Investors talk about the entrepreneur as the lynch-pin. Are they right?

Investors talk about the entrepreneur as the lynch-pin. Are they right?

Will the real entrepreneur please stand up.
Mark Loftus for Startups Magazine.

“It may be a stereotype, but CharacterScope data has found that entrepreneurs tend to be low on perseverance and grit than most other leader types. They typically have a butterfly mindset, constantly flitting from one opportunity to the next.”

Common sense suggests that an entrepreneur is the lynch-pin of a startup. Investors often talk about the entrepreneur as being synonymous with startup and scale-up; the person they look to invest in. But are they right? 

To read the piece in full on the Startups Magazine website click here.

Do businesses get the balance between growth and company culture wrong?

Do businesses get the balance between growth and company culture wrong?

Fast Growth Startups present risks for company Culture.
Mark Loftus for Prolific London. 

“As a business, your ability to grow ultimately will completely depend upon staff retention. In an era where culture so often means nothing more than a couple of free beers and a table tennis table, companies that invest in getting their culture right will open themselves to benefiting from a strategically important source of competitive advantage.”

Fast moving businesses often get the balance between growth and company culture wrong. How you should get the best from both? 

To read the piece in full on the Prolific London website click here.  

Building a culture of leadership

Building a culture of leadership

Scaling leadership development is the single fastest way to create new capabilities across an organisation. There is no ‘silver bullet’ to achieve this: coaching is a potential solution but not cost-effectively scalable and emerging digital products show promise, but remain untested.

Whatever the means of delivery, there is one certainty – when it comes to organisational life, culture drives everything. But the lack of solutions to scalable leadership development means that too many businesses end up with a  culture of ‘followership’ rather than ‘leadership’. With this, they lose their ability to draw everyone in the organisation to develop and perform to their full potential.

Can everyone be a leader?

One of the greatest challenges we face at CharacterScope is in tackling perceptions about the nature of leadership. The word ‘leader’ brings to mind those in positions at the top levels of an organisation. The idea of viewing everyone intrinsically as a leader can come across as idealistic and unrealistic. It also seems to underestimate the impact top level leadership has on a business.

Yet at its simplest level, leadership is a choice. We are leading every time we make a decision, push a conversation in a certain direction or go out of our way to support a colleague or friend. It is less about position and more about disposition. However, this philosophy instinctively seems incompatible with long-standing hierarchical systems. So let’s we reframe the question: if not leadership, does an organisation need followers?

Many leaders see it as their responsibility to energise their team to tackle and solve the operational problems, challenges and complexity which naturally arise in a business. But if the team has the capability to solve them, then why do they need motivating and inspiring? If leadership translates to action, then the risk with a follower mentality is that it naturally tends towards inaction. The result all too often is an abundance of watching, waiting, debating and uncertainty. And even worse, of people blaming and criticising their leaders for not being good enough – placing the reason for their own lack of motivation and satisfaction on their leaders.

A culture that sets direction

That is not to deny the critical impact of senior leaders: leadership culture is formed from the top down. Culture is effectively a self-supporting web of beliefs and behaviours. Over time these become leadership practices and eventually create an environment that attracts people who share their values. It is essential that an organisations culture aligns with their overarching business strategy: if the two are at odds, leaders at the top must recognise that change starts with them.

An interdependent leadership culture functions on the principle of leadership being a collective activity which strengthens the organisation as a whole. With a clear shared purpose, culture and values, the entire dynamics of an organisation become much more connected.

A culture that drives development

Leadership development revolves around recognising and unlocking potential: identifying our natural talents, having a vision of ourselves leading, and working to turn that vision into a reality. It is rooted in the mentality that each one of us already has natural strengths of character and that becoming a good leader is driven by service in the area of those strengths. 

Organisations that have a culture of leadership development use these principles to create a widespread understanding of each individuals’ value and unique contribution. This is not dependent on the time or money invested in tools: it is dependent on a culture that provides the right commitment, focus and environment.

Leadership capability needs time and space to grow and people must feel their growth is valued. They also need to be able to openly discuss and reflect on their progress and the obstacles they face and be able to experiment with new ideas. They must feel that management and their peers understand the importance of devoting time to development and have the freedom to do so.

A culture that drives performance

Building a leadership culture goes beyond investing in and mentoring the next generation of high performers. Organisations that prioritise leadership development lead in attracting, retaining, and nurturing the best talent. Top level leaders that have the self-awareness and put the time and energy into harmonising their organisational culture and their business goals create a more driven and connected organisation. A developmental mindset empowers that talent to go beyond their comfort zone, with an awareness of their natural strengths. A culture that embeds these principles inevitably drives a company to high performance. It tends to adopt core values. It inspires employee and client engagement. It aspires to lead in its industry. It organically fosters innovation and collaboration while recognising and unlocking potential.

Imagine an organisation full of people that understand their own value, the strengths of their peers and their potential. Where every team functions at peak performance, understands the organisation’s overarching business goals and has a true sense of purpose and direction. This is the catalyst for business transformation.

What type of leader do you have the potential to be?

What type of leader do you have the potential to be?

Understanding yourself and your potential as a leader.

Completing a CharacterScope Self-Review is your opportunity to discover yourself as a leader.

Like working with any good coach, the starting point is a thorough review:

  • What are your strengths?
  • Your gaps?
  • Which of the 9 Leader Types is your best fit?
  • Is this in line with your aspirations as a leader?

The CharacterScope 9 Leader Types

Each type has a unique way of leading and inspiring those around them. The below explanations can help you decide your aspirational leader types.

Are you a Transformational leaderCharismatic? Register with CharacterScope and start your Self-Review now Click Here

And if you want to find out more about how CharacterScope can support your development click here.

The Innovator

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”

Miles Davis – Jazz musician

They are willing to think the unthinkable, make connections others miss, good at anticipating how the world may change and are willing to make bold, game-changing decisions, even at the risk of failure or seeming foolish.

The Entrepreneurial leader

“It was so hard to get a record deal on my own that it was either give up or create my own company.”

Jay Z – Music, recording, clothing, sports agency

They are great at spotting the potential in situations and have the network of contacts, personal resourcefulness and determination to follow through and turn possibilities into reality.

The Executional leader

“Done is better than perfect”

Sheryl Sandberg – Business leader, author

The Executional leader is focused and driven to achieve great results. They will work tirelessly on a challenging task until it is completed, galvanising and driving the efforts of others, often with little or no regard for relationships or workplace politics.

The Practical Leader

“It is far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

Warren Buffet – Investor

They are great at translating strategy into practical results, with a strong feel for what will work in the real world. They balance the short-term with the long-term, bringing a sustained focus on improving the quality, reliability and effectiveness of whatever they are leading.

The Strategist

“The financial service industry is a service industry. It should service others before itself.”

Christine Lagarde. MD, IMF

They provide strategic clarity to people and organisations. They are valued for their judgement, their wisdom about what is going on and their insight about what needs to happen to move a difficult task forward, unstick a relationship, or handle a tricky people situation.

The Servant leader

 

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”

Nelson Mandela – Statesman, South Africa

The Servant Leader gets their own ego out of the way and focuses on the team and organisation around them. They pull people together around shared goals, recognise and play to people’s strengths and inspire teams to perform strongly. Many come to personify the team, to embody its core values and identity.

The Transformational Leader

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”

Steve Jobs – Apple

They are great at leading people and organisations through change. Some deliver change in processes, products and structures, but the best are just good at changing beliefs, mind-sets and culture.

The Charismatic leader

“Don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

Michelle Obama – Former First Lady, lawyer and writer

They seem to pull people towards them – who are drawn by their inner convictions and vision. The best create inspiration, energy and change for people, generating a sense of possibilities and potential.

The Professional

“Always be more than you appear and never appear to be more than you are.”

Angela Merkel – Politician, Germany

Professionals are known for their commitment to mastery of their chosen subjects and their determination to deliver on whatever personal commitments they make. They work with great energy, drive and focus in the service of others.

3 thoughts about you and leadership

3 thoughts about you and leadership

The Solo and Viewpoints reports helps you tune into yourself and understand your strengths, gaps and potential better. It will give you fresh insights into how your unique pattern of strengths means you are suited to make particular leadership contributions.

 

Are you a leader?

You might not think about yourself as a leader, but CharacterScope wants to challenge this thinking. Our simple idea is that everybody leads at different times in their lives and in different situations. And we believe that life does significantly improve for people who become better leaders and for those they lead: work life, home life. social life, maybe even your love life

When we, and the people around us lead well, magic happens. We feel more confident, connected and compelled to step up. We get things done more easily. Day to day experiences are more enjoyable. There’s less friction or wasted time.

We care more.

We feel better.

We are better.

So the question whether you have the title ‘leader’ in your job description matters much less than the pattern of your actions and the qualities of your character.

 

3 things to know about leading

People follow people

Leadership is a personal thing. We follow people because of who they are and what they stand for. And this means others will follow you because of who you are rather than what you know or are good at doing. CharacterScope will help you understand and value your strengths and so be clearer and more confident about who you are as a leader.

Develop through strengths

Effective leadership learning does not come from focusing on your weaknesses. Just as the best athletes understand what disciplines they are suited to, so CharacterScope will help you understand what contribution your strengths naturally suit you to. Building on these strengths will be a more effective route to development than trying to cover off your gaps, becoming something you are not. Development is not about closing gaps.

Mind the gap

No-one is good at everything, no-one has strengths in every area, and we all have gaps in the pattern of our strengths. A gap risks becoming a liability if you ignore it. But rather than trying to turn a gap into a strength, why not get better at spotting and valuing others whose natural strengths can provide cover for your gaps.

 

Read more about the CharacterScope 9 Leader types in the next article: What type of leader do you have the potential to be?