5 Most Inportant Qualities of a Leader

Nov 15

VisionLast week someone asked me what the five most important qualities of a leader are. So here is what I think:

  1. Vision, an idea of where he/ she is going. If they don’t know where they are going how do they expect anyone to follow them?
  2. Communication, the leader  needs to communicate the vision, to explain why. A leader doesn’t just tell you where to go, he/she has to paint the passionate picture of the vision and then take you there (could be called people skills).
  3. Awareness. Self awareness, being aware of their impact on others around you as people judge behaviour not intent; and awareness of the skills and abilities of those around you. Linked with communication skills as if you don’t communicate your vision then people can only judge you on actions which may be misconstrued.
  4. Decisiveness, people want a clear decision. They want you to listen to their points of view but ultimately that want to have confidence that you make the ‘right’ decision in a timely fashion. They want good judgement.

Innovation, people want you to be creative and to come up with ways of pushing the organisation forward. That doesn’t mean the leader always has to be the idea man, but they have to be able to spot the potential in ideas and create a culture to nourish and support them.

Of course I could have also included other traits like:
- caring
- credit giving
- integrity

Jon Powell

Interviews: JP’s Top Tips

Jul 29

Interview panel1. First impression are key, sell yourself. Smile, try to make small talk and relax. Make eye contact. Look like you belong!

2. Preparation and research the employer, the job, the team. What may they ask? What do you want to know?

3. Answer the question, don’t waffle and talk about everything under the sun. Don’t be afraid of silence to collect your thoughts.

4. Sell your knowledge, your experience, you abilities and skills. Also you as a person, how you will fit with the team.

5. Why do you want the job? If you can’t answer that Q in a positive way then why are you there?

6. Don’t underestimate body language. Sit upright, maintain eye contact, and don’t fidget. Practice in front of a mirror.

7. Try to develop a rapport. Show energy, smile, show interest in the business and the team. Look like you fit!

8. Take notes in with you & make notes. Difficult 3 part question? Write it down then answer it fully.

9. Stay calm. If you fidget take a bottle of water in with you to hold. Take deep breaths before answering. Practice in advance.

10. The obvious! Look the part, dress for the job you want and be on time, do a trial run! Good luck.

Funding: JP’s Top Tips

Jul 29

money money money!1. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Finding funding takes time. Getting the cash takes longer!

2. Self funding – savings, loan, credit card, job. Most start-ups are self funded. Get feedback on your biz plan and budget!

3. FFF – Friends, family and fools. Manage their expectations, they can and poss will lose it all! Are you ok with that?

4. Bank loan – don’t always like start-ups, harder than personal loan. Typically £10k+. Often want security!

5. Angel investment – high net worth individuals. Can hunt as a pack, see http://www.nwbusinessangels.co.uk/. They expect high returns! You need to demonstrate an exit.

6. Crowdfunding – see http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/, http://www.crowdcube.com/, pitch online to community of investors. Interesting new concept.

7. Venture capital – need to demonstrate significant growth potential. Need an experienced team and track record. Not quick, not easy. Not for 99%.

8. Grants – good luck! Try the Princes trust if under 30 or ask your local council as they should know your local area. Not as many as there were.

9. Don’t plan to fail and don’t fail to plan. You need credibility, the more unanswered questions the less credibility.

10. Network like crazy. You may need a jigsaw puzzle of investment, talk to people, ask for help. Good luck!

Presentations and Pitches: JP’s Top Tips

Jul 26

Jon Powell presenting1. Know your audience. Tailor your presentation to their interests not yours. Get there early set up and meet them!

2. Have a beginning, middle and an end. “Tell them what you will tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you have told them”.

3. Make a good first impression, establish credibility. You can use cartoons, clips, a funny story or stats on the topic.

4. The rule of three, have 3 Key points and repeat them. Have 3 key points and repeat them. Have three key points and repeat them.

5. Don’t forget about body language. Don’t move around too much. Make eye contact, smile, project your voice. Be the expert and enjoy yourself.

6. Don’t rely on notes. You will look more confident and knowledgeable and gain the respect of the audience. If you need to use key word notes.

7. Notes  – If you really struggle without notes how about preparing your presentation as answers to a series of questions you pose.

8. Notes – Use props as visual clues to help you remember the key themes of your presentation. They can also be fun.

9. If you use Powerpoint then remember it is the prop not the presentation! 10 slides, 20 minutes and use large fonts.

10. Don’t be scared of silence. A powerful pause can make a strong point. Develops your self-confidence and discipline!

How to Network: JP’s Top Tips

Jul 26

Networking1. Networking is not about sales.  It is about being genuine and building trusted relationships to see how you can help one another. Introduce people; become known as a helpful person.

2. Be prepared. Have a clear idea why you are there and who else might be there.

  • If someone asks ‘How may I help you’, have an idea of what you need!
  • If someone asks ‘What do you do’, have some good statements to establish credibility, be proud not boastful.

3. Wear your name badge on your right hand side.

  • Most people are right handed and lean into someone when shaking hands. If your badge is on your left then they might not be able to read your name badge.

4. Repeat your first name when you introduce yourself.

  • Introduce yourself as “Jon, Jon Powell”. No this isn’t to make you sound like a spy! Repeating your name will help them remember it.  Don’t forget to smile and make eye contact.

5. Have open body language; invite people into your ‘group’.

  • There will be closed groups and open groups. Target open groups and be an open group.

6. Ask open ended questions.

  • Ask Who, What, Why, When, Where, How. This opens up discussions and lets you be a listener.

7. Be yourself

  • Don’t try to act, refer to your own experiences, hobbies and interests. Be authentic and try not to keep apologising.

8. Know the etiquette.

  • If you want to end a conversation with someone say “I’m just going to get a drink, I might see you later” or “I’d like to introduce you to x”.
  • If you want to continue a conversation say “I’m just going to get a drink, can I get you anything”.

9. Have some professional business cards to exchange with people where you can help them or they can help you.

  • Don’t thrust cards into everyone’s hand, give them selectively.
  • Your card should say who you are, what you do, how to contact you and should have space for people to write on.

10. Follow up on contacts quickly and efficiently.

  • Book time in the diary a day or two after the event to follow up referrals, strike while the iron is hot.


    Investing in England's Northwest

    How To...is a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week and is organised by the Northwest Enterprise Champion project.