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

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Q. What is one important leadership lesson we can all learn from stories like the recent Amazon profile(s)?

yec_Shavin Parikh1. Be intentional with your culture

Different companies have different cultures and expectations. There’s no “right” way to run a business. However, whatever your culture is, be intentional about it. Document your values, communicate them to new hires, and celebrate them over and over again throughout the company. If employees know what to expect, they’ll likely be happier. — Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc

yec_Andrew Thomas 32. Empower people instead of pushing them

Pushing people and grinding them down is not as effective as empowering them to greater heights. (read more…)

How would you rate your personal integrity? On a grading scale of A (high demonstrated integrity) to F (low demonstrated integrity), what grade would you give yourself? Even more important, how would the people you live with and work with grade you?

What should one consider when rating their own or someone else’s integrity? Here’s a client’s approach to integrity, which is one of their company’s core values.

First they define integrity: “We are accountable for our actions. We do what we say we will do. We do the right thing for all concerned.”

Then they specify exactly what behaviors all leaders and team members must demonstrate to ensure they are living the company’s integrity value.

  • I hold myself accountable for my commitments and actions. I keep my promises.
  • I attack problems and processes, not people.
  • I accept responsibility and apologize if I jeopardize respect or trust.
  • I align all of my plans, decisions, and actions with my organization’s purpose, values, and behaviors.
  • (read more…)

51DdzWXmsgLThis post is adapted from “Why Should Anyone Work Here? What It Takes to Create an Authentic Organization,” (Harvard Business Review Press, November 2015) by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones.

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The key idea in workplace is “place.” And arguably, in a knowledge-based or clever economy (to use our term from a recent book), this is the new task of leadership: less directly to excite others, more to orchestrate or to create environments where others can follow their own authentic obsession. Modern leadership may be as much about an authenticity of task or place as it is about the person leading and what that individual person thinks or does.

Consider the depressingly low rates of employee engagement around the world. According to a recent AON Hewitt survey, four in 10 workers on average report being “disengaged” worldwide (three out of 10 in Latin America; four in 10 in the US; and five in 10 in Europe). (read more…)

How do you motivate yourself?

That’s a question I sometimes get and when I do I like to give a three-word answer: Accentuate the positive! It’s the title of a Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer tune from the 1940s.

Also consider the maxim that legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to preach: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

That simple statement offers such clarity. So often we sabotage ourselves by thinking negatively. We may posit a lofty intention and then we de-loft it when we weigh the obstacles in our path.

Indeed the biggest obstacle may not be a boss or a circumstance — it is ourselves. And so we kill our motivational motor just as it begins to turn over.

Instead, learn to “accentuate the positive.”

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. (read more…)