Jack DeBrabander Shares His Top Tips for Today’s Leaders
Michigan State Business Management and Communications major, Jack Estes DeBrabander, has made it a point to familiarize himself with what it takes to run a successful business. “There are things that they teach you in class, and it’s really useful. Then there are the things you can only learn through experience.” Jack has come up with five tips for people wanting to have their business reach the top.
Develop a Bulletproof Why
What is it that gets you up in the morning? What is it that motivates you to work 20 hours straight, get 4 hours of sleep only to get up and do another 20 hours? Jack has found that the most important thing any leader can have is and ultra-strong “Why”. What is your passion? What is the reason why you got into this business in the first place? Was it for money? For fame, or to change the world? Or maybe Just make the world a better place for your family? Whatever it is, it needs to be important enough to you so when things go bad you can push through and keep moving forward. Make no doubt about it, there will be times when you are scratching your head wondering if this was the best choice or not. it is during these times that you need to have a clear why and focus on that.
Know Your Numbers
Whether it is the show Shark Tank, the Profit, or even a cooking show like Restaurant Takeover, one thing they always ask the business owners is do they “know their numbers?” Knowing what your sales are, your cost of goods sold or what your margins are is critical for any business owner if they want to move their business forward. A solid grasp on these numbers will help you be aware of the changes in your business, whether it be an increase or a dip in sales, and then you can adjust accordingly. Also, if you’re looking for outside financing whether from a bank or an angel investor, they will ask you what those numbers are. How confidently and accurately you respond may determine whether you get the funding or not.
Lead by Example
Jack says, “I used to work for this guy who would ask everyone to come in early for a morning team meeting. The rest of us would just laugh because we knew that he would be the last one to arrive to his own meeting. He was a joke!” Leaders need to motivated by example rather than have a “do as I say, and not as I do” attitude. This latter behavior actually has the opposite effect, which instead ends up demoralizing or frustrating the employees under their care. If you expect everyone to work hard, then you need to work hard as well. When employees see that you are willing to get your hands dirty just like everyone else, you’ll earn their respect, and soon see that they are following your example as well.
Share the Accolades and Own the Blame
The last and most important thing all business owners need to do is to be able to share the glory when things go right and own their part when things go wrong. Even if you single-handedly landed that “whale” account, you need to share the glory with the team and recognize that long-term, a leader is only as good as the team behind them. Conversely, if you screw up, own it! This ties in to the previous trait of leading by example. If the team knows that everyone is being recognized for their actions, including those at the top, it will foster respect and admiration from the entire team.
Jack admits that there’s still a lot more that he needs to learn and experience for himself. But he knows that by just following these traits of effective leaders he’s already off to a great start!