An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Transparency — The team should know when times are tough, when budgets are tight etc.

Confidence — A leader must exude confidence in uncertain times to instill trust in the organization

Adaptability — The leader of an organization must be willing to change or pivot, even if that means going against what they have told the team in the past


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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“Be Exceedingly Human” — I stole this one from Patrick Lencioni, because it’s so valuable. Leaders must relate to their people as people, not just as employees. Remember that a crisis is often impacting their personal lives as well. Don’t act as if your business is the only thing being affected. If you care for your people, they will care for your business.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Optimism: Your staff is going to look to you when times are hard and your attitude and outlook can have a tremendous impact on how they feel about the situation. I recently had a board member approach me and ask how we are going to make it when the situation is so dire. I told him that we have to believe we can survive with a measured and realistic plan and know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. By the end of the conversation, he was feeling much better. Your optimism can make a huge difference.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Hire a business coach and meet with them regularly. Being a business owner can be lonely and very challenging. Your friends won’t understand, your employees shouldn’t have to understand, and you need help. Accept it and make the investment of time and money because you and your business will be stronger because of it.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Trust in yourself. You have a superpower. Figure it out and then trust yourself. Self-confidence takes a while — though I am not talking about arrogance. If you are going to lead your business, then you do need to consult widely but then trust yourself to make the right decision. My second pivot was a return to doing what I do best, and I had veered away from by listening too much to others and not sticking to my guns when I knew what the right thing to do was.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Don’t panic. As I touched on previously, when you panic, you make rash decisions that aren’t based on any research or planning. Many suppliers I’ve spoken with have reacted to disruptive technology by hiring expensive developers, thinking the best way is to throw money at the problem. With proper research, you can establish the best solution for your business no matter the size or budget.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Capturing info and bringing it back to the team so that you communicate. Systems and tools help us do this, but it’s very personal. You’re setting the team up for success when they go into the home to provide a service. If you don’t do that you completely undermine the trust and integrity.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Remember that your team is a group of people that you’ve invested in, but they’ve also invested in you. Check in on them, let them know you care.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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You’re Going to Wear a Lot of Hats. When your organization is in the startup phase, you tend to play many roles at once, as your team hasn’t acquired all the talent it needs yet. I remember one night this last summer, I realized I was playing the role of CEO, an HR manager, and then some. I was onboarding volunteers, coordinating communications, and reaching out to strategic partnerships in addition to my responsibilities as CEO. This agility and need to transition quickly through projects are skills that I wish I would have prepared for much more.


An Interview With Charlie Katz

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Be confident and inclusive. While it is critical to be confident, prideful, and enthusiastic about one’s direction, it is never necessary to vocalize/promote that spirit at the expense of others. Simple, deliberate pronoun use as well as the employment of the word, “and” instead of “but” can go miles through not only communication but also of mindset and perspective.

About

Charlie Katz

Executive Creative Director at Bitbean Software Development

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