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Bring Your Heart to Work

By Ken and Lee Estridge

Recently we had the opportunity to hear Tony Tjan, venture capitalist and founder of Zefer, speak about his best selling book, Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck at the MIT Sloan Alumni Club of Boston. Tony, co-author of the book, described successful entrepreneurs that have led with one of four attributes: Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck. Examples of Heart-dominant leaders are Chef Alice Waters and Starbucks's Howard Schultz. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and famed investor Warren Buffet are cited as Smarts-dominant leaders. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, and Nelson Mandela are examples of Guts-dominant leaders; and Tony Tsieh, founder of Zappos, was listed as a Luck-dominant leader.

Striking The Balance

It turns out that it takes all four elements to be a successful entrepreneur or business leader, but each of us leads with one. When you're building a leadership team, it's important to have team members who represent all four elements so that the team is balanced. We often tell leaders that being smart and making the "right" decisions are only part of effective leadership. Leaders need to become the kind of leader that people love to follow. This has a lot to do with how they acknowledge, appreciate, reward, and coach their team, and the degree to which they encourage people to grow and realize their full potential.

It Starts At the Top

A commitment to help team members feel vitally connected to the mission of the organization starts at the top. We often see leaders who want to "fix" their people and who complain about a lack of engagement and accountability. Oftentimes, leaders don't look at themselves objectively and understand their impact on people. One of the most important aspects of an effective leader is to lead by example and model the behaviors you want to see exhibited in your organization.

Remember Your Heart

It takes passion and commitment to overcome the many obstacles that every entrepreneur and business leader faces. When your heart is engaged, your work becomes more meaningful for you. When you share your passion with others and engage the hearts of your employees, they will work together enthusiastically to realize common goals. When employees know why they are doing what they are doing, care about what they are doing, and bring their heart to their work, their work becomes more than "just a job!"


If you're curious about your entrepreneurial style, check out the Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck website: www.hsgl.com. You might be surprised by which element you lead with.

Happy Valentine's Day, from our hearts to yours.

Lee and Ken