The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

If you enjoy this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our newsletters on small business and entrepreneurialism.

Q. What is one thing I can do to inspire my team to work harder than we have been in order to meet goals without damaging morale?

yec_Nicolas Gremion21. Have a clear finish line

One of the best things about running a marathon is hitting that finish line, which everyone participating knows is 26.2 miles away. Likewise, make sure your team knows where your finish line is, and what they’ll get for crossing it (a break, for example). This will act as a motivator. Having no (or an improbable) finish line can be very damaging. (read more…)

Leading others effectively is a balancing act. A leader is charged with getting work done through others while maintaining decorum and possibly even creating workplace inspiration at the same time!

In most organizations, the only metrics that are consistently measured, monitored and rewarded are performance numbers — projects completed on time, analysis and reports done, operating within budgeted parameters, profitability, etc. Leaders can easily get caught up in the “tidal wave” of an exclusive focus on results.

Results are certainly an important thing, but they’re not the only important thing. Workplace sanity and civility are equally important!

We know this is true because our best bosses made sure our work environment was a safe and respectful one. They inspired our performance while making us feel valued, trusted and honored. And, they ensured that we treated our colleagues with the same respect.

Despite these “best boss” experiences, many of our organizations today focus entirely on results. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How effectively does your organization choose the best decision-making style for a given decision?

  • Very effectively — we’re deliberate about choosing the right style: 5.78%
  • Effectively — we choose the right style most of the time: 32.13%
  • Not very effectively — we gravitate toward one style irrespective of the decision being made: 43.32%
  • What’s a decision-making style?: 18.77%

Different decisions require different styles. Organizations tend to gravitate toward a single decision making style. Whether it’s autocratic, consensus-based, participatory, or democratic, organizations find a style that’s comfortable as a default. The problem is that many times it’s exactly the wrong style for a given decision. The better you understand the 4 decision making styles, the more effectively you can apply them to make better and faster decisions. (read more…)

There are many reasons why executives decide to pivot their companies, but the biggest one is by listening to customers and responding to their needs (faster than the competitor).

In 2007, our customers expressed the need to better govern information across controlled and uncontrolled environments. This wasn’t an area we had previously specialized in, so when we heard this recurring theme from multiple customers, we knew it was time for a change and focus on a new market with a new product. As a trusted partner of our customers, one of our top priorities is making sure we deliver value to them.

There are three main pillars to making a pivot work — Vision, Product, Commercial. Each must have a strong leader who knows how to transform an organization and balance customers, competitors and analysts.

  1. Vision: Someone needs to be tasked with owning the vision. Many times, this is the CTO or CSO.
  2. (read more…)

These days you can’t go a week without hearing about the virtues of flexible schedules. They greatly reduce absenteeism and environmental impact, and spur faster company growth.

As the workforce becomes more and more mobile, the 9-to-5 grind is becoming less and less attractive. But for every company that gets lauded for instituting a four-day work week or allowing employees to make their own schedules, there are hundreds of “in-between” companies that hear the benefits loud and clear, but are unable to affect a major policy change for various reasons.

Working 9 to 5

Case in point: We send thousands of products to our customers each month (the core of our business), and we are beholden to the 9-5 expectancy of shipping providers. Could we institute a four-day work week for our office workers? It would mean re-examining how we do business on a fundamental level, and not just with shipping — the majority of our customers work 9 to 5, Monday through Friday as well, and we end up basing project-management expectations, customer service schedules and team meetings on their availability. (read more…)