Four leadership lessons I’ve learnt first hand

Three years ago I started DigitLab, and with it I began leading people. I wanted to lead a team instead of manage them.  I believe that people are at their best when they are happy, challenged, inspired and a part of a bigger vision. I have always believed it – now was my opportunity to test the theory. I have been able to operate DigitLab with a utopian mindset of leadership, free from the challenges of historical management and old business process. I was allowed to build a business that valued people before process.  I have learnt a lot over the years and wanted to share four principles that I have found invaluable in leading people. These are not always easy to make happen, they require trust, humility and faith in the people you have in your team, which leads me to my first principle: Hire people who get excited about your vision We hire based on three main principles; can you do the job (capability) and do you dream about the same things we do (chemistry). After intensive interviews and tests to make sure people are capable of doing the job, our final interview with potential employees is dedicated to finding chemistry and assessing capacity. We drive hard to understand what drives this person, what excites them and what they see as their value to add to a team. What I am looking for at the end of the day is simple but difficult to find. What are your...

Lessons from a 30min conversation with Wikipedia Founder

Last night I arrived in Lagos to present a session on social media strategy. I was met at the airport by the a very professional and very friendly man who guided me into that parking lot outside. The parking lot reminded me a lot of the back alley of a night club, and there by an unmarked white van with tinted windows we stopped. I realized this van was my transport to the hotel and a kind gentleman opened the door. To my dismay, sitting in the van, catching up on email, sat Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Who would have thought I would have the incredible opportunity to meet Jimmy sitting in a parking lot in Lagos. Anyway, I seized the opportunity the chat to Jimmy about his experiences with Wikipedia and was able to draw out a few gems for those who read this blog. Behind every success is a failure where alot of learning took place I experienced this in my own life and it was nice to hear Jimmy talk about the same experience. Jimmy started a project similar to Wikipedia before starting the popular encyclopedia. It was there that he learnt how to succeed with the project by learning from the mistakes he made. My advice to anyone looking to start something big would be to keep going no matter how much you learn (fail). It can only get better from here. It’s all about community Jimmy chatted about the idea that Wikipedia succeeded...

Three fantastic time management techniques that will change your life

2011 is drawing to a close soon and as I look back I have been able to say that it was a relatively successful year. I have managed to meet all of my business targets and I have enjoyed every moment of the year. I am often asked about my time management techniques and I thought it would be great to start sharing these with people from this blog. So as this is mainly a social media and social business blog you may see a few productivity article thrown in for fun. It is seriously one of my favourite topics. Get up early About 10 years, my grandmother gave me a great piece of advice as I was telling her how I am a night person and how I do most of my work at night. Her advice was “successful people wake up early.” This contradicted everything I had known till that point. I am a night person and not a morning person. My brain does not function in the morning. Well after a few years I decided to give it a try. I started going to bed earlier and getting up early to get my work done. Something changed. I found that I worked quicker in the morning and with more focus. The only way I can explain this is that at night you deadline is “tomorrow morning” which is hours away and so a slower work pace is usually adopted. Frequent coffee trips to stay awake and the...

3 lessons from the Global Leadership Summit

As a businessman I have become acutely aware that my ability to lead is directly related to the growth and success of any business I run. This has lead me to read as much as possible on leadership, follow top leadership professionals and attend conferences where I can learn more about successful leadership. The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) is one of those conferences that I have been attending for the past three years. The conference is primarily a Christian Leadership conference but has been very good at finding speakers outside the Christian circles. Seth Godin, Jack Welsch and a host of other leadership and business “greats” have all spoken at the GLS. The Christian aspect of the conference is also refreshing as I have always held a personal belief that the Bible is the best source of wisdom in how we should live, lead and treat each other in this world. I thought it would be a great idea to share with you three key learnings that I got out of the conference. I hope these pearls of wisdom help you in your leadership journey. Bill Hybels: What is your current challenge level Dangerously over challenged: too much going on Appropriate: there is a sense of finality and completion Under challenged Bill suggests, as do many others, that our best work is done when we are challenged just over our “over challenged” mark. In other words we are slightly out of our depth which excites us and challenges us to...

The trick to managing information overload

Such true words when it comes to the digital media. People have become overwhelmed by the wealth of information and the speed of communication that exists on the internet. I have come across many people who ask me how to manage the information & communication flow on the internet so that it becomes an effective use of time rather than a stressful waste of time. I don’t think that I have all the answers by any means but here are a few principles/technologies that I use to manage/filter the information that I am expected to consume each day. I use Google Reader to keep track of the blog I like reading – This saves me time because I am not distracted by advertising and additional ‘interesting’ articles by visiting the actual website. Google Reader allows me to subscribe to blogs and consume their content without wasting time on being distracted/redirected to other content I don’t push any email or social media updates to my phone – By constantly being interrupted by email and social media alerts I find I am always in a state of urgency to reply even thought the people on the other end do not expect an immediate reply. I find mobile email user amusing when they reply to my emails telling me that they received my email and will reply later as they are in a meeting. No one actually needs to be on their email 24hrs a day. They only need to ensure that they...

Five tips to beating social media overload

Yesterday I was emailed over facebook by a follower of this blog. I still get a kick when people touch base and tell me that they actually read everything I write up here. The gentleman that emailed (lets call him Frank) wanted to know how to do social media management and still have a life afterwards. Frank has stumbled accross a very important element of social media that is often under-rated. Social media is addictive and time consuming. Especially if you are marketing through social media. This only gives us a better reason to be ‘wasting or time‘ on our favourite network. If you want to make sure you optimise your time on networks like Facebook and Twitter here are a few tips that may help: Give yourself a time frame to spend in social media and stick to it. After your time is up – Close the web browser/programme. Use a Twitter Client. This helps because twitter clients are designed in such a way that you can tailor the information you recieve from twitter. This means you get less distracted. Twitter clients are now starting to offer Facebook, Linkedin and Ping.fm integration. Have a social media free day – Every now and then, spend a day away from social media. This helps in many ways, but the most important one for me is clarity. When I leave social media for a day, I start thinking about the marketing exercises that really work. Don’t flog a dead horse – If...

Invest in your employees

I have noticed that small and medium businesses are taking less interest in their employees as they focus on trying to get their business engine running. These businesses are placing less value on their employees and the result is that their employees are placing less value in their employer. Small businesses tend to exploit talented people who are willing to work hard to ‘earn their keep’ by over working and under paying their staff. The constant excuse being that when things get better they can treat their staff better. Not all small businesses operate like this but I have noticed a trend towards this mentaility. I find this business concept and ideology a bit backward! It does not make sense to me. Employees are the most important part of your business. They are the vehicles that get things done. They build the company reputation and they keep the production cogs moving. They should be the number one priority of a business owner. There is nothing worse than building a person up, training then to be a part of your company just to see them leave because of better opportunities in another business. If a business owner invested time and energy into his/her employees they would see the following: A greater return on the employees productivity A higher level of loyalty from the employee towards the company A more positive working environment would be established. I would suggest the following list as a means to see people grow inside your company...

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