How to Achieve Conscious Success

conscious

Achieve Conscious Success

 

If you want to achieve success, you should ponder these three questions:

  1. What is my best purpose to achieve conscious success?
  2. How can I demonstrate high awareness for conscious success?
  3. How can I positively differentiate myself from others?

Those three questions are literally on the front flap of a new book, The 9 Dimensions of Conscious Success. They pulled me into a narrative by David Nielson. In the book, David shares the dilemma of how to achieve conscious success and outlines a process that helps you move to a life that fulfils your purpose. David is a management consultant who has spent over three decades in consulting and leadership development. I followed up with him to talk about his work.

 

“You cannot differentiate yourself based on a false image of yourself.” -David E. Nielson

 

What is conscious success?

Conscious Success is knowing how you want to show up in life and business, and following a prescribed behavior set which deliberately produces the success you have defined for yourself. The elements and behaviors are specifically the 9 Dimensions.

 

“How you show up in life is a conscious choice – an import choice, it turns out.” -David E. Nielson

 

What are some ways to move from unconscious to conscious, and from incompetence to competence?

It starts with increasing your own self-awareness. We emphasize in the 9DCS model that the foundation is defining your purpose, increasing your self-awareness, and increasing your social awareness. As part of the 9DCS model and book, we created an assessment to assist individuals in increasing their self-awareness. We believe this is the starting point for developing your own plan to move toward your own conscious success.

 

“Gratitude drives your purpose.” – David E. Nielson

 

Know Your Purpose

How Entrepreneurial Negotiations Can Improve Your Success

negotiation

Negotiations Can Improve Your Success

 

Entrepreneurs and startups face an uphill battle as they launch. That’s not surprising, because statistics show that 80-90% of them will fail. Against these daunting odds, entrepreneurs must not only be innovative, but determined to succeed not matter what happens.

And, according to Samuel Dinnar and Lawrence Susskind’s book, Entrepreneurial Negotiation, the biggest threat they face is an inability to negotiate.

That grabbed my attention; so I followed-up to discuss the findings with Samuel Dinnar. Samuel is the president of Meedance, a negotiation and dispute resolution service, and an instructor at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

 

“Entrepreneurs need to treat negotiation as a critical skill.” -Samuel Dinnar

 

5 Factors of Entrepreneurial Negotiations

What are “entrepreneurial negotiations” and how are they different?

In the research for our book, my colleague Lawrence Susskind and I interviewed many entrepreneurs from diverse industries and backgrounds. We found that in entrepreneurial negotiations several factors, that may also exist in business negotiations, are always elevated, often to an extreme. They are complexity, uncertainty, relationships, egos, and emotions.Entrepreneurial Negotiation

Moreover, the entrepreneurial leader needs to negotiate for everything throughout the life of a startup and especially in the very early days, when the future company is just an idea or in the seed stage. On the other hand, when a corporate leader (whether a manager or an executive) is tasked to run a project that brings a new product to the market, for example, that manager will usually be given a budget and a team to work with. The entrepreneur leader continues to negotiate for resources that are beyond his or her control throughout the life of a startup. He or she will need to sell the “vision” to potential employees who might not get paid in the beginning as the company is being formed, or to negotiate with investors to invest their money in the company that has yet to deliver anything, or to convince the customer to buy a product that does not yet exist from a company that may not even be around a year from now!

 

As action-oriented leaders, entrepreneurs are constantly on the move. How does this affect negotiations?

Many entrepreneurs are hard-working action-oriented leaders who know how to make quick decisions and move swiftly based on their intuition. Trusting their intuition and instincts has made them successful so far, but there is a danger in that. Some of the habits that made them successful may actually backfire when used at a later stage, once the company has grown. For example, raising money from an angel investor is a very different process of negotiation than the one used with a later-stage venture capital firm. Some entrepreneurs will make the mistake of working alone without seeking enough advice, while others will make the mistake of compromising too quickly, without exploring how to create more value, so that they can go back to doing what they prefer such as developing a product.

 

“Some of the habits that make entrepreneurs successful in the beginning may backfire when used at a later stage.” -Samuel Dinnar

 

8 Common Mistakes of Entrepreneurs

Why Your Success is Fueled by Your Peers

surround people

The Discipline of Success

 

If you want to be successful, it seems to make sense to get around successful people. The people we are around have an immeasurable impact on us. It’s one of the major themes in my book, The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future.

That’s why I was drawn to Leo Bottary’s new book, What Anyone Can Do: How Surrounding Yourself with the Right People Will Drive Change, Opportunity, and Personal Growth. He covers this important aspect of success. Success is available to everyone who pursues it with discipline. I recently spoke with Leo about his work.

 

“Self-help doesn’t mean by-yourself-help.” -Leo Bottary

 

The Importance of Peers

Since it is so central to your area of study and expertise, would you start by talking about the importance of peers. Why does it matter more than ever?

Trust in our institutions is low across the board (business, government, media and even non-governmental organizations) — because of this, it creates a vacuum.  If we can’t trust our institutions, where else do we turn?  For example, in the workplace, employees were found to trust their co-workers more than either the CEO or any of the senior leadership team members (Edelman Trust Barometer).  When we lack trust in our institutions, and the people who lead them, we look to one another for reliable counsel.  It’s why in today’s environment, our peers matter more than ever.   It also points to why it’s so essential for leaders to communicate horizontally as well as vertically.  The biggest influencers in today’s organizations are not always identified by job title.  In an era where creating “alignment” is the challenge of the day in so many of today’s companies, getting ALL your key influencers involved early and often is essential to making real alignment possible.

 

“Who you surround yourself with matters.” -Leo Bottary

 

What is the Aspen Effect and what does it teach us about leadership? 

The Aspen Effect speaks to a phenomenon in nature.  We see individual Aspen trees, yet it’s not evident they share a common root system and that thousands of Aspen trees can be one organism.  We are all connected.  If we thought of ourselves more often in terms of being part of a larger whole, we would be more successful more often.

 

“We need our peers more than ever.  The less we trust institutions, the more we must rely on one another.” -Leo Bottary

 

Factors of High Performing-Peer Groups

7 Elements of Leadership Gratitude

leadership gratitude

Leadership Gratitude

Years ago, I recall working on a major project for months. Every individual on the team was expected to do his or her own regular day job, and also work on this massive initiative on the side. At night. On the weekends. In whatever spare time you could find.

I recall the brutal travel required to get it all done. The entire team finished, and it culminated in a big presentation at company headquarters. Visiting executives were positioned in a large conference room, listening to the findings and recommendations of the group.

What that team did was impressive, and the executives in the room were pleased. That was clear because they immediately adopted the suggestions.

But they didn’t tell us. They didn’t say anything.

The team had imagined that they would take us all out for a big celebratory dinner. It didn’t happen. Instead, we simply faded back into the daily activities that consumed us before it all started.

The problem was a senior management failure to recognize the huge contribution of the team. The senior executives had an entitlement mentality. I am sure that, if you asked any one of them, they would say, “Well, that’s what they are paid for!” Or, under significant stress, they simply did not think about it.

Having served as a senior leader for many years myself, I am conscious of this more than ever. In the busyness of the job, in the pressure of the need to perform, it isn’t always easy to remember to pause and say thanks. We are on to the next thing and there are dozens waiting in line.

Ask yourself, how often have I been guilty of the same behavior?

 

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” -Gertrude Stein

 

Leaders Express Thanks

Leaders stop and express gratitude.

Leaders regularly look for ways to show gratitude to those who make a difference in their lives.

Sam Walton said it incredibly well when he said, “Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise.”

When should a leader express gratitude? What does leadership gratitude look like?

 

“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise.” -Sam Walton

 

Gratitude is best when it is:

100 Insider Rules for Beating the Startup Odds

startup secrets

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Over the course of their careers, veteran venture capitalist Randy Komisar and finance executive Jantoon Reigersman continue to see startups crash and burn because they forget the timeless lessons of entrepreneurship. But, as Komisar and Reigersman show in their new book, Straight Talk for Startups: 100 Insider Rules for Beating the Odds, you can beat the odds if you quickly learn what insiders know about what it takes to build a healthy foundation for a thriving venture.

 

“Apprentices work furiously to learn the rules; journeymen proudly perfect the rules; but masters forget the rules.” -Randy Komisar

 

Randy Komisar recently shared his perspective:

 

How did this book come about? Have you been compiling these rules for years?

We wrote this book because we were distressed by the growing frequency of missteps by entrepreneurs, many of whom are notoriously splashed across business pages and websites. Jantoon Reigersman brought fresh eyes to the situation as the CFO of a Silicon Valley rocket ship gone awry. We had been having a dialogue for years about what was really going on in the Kabuki Theaters of startup boardrooms and venture capital firms. And we felt that entrepreneurs and investors, professors and students, and frankly anyone curious about the startup game could all benefit from our conversations regarding the time-proven best practices for building successful companies. I have been part of the scene since the mid-1980s, and Tom Perkins, founder of Kleiner Perkins, was one of the original Silicon Valley venture cowboys. I had been compiling and sharing these insights with entrepreneurs since I co-founded my first company. These are the insider rules that the random hero stories heralded by the press conveniently leave out. In Straight Talk for Startups we address the nuts and bolts of choosing investors, raising money, building boards, achieving liquidity, and mastering the fundamentals by distilling decades of frequently forgotten wisdom about how to beat the odds.

 

“Venture Capitalists have one of the greatest jobs in the world. They get to sit across the table from passionate strangers who hallucinate the future for them.” -Randy Komisar

 

Rule 1: Starting a venture has never been easier; succeeding has never been harder. You’ve had an extraordinary vantage point in your career, and I’d like your perspective on the why behind Rule 1. 

It’s all about capital. Privileged places like Silicon Valley are awash is excess capital. The recovery from the Great Recession has left interest rates at record lows. Investors have been looking for ways to juice their returns, and venture capital’s black swans are a siren song. Forget the low odds of winning; the size of the pot is mesmerizing. So investors have been ignoring risk and plowing money into long-shot bets.

This may seem great for entrepreneurs. And on its face it is. But there is a downside. Too much capital means that too many companies are being funded in any single market. With easy capital comes reckless spending on scaling—often times resulting in highly uneconomic growth, that is the acquisition of customers who pay less than the cost of providing the product or service and who have little loyalty to the business. This “all or nothing” mentality leads to wasted dollars, talent and effort. And when one competitor makes the leap to noneconomic growth, the rest are left with little choice but to follow.

The cornucopia of money and startups also affects the job market. Salaries are inflated. People are quick to move from perceived losers to winners. In the Bay Area, for instance, the price of housing, the suffering infrastructure and the breakdown of communities makes building businesses much harder, even if starting them is easier than ever.

 

Startup Rule: Starting a venture has never been easier; succeeding has never been harder.