Archive for November, 2016

Ten Traits of Good Leadership

November 28th, 2016



Ten traits of successful leadership


I am reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and in the book I have found some real gems. One is his list for being a good leader- here is my interpretation:



All good leaders have to have courage because they are making decisions not only for themselves but for their employees, or whoever they lead. This is a big responsibility and takes courage. This courage is based on self-knowledge and self-confidence.



Not only must courage, but also self-control must be part of the leader’s make up. Self-indulgence cannot be tolerated. Instead, emotions and whims should be kept under control so as to lead and reach goals. Hill says that if a leader cannot control him or herself, s/he cannot control other people. Wise words, indeed!


3-Keen sense of justice

A leader must not only be just but value justice on a whole, so the organization can survive and thrive. The best organizations run on a platform of fairness, truth, and justice. With these kinds of values, the people in the organization will respect the leaders. Without such values, the employees will look on the leadership with cynicism and disgust.


4-Makes and keeps decisions

A leader should be able to make (good) decisions and then stick to them so that the followers feel safe in the direction of the organization. There needs to be a security that those “at the top” know what they are doing and where they are going.


5-Keeps to a well thought out plan

The plan is based on the abilities of the organization, on metrics, on market demands and constraints and not on guess-work. There needs to be estimates, but good ones, not just guesses. Then it will be a good plan. The ship “needs a rudder”, as Hill says.


6-Doing more than required

A leader leads by model, and when one expects a lot from those following, one should do even more than they do. The leader must do more that s/he requires of his or her followers. Period.


7-Personable and cooperative

A good leader has soft skills and is able to lead in a cooperative style, and not just like an army general. Gone are the days of total top-down powerful heads. For the followers to respect leaders those softs skills, laced with integrity, will go a long way. Hill says, “Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation.”


8-Empathy and good communication skills

Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy feels with and is on eye level with the other person. Sympathy feels sorry for and puts oneself in a place of being superior to the other person. Thus, all leaders should lead with empathy. Also, Hill does not address this, but good communication skills are very important for today’s successful leader.


9-Mastery of the details of the particular leadership post

Every kind of leadership has its particulars and they should be learned and mastered to be successful at that job. Of course, if there is an option, it could be that the leader finds help with certain details that are not in his or her “skill set”. But in general, this is the key to being successful: learning the details and doing them correctly.


10-The buck actually stops here

The good leader accepts the responsibility that the decisions and actions of the company, of the division, of the team, of the group lie in her of his jurisdiction. The buck does stop here, with the leader. The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and short-comings of his followers.” A good leader accepts and owns that responsibility.


Of course there are many other traits and sills that could be mentioned, but here are some good ones to start with. And you can’t go wrong with them.


Enjoy your week and I wish you much success! Should you want to visit my site: –Or join my group on LinkedIn:


Have a great week!

Patricia Jehle




November 21st, 2016

Thoughts from “the Best” Decisions


Forbes has a book out called The Greatest Business Decisions of all Time and last week I read it in one sitting. One of my best take-aways from the book is the idea that the best decisions are often counter intuitive and go against popular convention. The example Jim Collins gave in the forward that I want to highlight here is that in good companies there is real debate and no “yes-man”isms.


People are your most important Assets

Here are two other non-status quo decisions from the introduction by Verne Harnish: That of Henry Ford doubling the salary of his workers to show the employees (and the world) that they were valuable company assets AND That of bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple, which led to the company becoming one of the most valuable companies in the world. Do consider the value of your people and remember they are your real assets.


Questioning and debate make you, your ideas, and your company better

I grew up in the era when my friends at college wore those buttons that said “question authority”. Well, we should. It’s okay to question because if the “authorities” are correct in their assumptions, then what is to worry? If the assumptions are false (and of course, as a coach I have a list of these kinds of false assumptions), then they should be challenged for optimization and betterment. Surrounding yourself with people who only agree with you can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, gather around you trusted confidants who will respectfully question your assumptions and methods and so help you to grow and produce quality products and services.


People are key

Your people will have the answers, even if you don’t. Remember that! This postulate can even go for the informal “teams” that solo-preneurs develop. When you show your people how much you value them, they are motivated to give you their best, even when that is a difficult challenge. We humans are wired to want to work and to find (at least part of) our meaning in our work. Thus, as leaders we need to show appreciation to our employees in many ways, and pay is especially meaningful for most people. Also, remember that even if they have failed, those people might be “just the right fit” for the next big idea. Steve Jobs is a very good example of that. Had Apple not taken him back on board, the company would have never become what it is today. Period. So, remember that failure is really not failure the way we think it is, and that people are learning beings so failure can really be a step in the direction of success.


A Caveat

One of the most counterintuitive decisions Jobs made once he returned to Apple was to spend two weeks evaluating and refocusing each year. That time of reflection led to many new products and ideas to move Apple forward. As busy people we often don’t feel we can take that time to think and reflect, but the solution to our issues may be found in that time away from the daily grind, perhaps even with others. Perhaps not. Masterminds may be solution, but a reflective retreat first might help better formulate the issues to bring to the Mastermind table.


Concluding ideas: be aware of the “right way” and ask questions

Don’t always do what everyone else is doing. To be sure of your direction you must periodically reflect on it. Be aware of the counterintuitive solutions and consider them, too, as that “secret sauce” may be found there.


Have a very successful week! And if you like, you are invited to join my group on LinkedIn:


Patricia Jehle

Check your idea

November 14th, 2016


Scaling Lean



A week ago I had the opportunity to go hear Ash Mauyra (AM) speak on scaling businesses and trying out new business ideas. I have had a week to digest his talk and have read some of his new book, Scaling Lean, so I have some questions for you if you are working on new – or old – business ideas, especially with respect to marketing and getting those customers. Much of this blog is based on his talk and on the book. The quotes are from his book.


Who are your key customers and which of their problems do you plan to solve? Are those problems painful enough for them to want them solved? What are they already spending on that pain?


That pain is your gold mine, but you have to remember that for your potential customer to spend on your solution they have to give up something else, and the question is not whether your solution is better than that of the competitive solutions, but that the customer thinks it’s a better solution. Thus, you have to love (and live) that pain more than your solution. With that your solution can get tested on customer validation.


What is your MVP?

By that I don’t mean most valuable player, but the minimum viable product, in other words, what is your lowest amount of sales your company can live with in a period of time.


How are you creating your marketing experiments?

How can you shorten your feedback loop to find out where your customers are buying and most importantly, why? Are you looking at the correct numbers to keep those customers coming? Do not fixate on a fictitious/unrealistic business plan – remember that according to AM, “traditional measures of progress are unhelpful” because in start-ups:


  1. “Because revenue is near zero during the early stages, we settle for building velocity as a measure of progress. But measuring progress as execution of untested plan is no better.


  1. Investing heavily in quantitative metrics doesn’t automatically give you solutions. Metrics can only tell you what’s going wrong, not why. The more you invest in quantitative metrics, the more you end up drowning in a seat of non-actionable data.


  1. Even when you are generating revenue, unless you can connect cause and effect, you can’t leverage the elements that are bring you success, and you can easily be led down the wrong path.”


The AM Solution: GOLEAN: Goal, Observe and Orient, Learn-Leverage-Lift, Experiment, Analyze and , Next Actions


Think and act like a scientist- they do not run experiments, but create models (and check them with experiments). The key idea is that there needs to be one single measure of progress for all people involved, for the entrepreneurs and business leaders and the stakeholders, and that is GOLEAN.


The model has three parts: Defining progress (set your Goal), prioritizing waste (Observe and Orient) , and achieving breakthrough (Learn-Leverage-Lift, Experiment, Analyze, and Next steps) .



But remember, “No methodology can guarantee success. But a good methodology can provide a feedback loop for continual improvement and learning.”


Part of the solution is lies in trying to avoid our “innovator’s bias”, the bias that knows our idea is the best. Your potential customer and your investors may not believe that, and more importantly, they don’t necessarily care about your solution. They have a different perspective, which is usually for the customer found in their problem(s).


What your potential investors want to know is what the market opportunity is (how big is the market). They want to know how you will generate revenue and what your margins are. Finally, they will want to know how you will keep your competitive edge. Are you a blue ocean kind of idea? Do you have patent(s) pending? Is there a secret sauce that can’t be easily discovered?


So, what is your metric for indicating reliable (and not fake or vanity) measurement? How do you create, deliver and capture value? What is your unique value proposition (value creation)? What is your cost structure (value delivery)? And, what are your revenue streams (where you capture your value for the company)?


And the (AM) value creation formula looks like this:


Created Value > Captured Value > = Cost (Value Delivery)


In the end, the issue is generating revenues and as Ash Maurya says, “There is no business in your business model without revenue.” The idea is to maximize the difference between the value captured and the cost of delivering the value (your margins). But even not-for-profits have a need for revenue, although their model aims to keep the difference between those two (cost and value) as close to zero as possible.


Final questions


What is your product value? What does it cost you to deliver this value? How much do you receive for that delivery and does it reach your MVP goals?


Maybe I will blog next about traction and how you get customers, but for today, this is enough.


Have a very successful week!


Anxious, Worried about THE VOTE? Tips to get by

November 5th, 2016


Anxious? Worried? Overthinking?

Maybe you are anxious about the next few days (the vote) and then the results of the results. Maybe you have been one of those people who have googled jobs in Canada, or are thinking about moving to Ireland. No matter what your level of angst, I have a few tips for you to bridge the next few days so you can be a happier more productive person and avoid anxiety and overthinking.

If you have already voted

Then the rest of the results of the infamous 2016 US Presidential Election is out of your hands and you should follow the suggestions below in any way and order you want.

If you have not yet voted


Then you can follow the suggestions below in any order and way you want, but first remember to do your voting duty!

If you can’t vote

Most of my readers fall into this category, as I do live, write and work in Switzerland and most of us cannot vote in the US elections, here. In Switzerland we voted last month and have another upcoming vote, so vote then if you are qualified. Follow the suggestions at will.

After you have voted or if you can’t, here are some suggestions



Yes, go and find you old favorites and belt them out to high heaven. It will do you and your body AND your psyche very good. You have to focus on hitting the notes and getting the lyrics correct. In other words, you will be focused and not obsessing.



I am not going to my meditative dance group on Monday night and I will miss it. Of course, any dance will do, of course and it follows much like singing with similar benefits. If you are embarrassed about being seen, remember to close the window shades. I think it would be time for “I feel good” or “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”, but it’s your choice, just like the music.



I worship the Christian God, creator of the universe, but if you choose to worship something else, I won’t mind. The point is here that you focus on the big picture and remember that life will continue in one way or another no matter what on Wednesday. I have been doing another act of worship, too, it’s called prayer. Anne Lamott says all prayer goes under four categories: help, thanks, wow, and hallelujah anyway. I have and will be praying about and for the upcoming POTUS, hope you will too.

An act of worship might even be making a plan for Wednesday. I have a good one.


Paint or color– or knit and crochet- or woodwork; do something with your hands

Coloring is a bit of a craze at the moment, but creating something, just about anything, with your hands is a very positive activity. It focuses you (no overthinking is able to creep in while you are in creative mode) and you have something at the end that you may be proud of. In my case, I may also not be so proud, but that is a subject for another blog.


Cook and eat good meals with pleasant people who have promised not to talk about The Election. This has been my choice of activity since the time changed a week ago (it’s earlier in Switzerland than in the US). It is very calming to create a meal and start cooking it as the sun sets, knowing you can have congenial people around you to eat it with.


Go for a walk

The weather is still relatively nice here, some red and yellow and orange leaves still cling to the trees. And anyway, the dog has to get out and do her thing. A good walk is one of the best things to do on any day. Now you should make sure you focus your mind on things that are positive, like your upcoming meal with friends, or what you will do on Wednesday, no matter what.


Sleep late or go to bed early without looking at the news

No news, if at all possible. Now that it gets dark early and stays dark late, take the time to sleep more. It’s good for you and who knows, you might even lose some weight as an added bonus. No joke.


Avoid any websites or apps where you can see allegations and finger pointing

It might be time for an internet fast– just till Wednesday morning. I do know that in Geneva there’s at least one voting night party and a friend posted that there are tickets still available, should you want to ignore this suggestion.



The four-square breathing exercise may be very helpful at this time. If you find yourself either not breathing or hyperventilating, this is a good cure: breathe in to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4 hold for a count of 4. Repeat until you forget what you were stressing about.


Repeat ad infinitum

Looking forward to Wednesday and all the days after that,

Patricia Jehle