Entrepreneurial Leadership – My presentation & Two things I learned

This week I spoke to a group of entrepreneurs at Start Garden, an incubator in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  After receiving support from a program called Fast Track to start my own business, I pledged to us my Google-time (10% of my time) to connect with programs that help others start their own businesses and/or allow me to hang out with great people.  Start Garden meets both criteria.  Here are two things I learned from my workshop:

1. To get feedback, you have to ask for it: In dozens of appearances, I have found it very hard to get constructive feedback.  For this presentation I took my teenage daughter and told her ahead of time that I would like some feedback about what improvements I could make.  When I asked her after I was done she shared “Dad, at the end your closing kind of dragged.  People want to get going, and you could have kept the pace moving a little better as you went around the room for your closing.”    She was right, and next time I will be better because she cared enough to share.  The best way to get feedback is to ask for it before you start.

2.  Entrepreneurs love to learn: We were talking about leadership, and had some very frank discussions about barriers to leading well, but we never got stuck in what facilitators call a ‘negative spiral’.   We acknowledged what made it hard to lead, but quickly moved past it to what they could do to be better leaders.  It is what I try to do as a facilitator, but I know that when it is easy – the groups gets part of the credit.  Entrepreneurs see the opportunities in anything, which is why it is fun to hang around them.

 

Here is a copy of my presentation if you are interested.  It was themed around a John Wayne movie that I loved.

My question:  If you had to share one thing with a group of entrepreneurs about leadership, what would it be?