Careers, Personal Branding, career advice, career management, entrepreneurs, leadership, personal brand management, self employed, small business

Leadership Oprah’s Way

Mary Rosenbaum | October 29th, 2010

I just read this article How to Lead Like Oprah by Jenna Goudreau. The article highlights how Oprah’s leadership skills, her uncanny ability to inspire her team and build a loyal following have enabled her to create an empire with a net worth of $2.7 Billion. Oprah’s success is undeniable but there are many reasons why she has succeeded and Ms. Goudreau sums them up by elaborating on these three areas: her team, her vision and her values.

There are many lessons we can learn from Oprah. Here are a few that can help you manage your career or build your business.

1. Dream big. It’s easy to set your goals within reach. The key is to make sure your goals and vision are a stretch. You can’t win big unless you dream big.

2. Challenge the status quo. A willingness to take risks and make mistakes are necessary – if you don’t try you will never succeed. Oprah was successful in introducing so many new ways to connect her with her audience. The book club, the give aways, the personal story are just a few. She didn’t imitate but instead kept trying new things.

3. Build your support team, build your tribe. Oprah surrounded herself early on with mentors and supporters who helped her achieve her goals. But she didn’t stop there. She was committed to building a team of the best and the brightest, unafraid to take guidance and always willing to provide support. What holds many people back from building a strong team is fear of losing ground or power to them. The smartest leaders know that this type of fear can only hold them back.

4. Communicate your vision to all those around you. When you share your vision you know that everyone who works with and for you are on the same page.

5. Nourish and support your relationships. She is always asking her audience what they want and need from her and lets them know how valuable they are to her and to her success.

6. Identify and focus on your goals. Goals are your road map and a keen focus keeps you from getting side tracked and losing your way.

7. Live your values and make them visible. Oprah lives her values of generosity, humor, easy to relate to, and optimism. Their visibility make up the glue that bind her to her followers and admirers.

Of course it goes without saying that hard work and a positive outlook are necessary underpinnings to great leadership. What other lessons or ideas do you have that you can add to this list?

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru


A Client Appreciation Story

Mary Rosenbaum | October 21st, 2010

Have you shown your appreciation to your clients lately? I recently heard a great story and wanted to share it with you.

A group of guys I know have been going for a drink after work to Bobby Van’s for years. Bobby Van’s is a well known restaurant in midtown NYC near their office. They have gotten to know the bartenders well and sometimes eat at the bar before heading home. One night last week three of them went to Bobby Van’s. While there the head maitre’d, someone they rarely came in contact with, came over to speak with them. In his conversation, he wanted to know about each of them, how long they had been coming to the bar, and what they liked about the restaurant.

It was then that he presented each of them with a brass plaque inscribed with their names. Needless to say, the guys were surprised because he not only knew their names but that he knew who each one was.

Each man was allowed to pick a spot on the restaurant’s wall of fame where their brass plaque would hang, visible to all. When I heard this story from Bob, one of the recipients of the plaque I asked him how he felt. He was surprised, pleased, and proud of the fact that his plaque is keeping company on a wall with others whose names are more well known and in some cases, famous – politicians, mayors, and television and movie stars.

A plaque that cost a few dollars at most provided each of these guys with a sense of pride about being recognized in this very visible manner and tangible knowledge that their business is greatly appreciated. This gesture by the restaurant will most surely result in continued loyalty and positive word of mouth buzz from this small group of customers.

Not everyone can demonstrate their appreciation in this manner. Actions you can take fairly easily include:

- sending a personal handwritten note

- a phone call just to say thank you

- an offer to provide them with a special service for free or at a reduced rate

- creating an honor roll on your site or on Twitter thanking and recognizing clients that have helped you get to where you are

It does not have to be a costly gesture, but one that resonates with your particular audience.

What have you done to let your customers and clients know that you appreciate them?

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru


Marketing: Lead With Your Beliefs

Mary Rosenbaum | October 7th, 2010

Recently I listened to this TED Talk by Simon Sinek called How Great Leaders Inspire Action. He turns the whole concept of marketing to clients, customers or prospective employers inside out.

What’s the most common way you market your services or your product? Nine times out of ten you sell your services or product or even yourself this way:

- What you do, what product or service you provide

- How you do it, your differentiating qualities, benefits

- Why you do it, your beliefs and values

Sinek believes that successful marketing starts with the Why, then the How, and ultimately the What. One of the examples he gives to illustrate this point is Apple. Apple’s marketing goes something like this:

(Why)In everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo by (How) designing products that are easy to use, cutting edge, pushing the envelope, making sure we keep you ahead of everyone else. (What) Oh, by the way, we make computers and phones.

Who does this appeal to? Anyone who wants to be cutting edge, wants to be the first to have or use the product, who believes in challenging the status quo. Customers are attracted to the company (and its products) because they share the same beliefs.

How does this apply to you? Lead with your beliefs – your values and passions define your beliefs. I always say that people do business with people they like. Another way to look at this is that people are attracted to those who have similar beliefs and values. Marketing based solely on the product or service and its benefits doesn’t raise the bar high enough. Eventually the competition will catch up and then you are just back to a discussion on price – a commodity, not a differentiated or unique service or product.

So take the time and watch the video. It’s worth the 18 minutes you invest. I would love to hear your views on the content.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru