I’m freshly back from New Delhi, India, at the 2015 UNIGLOBE Chairman’s Circle and what an experience! Just over six years ago, I was there for a business trip and got a chance to tour the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, and take in various cultural attractions. This time, it was strictly business, but what a change!
In the last six years, India has experienced growth on many fronts and it’s obvious. With a population expected to pass China’s rapidly-ageing demographics in the next five years, pollution, infrastructure, and sanitation need to catch up, but progress has clearly been made.
India’s population is very young with the average person just in their mid-twenties, and its growing middle class will soon number in the 350 million range. That’s bigger than the entire population of the United States! They’ve been busy buying luxuries that we in the West have had for the past 50 years, including cars. However, just like the West, these purchases have left a mark on the environment.
Notwithstanding the recent Paris climate agreements, less cars and less pollution don’t seem to be in the cards any time soon, in India or Asia Pacific at large: “It’s our turn now. Don’t tell us we can’t have what you’ve had for the last 30 years!”
The West will have to share its lessons as well as its products, and offer financial help with the costs of reducing India’s dependence on Fossil fuels, particularly coal.
But where there is a will, there is a way!
The major constant between the last trip and this one is the never-ending friendliness of the people who are always helpful and wearing smiles on their faces. They make me confident that ultimately (maybe still in my lifetime) we are going to see a positive turnaround in the current climate change dilemma. India’s happy people want a happy future with clean air and less frequent natural disasters.
All these problems, created either for profit or unintentionally for comfort, have solutions. India’s young and growing population certainly has the attitude to take them on with a smile.
Leadership has been called a weighty challenge. Lately, for me, it’s been about 185 pounds. I’ve had other great dogs, but my American mastiff PrinZ has become a perfect partner: loyal, responsive, and disciplined (as well as a complete people-person).
I feel like my success with him is partially the result of lessons I’ve learned from developing businesses. Turns out, leadership skills not only benefit companies but cross into all parts of life, even to this man’s best friend.
For instance, to be a true leader:
You need others to want to follow you
You need a clear, powerful vision others want to stand behind so you can drive it forward together. Great people won’t just follow a company’s lead, they have to believe in its cause. As an entrepreneur, that cause is you – and your vision. Your team’s loyalty depends on your consistent actions, directions, and your own obvious dedication. If you’re not dependable and decisive, others will either be confused or less motivated to follow. Either way, performance will suffer.
You must clearly communicate your vision
In business, precise, easy to understand goals are vital to success especially when working with a team. The saying is true: If people don’t know exactly where to go, they’ll never get there! You must ensure each member has clear instruction on what’s required of them. You get the results you want by stating objectives clearly and consistently referring back to them in every situation. That way, others know exactly what to do to help achieve the goals you’ve set. This makes everyone feel supported and on track.
You have to establish effective habits, early on
Change is hard – in yourself and in others! So, starting off right is key. We’ve all experienced it: Once a habit develops, it gets established and is much more difficult to alter later on. You need to immediately train yourself and your team how to perform to get the results you want. It does take a lot of time and effort to create and communicate the best practices needed to achieve your goals. However, it’s much easier than trying to un-train ineffective habits later on. Train first or pay later.
In my experience, it didn’t seem to matter whether it was sales, supporting franchises, or developing an ideal best friend: Leadership is leadership. The skills and lessons you learn transfer and make you a leader in all aspects of your life.
Now, it’s time for me to continue “reinforcing” my own skills on a sunny, summer walk with PrinZ.