Pop quiz here:

  • Do you sometimes second-guess yourself about decisions until opportunities pass?
  • Do colleagues and clients frequently seek your opinion on their big decisions?
  • Do you often get feedback on the quality of your contributions in meetings?
  • Do those meeting ideas produce the results you intend?

Like artists, wise leaders analyze and focus on a situation or problem. Then they decide and act. And even then, as theologian and author Oswald Chambers put it: “It’s never wise to be cocksure.”

the ceo magazine, innovation,
Derek Ting, CEO, TextNow

Everyone is talking about disruptors – companies or individuals that are identifying a gap in an industry and filling it in a new or unique way. This is the very nature of business success since the beginning.  Still, people always ask me if I set out to disrupt the traditional wireless business when I first thought about creating my company, TextNow.  The truth is that sounds cooler than the reality.  Here are some lessons I’ve learned as all the cliché terms – “tech CEO,” “millennial CEO,” and “wireless industry disruptor”:

the ceo magazine, sales,
Shari Levitin, Author, Speaker & CEO, Shari Levitin Group

1. Go for the standing ovation every time.

The ultimate downfall for most business people is their inability to handle rejection. But if you’re going to make it as an entrepreneur, you have to be able to take rejection… lots of it. My mentor told me a long time ago to count the number of “no’s” I get and realize that each “no” simply moves you closer to a “yes.”

“Give each pitch your best shot each time,” he told me. “Never take a shortcut.”

Forget all the blather about how companies love their customers. It’s just talk. I’m convinced that 90 out of 100 organizations simply tolerate customers. Their customers represent only a means to profit, and that message comes through loud and clear to those callers all too often.

Five recent examples from my own experience illustrate the point all too well:

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If you’re a leader, a healthy dose of fear can be a good thing. In fact, if fear doesn’t push you to take a risk, to up your game, to push to top performance, you may hit rock bottom in your career. That’s especially true if you’re plan to speak before large groups of employees, customers, or colleagues.

Speaking can be a high-stakes proposition in the age of Periscope, Instagram, and live Facebook or Twitter feeds out to the world. Audience members do not take kindly to an unprepared rambler wasting their time on irrelevant topics.

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