Welcome to StartUp Mindset, Jackie. We’re very excited to have you here. For the readers who are not familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in the South, raised in the Midwest, and moved to the East Coast for graduate school and have lived on the East Coast since. I am a wife, mother, friend, and devoted family member. I bring a proven track record of over three decades in leading mission driven institutions from vulnerability to high performing levels. I have used my skills and leadership experiences to contribute to many corporate and civic organizations. I consider myself to be a social entrepreneur and change agent striving to open doors and opportunity for those who have been locked out.
You have recently published an interesting book entitled The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership. Could you tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it?
Throughout my professional career, I have tried to live the religious teaching: “to whom much is given, much is required”. That means that as a leader, I am obligated, and privileged, to “pay it forward” sharing my wisdom, experiences, learnings with others to help and support them in their own professional growth and development. It is in that spirit that I wrote the book. Over the years, many young leaders have asked me to share my thoughts, experiences, and wisdom on leadership. It was a great honor for me to write The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership in the hope that my book will be helpful to emerging as well as seasoned leaders.
In your book you outlined how important it is to take advantage of opportunity. Could you give our readers some tips on how to identify a good opportunity when they come across one?
The name of this blog, Startup Mindset, is a great first tip to taking advantage of opportunity. In order to take advantage of opportunity, first one must have an open mindset. With an open mindset, one can assess if an opportunity is worth pursuing. I suggest that the steps to identifying an opportunity worth pursuing are guided by five key interrogatives: why, who, what, where and how. Answering these key interrogatives will help you step toward or away from an opportunity.
Your book, you teach the importance of staying on point in the midst of risk. Could you tell us a little more about that and why it is so important for leaders to do so?
Mastering staying on point requires the leader to have clarity and understanding of what he is attempting to accomplish. This is especially important during challenging and risky times. Refining the message and objectives becomes essential to achieving a successful outcome. A key role of the leader is to understand how much change and risk an organization can successfully digest at a given time. Therefore, the importance of clarity and a coherent message is essential to a successful outcome. Beware of tangents that will distract the leader and the organization from objective.
Many of our readers are leaders of their businesses and will often face opposition from various sources. Can you give our readers your thoughts on the best way to deal with opposition?
As leader it is critical to understand that she will encounter opposition. It’s the nature of leadership. Someone will always be unhappy with a decision or direction the leader has taken. The best way to deal with opposition is to identify and understand what is driving the opposition. The leader cannot successful address opposition if she does not understand what is driving it. Opposition is often driven by skeptics, who can generally be reached through fact. Opponents are sometimes unreachable with tools of intellect because they are driven partly or solely by emotion. Therefore, understanding what drives the opposition is the first step in addressing it. As long as it’s healthy opposition – that is there are facts at the core of the opposition, then the leader can learn, respond and benefit from it. In contrast, unhealthy opposition is more complex and will require different problem-solving strategies.
What mindset or trait do you think every entrepreneur must possess in order to become successful?
In my book, I offer 4 essential attributes that I believe drive the responsive leader. I call these attributes The Big Four: Curiosity: the desire to continuously learn; Humility: a sincere regard for the reality that we cannot do it alone; Empathy: the ability to feel and appreciate other human beings; and Resilience, the capacity to recover, to keep going forward in the face of adversity. The Big Four attributes are compatible and if fully integrated in the entrepreneur’s leadership, she will have the foundation she needs to be successful.