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.

What is one app that has made you a more productive leader and why?

yec_Lawrence Watkins1. Contactually

Contactually is a CRM that makes it very simple to follow up with employees, mentors, customers and other people in your network. For most businesses, relationships are a key component for growth. The simple reminders from Contactually suggest who you should follow up with to keep your business objectives moving forward. — Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

yec_Michael Quinn2. Basecamp

Basecamp is a project management and collaborative software that keeps our team on task. It makes communicating with our clients as well as assigning tasks to our remote teams a breeze. And, we all have the app on our phone, so we can stay in touch while on the go. (read more…)

Over the course of my two decades in journalism, I have met and interviewed everyone from the worker-owner of a corner deli to magnates of industry, and what separates the winners and loser is something very simple — working in a successful culture.

It doesn’t matter what size organization you are working or running — culture is key to achieving success. One of the easiest examples of how a weak corporate culture can topple a company was AOL/Time Warner. There was the buttoned-down corporate culture of Time Warner on the one hand, and the entrepreneurial spirit of AOL on the other. It was one of the key factors that led to the demise of the largest merger in the history of U.S. business.

So how does one create a healthy culture? There are four basic ingredients:

  • Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
  • Having a mantra
  • Staying the course
  • Valuing “human capital”

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

To create an environment of growth and inclusion, you need to know the basics of who you are, what you want your business to be, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your company as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.Why? (read more…)

R+ Book 5th edition print cover v4The following is an excerpt from “Performance Management: Changing Behavior That Drives Organizational Effectiveness,” Fifth Edition, revised, by Aubrey C. Daniels, PhD., and Jon S. Bailey, Ph.D., for Performance Management Publications, a division of Aubrey Daniels International Inc.

Success in business is defined by an organization’s ability to produce results. If you don’t make a profit, you will go out of business. The same is true for each managerial position within your organization. If a manager does not produce results, he/she will not be judged as successful.

All organizational results are the products of human behavior. Every result is produced by someone doing something. If you want to improve results, you must first get employees to change what they are doing. You want people to do some things either more or less often, or in some cases, to do something entirely different.

To change results, you must change behavior. (read more…)

Going from a one-woman marketing consultancy to a burgeoning agency is not something one plans, but a couple of years ago, I found myself hiring talented people and plugging them into my own workforce plan and in time, to those of my clients.

Because I wanted to ensure top-quality work from my team, my initial plan was to make the each an SME (subject-matter expert) within a specific area. One person handled social, another e-mail campaigns and so on. This worked wonderfully until digital ad management became an offering and overlapped with social, and marketing automation grew over email marketing, and feathers quickly got ruffled.

I had worked my team into a corner. Business was booming, but my workplace was a morgue. If I didn’t act quickly, our effectiveness was going to suffer. As workplace collaboration specialist, Jacob Morgan says: “Collaboration should never be seen as an additional task or requirement for employees. (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 aware are you of the negative perceptions others might have of your actions?

  • Very aware — I always know how my actions can be seen negatively: 29.66%
  • Aware — I know the perceptions of major actions but miss seeing others: 56.51%
  • Not very aware — I know about negative perceptions after they’re pointed out: 11.62%
  • Oblivious — I rarely see the negative perceptions others can have of my actions: 2.2%

Look through a new lens. Perceptions are tricky. We think we know how others see us but the lens we look through is often rose colored. If you want to mitigate negative perceptions, you first have to see what they might be. The fastest way to do that is simply ask “what’s the worst way my words or actions could be perceived right now?” Once you know that worst case, you can better see how others might see you and take appropriate steps to ensure you’re seen in the light you want to be seen in. (read more…)