in leadership may indeed be beneficial, the focus of these educational pursuits can be anything relevant to the industry in which the leader works.
It is through the consistent pursuit of educational opportunities that a leader can send a clear message to those they are responsible for leading, as this approach demonstrates that a leader deeply values education for its own sake and that they are committed to always improving as a professional despite their lofty position. This sets a valuable example for everyone else and pushes all team members to do everything within their power to improve as a professional.
For a veteran of international sporting competition like John Pryor, rugby is so much more than just a recreational pursuit to be played on nothing more than a whim or a moment’s notice. As the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Japan Rugby Football Union, Pryor has instilled a deep belief in the importance of thorough physical preparation through a highly specialized training system in which each athlete is able to achieve a peak level of fitness. Pryor has also applied similar beliefs and principles to his work with JointAction, where he serves as its director and is responsible for developing strategies for improving occupational health and wellness.
Pryor’s extensive academic background includes a master’s degree earned in biomechanics from Southern Cross University, and long since earning his degree he has consistently pursued opportunities for continued education. Through research and the application of the principles developed through years of academic research as well as practical experience, Pryor has succeeded in creating fitness programs that deliver exceptional results specific to the individual goals of the athlete under his guidance.
In what is likely the most impressive example of Pryor’s training success, the Japan Rugby Football Union was able to upset South Africa in World Cup play in 2015, with most observers noting the exceptional fitness level of Japan’s national team members and the particular role it played in late-game situations. While Pryor’s work with the Japan Rugby Football Union made headlines across the world of international rugby, his achievements with JointAction ought to be considered of equal merit, as Pryor has been able to assist clients across a wide range of industries in the prevention of workplace-related injuries through an enhanced focus on health and wellness.
Let’s from last month’s blog post about David Allen’s advice on how to be sufficiently productive. We ended with Allen’s two-minute rule. His two-minute rule essentially states that if you can accomplish a task in under two minutes, do it right then! Do it right then instead of writing it down because it will take all of two minutes to write it down and then read it later. However, if you happen to remember something at 11pm at night, and it will take two minutes to send out an email, should you do it at that hour? No, that’s too late. New brain research shows that sending emails or checking your email an hour and half before you go to sleep will sub-optimize your brain’s ability to knit things together.
Are you supposed to be at you bosses beck and call no matter what time the email is sent? Not exactly. It takes some maturity and professionalism to understand and respect the boundaries between at work and not at work.
Another tip: empty your email every 24 to 48 hours. When your email box is stuffed, people enter scan mode an anxiously check their email often just in case they missed something. Can you imagine having an empty inbox?! What would that feel like? The smaller your backlog of unprocessed stuff, the easier it is to deal with surprises or changes. If you are bothered by other stuff lying around, it will weigh on your psyche. Clean your desk; clear your inbox. Just try it!
And if you feel like you’re someone who is not bothered by this, they say if you try it, you will realize that it was similar to noise in a room that you don’t hear until someone shuts it off. Re-reading emails to re-decide things is a huge waste of cognitive energy.
Some don’t realize that they are addicted to stress. Now that is a crazy idea to process, isn’t it?
Perhaps the most intimidating part of leadership is knowing that in conjunction to playing a key role in a team’s success, leaders are responsible for their team’s mistakes. In order to get great results from their team, leaders must motivate their team members. As a manager, a positive work environment will yield great results from your team members, it will help you build confidence in your leadership skills. [See here to read about the difference between a leader and manager]. To excel in your position, here are five tips that will transform your job into an exciting opportunity:
1. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Clear communication is a part of any successful relationship. Express your ideas clearly to make sure employees understand. Create a conversation-friendly environment to give employees the freedom to express their thoughts and concerns. Team members are willing to trust a leader with whom they are able to openly communicate.
2. WRONG CAN BE RIGHT
Encourage the creativity of your team by allowing them to be wrong. Making mistakes is a part of the creative process. If employees know they will not be punished for coming up with an unusual solution.
3. LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
Express your positive vision for the future. A leader with a plan is the easiest to follow. Once aware of the team’s goal, each person will strive to do his/her part to aid in the completion of the objective.
4. PASSION IS CONTAGIOUS
Share your passion with your team members. If a leader is enthusiastic, while recognizing the hurdles that the team will encounter. This is true in an environment filled with obstacles and results that aren’t easy to quantify.
5. KNOW YOURSELF
Identify strengths and weaknesses. Feedback analysis consists of writing down expectations after making decision. This helps pinpoint exactly where they excelled and where they fell short.
Devising an effective leadership strategy is intimidating but important part of being a new manager.
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done can be somewhat of a guru when it comes to productivity. Allen talks about “mismanaged inputs” and things that “pull on your psyche” and the nirvana one experiences when fully emptying his or her email inbox.
His book, published in 2001, has been translated into more than 30 languages and recently underwent a revision this year. Jena McGergor interviewed Allen to ask about his revisions and updates to his book as well as how he manages the daily digital beast.
First she asks how he would summarize the “GTD” system (Getting Things Done). He responds saying that a key element is a five-step process. First you need to get things under control and things could refer to your head, your company, your co-workers or anything. The first step is “capture.” Identify the things that are not cruising. What’s wrong? What can be improved? The second step is to “clarify.” Now that you know what you need to fix, what steps do you need to take in order to successfully fix whatever it is that needs fixing? Next, “organize.” Put these lists somewhere you know you will see them when the time is right. If you have to call your doctor during work hours, make sure you’ll get this memo during work hours. The fourth step is the “reflect” on the inventory. And the fifth step is the “engage.” Where do I put my attention and resources?
Jena then asks Allen about a simpler system. Does Allen have any advice for those looking to get more organized without fully adopting his five step system? Allen says deciding on the next action is a crucial step. Ask yourself, “If I were going to move on this right now, what would be the next thing I would do?” While this may seem mundane, it is actually important. Allen refers to the two-minute rule. After you decide the next move, if it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then and there. It will take two minutes to store this idea and find it later.
I’ll write more on this next interview with David Allen next month!