Best-selling Business Author Peter Economy Talks Personal Growth & Self-Leadership

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Who Is Peter Economy?

Peter Economy is a best-selling business and leadership author who has written over 100 books and sold more than 2 million copies. When Thought Bakery reached out to him, it was with the intention to understand why some startup founders fail on the leadership front before they even reach market success. We ended up learning so much more. Peter’s ability to motivate, enable, and encourage genuine leadership principles not only support the inclusion of diversity of mind but also support modern-day leaders in becoming comfortable with raising an organization full of leaders.

 

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What advice would you give to entrepreneurs running a one-person show?

Self-leadership means understanding yourself thoroughly, understanding your own values and evaluating what's most important to you. As your organization scales, your team should reflect your ethics, values, and beliefs. This all stems from self-leadership. When you're still the one-man show or one-woman show, you structure your business in whatever way you know how. You build that structure out in your mind initially and that becomes a framework for the organization as it grows and you hire new people. As you continue to onboard, all parties need to be aligned with your vision and values. New hires may bring different talents to the table but their values need to be aligned with you as the founder, and they need to reflect that outwardly as you scale growth as one company.

What is the difference between a good and a great leader and what do you think are the misconceptions about being a great leader?

As I explain in one of my latest articles, LOVE is the answer. Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford had tough calls to make when repairing Ford during the recession in the early 2000’s, but he believed that you should genuinely love your employees and customers. You should also love the communities in which you do business. What makes a great leader different from a good leader is that they really care about the day-to-day lives of their people, both their professional and personal success.

Great leaders love the communities in which they do business. They love the world and they want to make it a better place. Take Starbucks as an example, they recently announced they would ban plastic straws globally by 2020. The leadership team decided that although the switch might be costly, it’s ultimately worth it for the environment, for customers, and for Starbucks’ future as a sustainability-focused company.

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Does a great leader let his workforce know when things are uncertain or not looking positive for the immediate future?

Leaders want to protect their people from bad news. But the world is always in flux. 25 years ago, a whole movement was created around that called open-book management. It encompassed these values and so much more. Open-book management is a way of running a company that engages employees in their company’s finances. People learn to understand the economics of the business; they track and forecast key numbers. They figure out how to move those numbers in the right direction, but more important, they share in the rewards of better performance. Implemented correctly, companies register as much as a 30% increase in productivity and profitability in the first year alone, according to Forbes.com. Don't try to protect your employees like children. Treat them as adults. Trust them as partners. Communicate constantly, honestly, and transparently.

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Chae Obrien