Fortune Favours the Bold

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In order to succeed you need to have the courage and conviction to be bold and “stay the course” in your pursuit for success. This is what is needed to make this level of the opportunity pyramid work. It is fortified with your foundation of knowing who you are and the knowledge you have learned over the course of your journey. Today I’m going to do something a little different and break it down in various categories to show you that no matter where you are in the food chain you can master the secrets to success:

The following is an excerpt of “Opportunity Knocking”

If you are a business owner or manager:
Ron Kruszewski exemplifies how important it is to lead with confidence. Staying the course can be difficult if those around you don’t understand your goals. Kruszewski stuck to his core principles and educated his board about where he wanted to take the company. Another trait you will need at this level of the pyramid is the ability to look at your faults or shortcomings. Everyone I interviewed for this book agreed that good leaders recognize areas in themselves that could use improvement. For Kruszewski, this area was his ability to listen; when he started at Stifel, he made it a point to strengthen his listening skills. By doing so, he was able to fix problems plaguing the organization. Listening is also necessary to effectively service customers. How can you fulfill the needs of your customers if you don’t know what they want? Or, to consider it from a different perspective, do employees want to work for someone who doesn’t take the time to hear what they are saying? Taking the time to listen is a huge morale booster. Nothing is worse than working for someone who doesn’t listen to you because they think they already know everything. Not only that, but by showing he is open to suggestions and change, Kruszewski is also setting an example for the organization’s culture. How would you characterize your style? Is it open, nimble, and empowering like Kruszewski’s? When you take the time to listen to your employees you help build up their confidence. Not only does this foster a positive environment, it can also help improve productivity. Listening and responding are ways to show you care. As Kruszewski puts it, “You have to invest a lot of authority with your key people. You motivate them, and they like it. This positive reinforcement builds the culture.”

If you are an employee:
You can help stay the course by listening to your superiors and executing to the best of your ability. If you are a service-based company and
you work directly with customers, have an open dialogue with them. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is anything you can do to serve them
better. Questions like this can give you insight into how to improve your services. You might also gain repeat customers because they feel
you value their opinions. This can open up areas of opportunity: if customers are complaining about a competitor and you find out why, you
might be able to turn that into an opportunity to take away some market share from them. Remember that the decisions you make and your execution will also impact your own career. If you are looking to move up, ask yourself: Will this help me achieve what I want in my next career move? If you are delegating and offering up new ideas, can that help you with a promotion?

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur:

Listen to what’s going on around you. Talk to customers and find out what they are looking for. This knowledge can help you prepare for opportunity.
Be nimble—this is one of the assets that helped Kruszewski take advantage of opportunity. Recall Kruszewski’s advice that good leaders are always evaluating, and they have a good business structure and expense model in place so when an opportunity presents itself, they are ready. Are you?

Final Thoughts

The “staying the course” layer of the pyramid is where the previous layers begin to really cohere. Defining who you are and solidifying
that definition with your mission statement help you boost your confidence and stay the course. Your knowledge in your field, coupled
with the listening skills Kruszewski has spoken about, also reinforce this layer. With these different elements coming together, you are
ready to embark on the next level: execution.

For more inspiration, leadership strategies and lessons? Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.

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