Incorporate risk into every business plan

In order for a business to succeed, everyone should be working towards the same goals. And those goals should be firmly established in the formulation of every business plan. No action or decision taken in the running of a business is without an element of risk, and a good CEO will approach the process of planning for risks using strong leadership to get everyone on the same page.

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Do people believe in you?

The success you achieve in the world of business depends on so many factors, including your tenacity and ability to solve problems. But one of the defining factors into whether or not your business plan eventually makes it through scrutiny, is how well you can convince people to believe in you. In fact, if you are failing in any area of your business, be it sourcing new customers or motivating your team, you need to ask yourself this very simple question:

“Do people believe in you?”

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Are you being realistic as a CEO?

Leaders and entrepreneurs usually lean toward one of two mindsets – they are either realists who downplay the good, or they’re optimists who remain positive about all outcomes. Although there may be a strong link between success and optimism when running a business, it is important for leaders to learn how to balance both. Take your business plan, for example; being too optimistic can often lead to overestimating success, which can potentially cause setbacks and disappointment amongst employees or outside investors.

So, how do you ensure you maintain a good balance between realism and optimism when setting clear goals for your business?

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Is your team ready for the future?

To be a leader capable of providing vision for an organisation, it is important to keep an eye firmly fixed on the future at all times. The famous former football manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who coached Manchester United to over 20 years of success, explained that the morning after his team had won a trophy, he immediately began planning for the next campaign.

But how do you engender the same forward thinking in your team? In this article, we look at some key considerations pertaining to long term vision.

Do they know where you want to be?

It is vital that you ring fence some time to map out your long term vision to your team. It won’t just take one presentation – this is something which you should be repeating in weekly and monthly meetings, and ideally record in a document which can be shared with all your team. You cannot over-communicate about your vision.

It’s good to talk

In both team meetings and one on ones, you have the chance to project what you see as the future to the members of your team. And it should be a two-way conversation; ask your team to challenge anything which they do not understand, and to offer their own input at appropriate junctures. It is accepted wisdom that ‘thoughts are things’ but a plan without action is just a dream, so make sure you are constantly communicating your long term vision to your team. There is nothing wrong with thinking out loud, getting and acting on the feedback!

Is that in line with where they see the future?

It is all very well having a long term vision as a CEO, but if this isn’t in tune with where your team sees its own future, you may end up with a disjointed strategy. For this reason, it makes sense to constantly gauge your team’s own ambitions and long term goals, so you can tap into what they really want. Once you know that, you can revisit your own vision and tweak it accordingly, ensuring it ‘hits the right note’.

So those are some tips regarding leadership, teams and long term visions – remember, communication is always key!

The importance of wanting the future

For thousands of years, human beings have sacrificed endlessly so that we could discover the benefits of one thing: the future. If you want to be a truly great leader, it is vital that you understand this. Years ago, a farmer had to learn to let himself and his family go hungry today to reap the benefits of his seeds in the coming months. Our discovery of the future revolves around our learned ability to sacrifice our present time so that we can have a better world in times to come.

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To be an excellent CEO you must be realistic about your goals

One of the essential ingredients in the leadership recipe for success is ‘knowing your limitations’. This means being realistic about what you can and can’t manage in terms of workload. Far more frustrating is the woman or man who offers the world and doesn’t provide, than the one who didn’t offer it in the first place. Leading up a large organization or department can be incredibly fulfilling and is ideally suited to those who have excellent leadership qualities, but what many don’t realise is that being realistic about goal achievement is key to excellent leadership.

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Conflict management strategies to implement today

One trait shared by great business leaders is their ability to identify, fine-tune, and implement quick and effective resolutions to workplace conflicts. Unfortunately, many senior professionals are crippled by a fear of confrontation, falling back on diversions or simply ignoring elephants in the room. To ensure this inertia doesn’t become too damaging to the organisation, here are some effective conflict resolution strategies to implement today:

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Real leaders learn to negotiate

At this point, we’ve all seen the diagram of the difference between a leader and a boss. The boss sits in his chair and his employees drag the company (and him) forward while the leader is first in line to help pull the company forward with his own hands. If you want to be an effective leader, there are a few distinct skills you need to develop. Negotiation is a tool that can make or break your leadership.

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Get over your fear of conflict as a CEO

As a leader, you can’t afford to shy away from situations involving conflict. Conflict is a natural part of life and will occur in both your professional and personal lives. If managed well, you can use it to promote your ideas and put your concepts in to practice. In fact, changes cannot happen without it. Conflict also helps us to grow and pushes our limits – often driving us to complete tasks we never thought possible.

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The 4 principles of CEO Neil Burkett’s leadership

Originally born in New Zealand, Neil Burkett currently heads the Guardian Media Group and is taking them from strength to strength after previously overseeing the rise and subsequent sale of Virgin Media in 2013 to the American firm Liberty Global for over $23 billion. So what’s the key to his success? He believes that looking after your customers and being innovative are behind Virgin Media’s rejuvenation under his leadership.

Neil Burkett is a CEO with integrity, focus, courage and vision. All these abilities enable him to mobilise collaboration and work with his teams as a great leader.

His principles as a CEO already give you an idea of how you can follow in his footsteps. But here’s a closer look at how he has employed these in building and leading some of the UK’s largest companies.

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