Many people think that influence is just for sales and marketing people. But actually if you’re a CFO or a procurement director, an in-house attorney or an engineer, you need influence to advance your career, to sell your ideas and to advocate for your team.

Influence is a process and not an event. And influence doesn’t come from the brilliance of your ideas. Influence comes from your ability to create a strong personal brand and to build a network of advocates around you.

Create a strong personal brand:

We all know what a personal brand is. It’s how you are…


For eighteen days, we all watched the unfolding attempts to rescue the “Wild Boar” soccer team out of that cave in Thailand. Now that we’re basking in the happy ending — all the kids and their coach got out — I’ve been reflecting that the mission to save them holds lessons for us as entrepreneurs.

In many ways, this rescue was a lesson in key principles for a startup. There was a problem that had to get solved, and the people involved had to work together to quickly invent ways to solve it. …


Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AlleyWatch here.

Every startup reaches the point where they have learned, they have hired, they have structured. They stop tinkering with their “MVP” and start trying to get customers. They are ready to get things done. At that point these companies have to get excellent at execution.

But achieving this rigorous execution requires a mindset shift. And a new way of thinking requires asking different questions. So here, three questions for executives to up their skills in leading operational excellence:

1. What did we decide?

It’s amazing how a group of people will be in the same meeting…


When a founder starts a venture the company is comprised of the founder/co-founders, their laptops, and often a lot of coffee. After putting in time and energy on their own, it’s a beautiful day when they finally raise their first round of funding. They can finally go out and build what they want to and gain traction.

Of course at that point, it’s time to hire. And, at some point most founders find themselves hiring their friends.

And why wouldn’t’ they hire their friends? Founders are talented, driven people who are often surrounded by talented driven friends. These friends have…


When a founder starts a venture the company is comprised of the founder/co-founders, their laptops, and often a lot of coffee. After putting in time and energy on their own, it’s a beautiful day when they finally raise their first round of funding. They can finally go out and build what they want to and gain traction.

Of course at that point, it’s time to hire. And, at some point most founders find themselves hiring their friends.

And why wouldn’t’ they hire their friends? Founders are talented, driven people who are often surrounded by talented driven friends. These friends have…


Denise Shull is the model for the performance coach on the TV show Billions

“I’m weird,” announced Denise Shull as she sat down with me for our chat. “Popular psychology is focused on what you do — your behavior — and on being positive. I am focused on how you feel — consciously, but even more importantly unconsciously — and on the negative, on your fears and frustrations.”

Denise Shull, whom I must say for the record is charming and sane and not at all weird, is a performance coach. She works with individuals who have to make high stakes decisions in high pressure situations, specializing in working with Wall Street investment professionals and…


After the ball drops, after your team comes back from travel or hibernation after you have your first leadership team meeting, it can feel like the new year is far behind. Yes, you did some planning for the first quarter and yes you will have a kick-off meeting. To capture the real advantage of the “clean slate” that the new year gives you, here are three questions for you to consider to jump start your year.

1. What is your theme for the year?

A theme for the year is a great rallying cry for the team. Themes can also…


Fred Kofman and Prakash Raman want you to know the revolution is here.

Kofman’s newest book The Meaning Revolution, to be released next May, advocates for a revolution of meaning and of consciousness. He lays out the need for this revolution in the workplace and how to be a part of the army leading this revolution.

Kofman and Raman focus on Executive Development at LinkedIn. Together with the broader Learning & Development team they work inside of LinkedIn to foster this revolution and to, as they say, “demystify consciousness.”

Kofman described his understanding of consciousness. “We are wired for instant…


Image by: Katya Nicholas | Dorie Clark

We all know the slogans: “Fail fast and break things,” and “Ready, fire, aim.” They hold a kernel of truth, but if your really want to develop entrepreneurial thinking you need to dig deeper.

Dorie Clark has come out with a practical primer on how to become a more entrepreneurial leader. Here book from Harvard Business Review Press, Entrepreneurial You, provides an essential roadmap. (Disclosure: I was interviewed for the book.)

The book is in part fueled by her experience of getting laid off early in her career. …


“My leadership team is driving me crazy,” Ron told me. I nodded. That happens more often than you’d think.

Ron is a 31-year-old founder/CEO of a company that provides logistics software to medium-sized businesses. The business is growing very fast and the team has done a good job managing that growth. Although young, Ron has a ton of savvy. He hired good people to help him build the company three years ago, but now that they had almost 100 employees he wasn’t sure it was the right team anymore.

Ron couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong but…

Alisa Cohn

Executive Coach for CEOs’ — Startups my speciality. Expert for Worth Magazine. Fitness fanatic; imperfect Buddhist. AlisaCohn.com; follow @AlisaCohn

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