How to lead with sustainability in mind

Social entrepreneurs who desire to keep their businesses dynamic and relevant must learn how to lead with a legacy in mind. Sustainability in this day and age is needed more than ever, as younger generations are starting to climb the ranks.

Whether an organization is a nonprofit or a social enterprise, its operations wouldn’t have to stop once the founder has gone to another project. A social movement that isn’t central to its founder can make a lasting impact. The kind of leadership sustainability calls for is one that is fearless when it comes to training a team that would eventually take on the top roles in an organization.

Leaders who develop leaders keep the company moving. Most of the time, companies look for solutions from one key person, disregarding all other options from those who are not in the position, for the reason that they are not regarded as a valuable player in the company. Organizations that have leaders who work with their teams and seeking solutions from each member before coming up with the best option are vital to a company’s stable growth.

Entrepreneurs must learn to separate themselves from work; this will make their departure from the company they’ve established much easier. Develop a smart plan for the future, lead with purpose, and set up a living. Train future leaders that have the same passion and vision for the company, and allow it to become fruitful, building an environment that helps in its shift from being a startup to a sustainable organization.

The term sustainability is slowly gaining ground in business circles. That is why Haris Ahmed is capitalizing on this principle by emphasizing the importance of the term during his advisory business practice. For similar reads, visit this blog.

Tags: Sustainability, entrepreneurship, leadership, business, organization

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Haris Ahmed | Chicago | 5 Key Traits of an Entrepreneur



5 Key Traits of an Entrepreneur as Shared by Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant

At some point, everyone has thought about owning their own business. The dream is to earn enough money to afford a comfortable lifestyle and do so without working for someone else—someone else’s company or business. For Haris Ahmed, Chicago leadership consultant and change expert, being an entrepreneur is not merely about opening a business to sell goods or services and waiting for the profits to come in. Entrepreneurship requires more than just selling a brand or product, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago. More than anything else, he says, entrepreneurship is all about leadership.

Successful entrepreneurs share a few common traits—traits that have helped them build their small startups into large corporations. Haris Ahmed, Chicago consultant, shares five of these traits below:

Takes calculated risks

If you’re not daring and brave, entrepreneurship may not be the correct path for you, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago. In business, you will be exposed to all kinds of risks, and these risks can either be fruitful or disastrous, depending on your approach. With that said, a good entrepreneur knows how to take calculated risks. Know that not every risk is worth taking. This is where your entrepreneurial leadership skills will come into play. You can decipher which risks are worth taking and which ones should be mitigated.

You’re a leader and a team player

Business owners need to be a leader and a team player at the same time. You let go of the reins when you need to, and you take them back when necessary. In other words, you’re as much of a leader as a follower, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago.

You’re a teacher, motivator, and advocate rolled into one

Haris Ahmed of Chicago has always believed that a good entrepreneur-leader is an excellent teacher. You are not stingy with information, and you always look for opportunities to teach others what you know in hopes of turning them into leaders someday. You motivate your organization to work towards the company’s goals, taking the direction of your mission and vision. In effect, you also become an advocate for your employees’ growth and career advancement.

You value everyone’s inputs, opinions, and feedback

A good entrepreneur is open-minded and always willing to learn from others. You welcome feedback, good and bad. With negative feedback, you’re willing to look within to see what needs to change; and with good feedback, you work towards enhancing your strengths. For Haris Ahmed of Chicago, every input, opinion or feedback holds lessons that can only be for the benefit of the company and the organization.

You own up to your mistakes

Lastly, Haris Ahmed of Chicago believes that a good entrepreneur and leader is someone who isn’t afraid to admit mistakes, and more importantly, to work on rectifying their errors. To put it another way, you hold yourself accountable for all your actions and decisions, and you’re quick to own up to your mistakes.

For more thoughts and tips on leadership from Haris Ahmed of Chicago, please stay tuned to this page.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | The Mindset of an Effective Leader



Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant Asks: Is Your Focus on What Could Go Wrong?

For Haris Ahmed, Chicago change expert and leadership consultant, there are only two types of people in this world: those who are always looking over their shoulder and those who are always facing forward. “What does this mean?” the reader may ask. Haris Ahmed of Chicago puts it another way; there are people who are always open to what could go right, and there are people who only focus on what could go wrong. Which one are you?

The mindset of an effective leader, for Haris Ahmed of Chicago, is focused on possibilities and opportunities. If the leader of an organization is focused on finding faults and flaws and is only concerned about what could go wrong, whatever plans they put forward is a disaster waiting to happen. How so? The plan was developed with failure in mind. This isn’t to say that all your plans will yield fruitful results if you’re focused solely on success. What this simply means is that if you’re planning with success in mind, you give your plans the ammunition to succeed, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago. If you’re planning with “what could go wrong” in mind, you base all your strategies from a place of fear. And fear shouldn’t be allowed to control your thinking because it will spill over your leadership, and ‘infect’ the entire organization, Haris Ahmed of Chicago adds.

In one of the videos about fear he chanced upon online, the speaker talked about how fear can get hold of your entire being to the point of keeping you stuck in a rut. When a person makes decisions based on fear, any situation is seen with exaggeration; giving it power to take over one’s life. One line that struck Haris Ahmed of Chicago the most from the video goes something like: “In three weeks, it would have been a month.” The speaker was talking about asking someone about how long he’s had the flu. Now do you see how fear can exaggerate situations?

To be an effective leader, you must nip fear in the bud. You do not give it room to fester, and you certainly do not give it its place of honor in your organization. In every situation, especially bad ones (think failure and rejection), a good leader sees opportunities. Remember Thomas Edison? He’s considered as one of the world’s greatest investors. One of his most popular and widely appreciated inventions is the light bulb. Haris Ahmed of Chicago shares this quote from the famous inventor:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

One would think that after experiencing failure after failure, he would’ve given up. But he didn’t. He didn’t let the fear of failure stop him from pursuing his purpose.

To borrow today’s popular contextual “ism,” Be like Thomas.

As a parting thought, Haris Ahmed of Chicago asks this rhetorical question: “Isn’t focusing on what could go right so much better than carrying the burden of thinking what could go wrong?”


Haris Ahmed | Chicago | The Best Way to Teach Confidence

Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant: Why Teaching by Example is the Best Method

Haris Ahmed, Chicago consultant and CEO of Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc., has said it of enough of leaders: “If you want to teach your organization anything, do it by example.” Strict, rigorous, and structured training will only get you so far, adds Haris Ahmed of Chicago. If you want to teach anything worth learning and acquiring, be hands-on. Don’t just leave it to the experts; be your own expert.

The reader may have noticed that Haris Ahmed of Chicago has been talking about confidence in his recent posts. This is because he believes that for one to truly reach the pinnacle of success, you must have the confidence to forge on no matter how many setbacks you experience along the way. As an entrepreneur, Haris Ahmed of Chicago says, it’s important to build your confidence first before embarking on a business venture, especially if this is your first time. You need to possess a good amount of confidence to start a business because various kinds of risks are involved in running a business. But it isn’t enough that the leader has confidence in his abilities, he must have confidence in his team as well.

For this post, Haris Ahmed shares his thoughts on teaching confidence by example.

Haris Ahmed of Chicago has said it often enough, the best way to teach your organization is by walking your talk; through your example, in other words. The very first step in teaching by example is allowing your team to show what they’re capable of without interference from you. There are times when you must step in to show how something is supposed to be done, and there are times when you must step back to allow your team to discover their own capabilities. Make your team feel that you are confident in their abilities by allowing them to do their job their own way; that is, after providing them with all the necessary tools.

Each member of your team is unique—they are individuals working towards a common a goal. Allow their uniqueness to shine by leaving them well enough alone. Gone are the days when an organizational leader must always stay in front of the pack. These days, employees gravitate towards companies that provide them with opportunities for growth and advancement, and you open doors for these opportunities when you allow your team to show you what they’ve got without your assistance.

When you allow your team to do their job, you make your job easier, too. And that, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago, is one of the advantages of having a team that is confident in its abilities. A leader is someone who teaches others to be future leaders, too; so when the time comes for you to step down, you know you’re leaving the company in good hands—you trained them, after all.

At this point in your business, can you honestly say that you have the confidence of leaving your company in the hands of your team?

Stay tuned to this page for more leadership posts from Haris Ahmed of Chicago.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | 3 Steps to Build Self-Confidence

3 Steps to Boost Your Self-Confidence by Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant

An entrepreneur needs strong leadership skills to run and manage their business; and of these skills, self-confidence tops the list. For Haris Ahmed, Chicago leadership expert and consultant, there is nothing more discouraging for a team than seeing their leader’s blatant lack of self-confidence. If the leader doesn’t believe in himself, how else will the world believe in their company and what they can offer? A leader who lacks self-confidence very likely has a poor self-esteem as well. Someone like this has no business running a business, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago.

The bad news is that a leader who lacks the self-confidence needed to steer the company towards the direction of success will eventually bring the entire organization down. The good news is that, if you lack the self-confidence now, it doesn’t mean you will never acquire it. Just as with any other skill, self-confidence can be learned, according to Haris Ahmed of Chicago. But it’s important to build your confidence first before embarking on a business venture, especially if this is your first time. You need to possess a good enough amount of confidence to start a business because various kinds of risks are involved in running a business.

Below, Haris Ahmed of Chicago shares his top three steps for building and boosting yourself-confidence:

Tell yourself that you are more than good enough

One of the most common factors that make people lose confidence in themselves is their inability to realize their own worth. Perhaps this can be rooted from childhood experiences, a past rejection that traumatized them, or other past experiences that made them believe that they are never, and won’t ever be, good enough. This is one of the saddest beliefs that anyone can ever have about themselves, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago.

Believing that you are good enough is a good start. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, Haris Ahmed of Chicago emphasizes. If you believe that you have what it takes to make a success of your life no matter how many stones are thrown at you or how many obstacles are blocking your way, nothing can stop you from achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish. Tell yourself that you are more than good enough. Make it your daily mantra. You may not believe it now; but over time, you will if you keep repeating it to yourself.

Do something that scares you

People who lack self-confidence live in a bubble—a comfort zone that they are afraid to leave. Haris Ahmed of Chicago suggests that you do one thing every day—or as often as possible—that scares you. It doesn’t even have to be a big event. Start small. What is it that you’ve been avoiding for years because you’re scared? Do you avoid eating alone in public places because you feel that people will judge you or feel sorry for you? Guess what? They don’t care. And on the off chance that they do care, do it anyway. See, that’s the thing about self-confidence. No matter what anyone else thinks, says, or feels, you do it anyway.

Hold your head high and look people in the eye

Do you walk with your head down all the time? Do you avoid eye contact? These are common gestures of people who lack self-confidence. If you believe that you are good enough, and you have the right to be and live just like everyone else, you can look people straight in the eye as if to say, “I am here.”



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | 3 Ways Leaders Deal with Failure

3 Ways Organizational Leaders Deal with Failure by Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant

Haris Ahmed, Chicago leadership consultant, has always believed that the success or failure of a company, regardless of size or industry, all starts and ends with the person leading the organization. Be it the business owner, the CEO, or the president of the company—whoever holds the wheel is responsible for the future of the company. One of the things that entrepreneurs must learn to master, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago, is how to deal with failure in a way that will keep the organization moving forward. In business, leaders will experience failures in various degrees, and unless they have the determination to overcome these failures no matter what and how long it takes, the organization may never grow or reach its full potential.

For Haris Ahmed, Chicago change expert and CEO of Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc., good leadership isn’t just about putting a good team together, guiding the organization in its day-to-day operations, managing finances, or marketing their brand/s. According to Haris Ahmed of Chicago, these factors are actually the more visible, expected, and predictable aspects of leadership. The more important factor in good leadership is the ability to handle the unpredictable side of running a business, which is failure or rejection.

Here, Haris Ahmed of Chicago shares three ways of dealing with failures or rejection. These are the following:

1. Acknowledge the failure or rejection as soon as it comes

Before you can even begin to address the cause of failure or rejection, you must first acknowledge its existence. Being in denial will not make the failure go away; on the contrary, it could fester and do more damage the longer you refuse to acknowledge it. A good leader must be quick to admit mistakes and has the humility and open-mindedness to seek the help of others.

2. Discover the lessons

Haris Ahmed of Chicago adds that in every failure or rejection, there is a lesson to be learned; and a good leader knows this. They are determined to unearth the lessons, and truly learn these because they know that the only way for them to overcome these obstacles is to discover the areas that they were remiss at.

3. Find a solution

Lastly, Haris Ahmed of Chicago advises that instead of complaining or whining until their faces turn blue, leaders should dive right into the problem to find a solution. A truly exceptional leader, he adds, is someone who does away with blaming others for what happened. They know that whether directly or indirectly, they are accountable for what happened. After all, the last say in every decision lies with them. Nothing ever happens without their approval, and they know this. Further, Haris says, a good leader wastes no time in staying in the “negative zone;” they know that they have better use of their time than wallowing in the negative emotions that failures often bring to the surface.

For more tips and insights on leadership from Haris Ahmed, kindly stay tuned to this page. To learn more about Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc., please visit their corporate website.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | Leadership Confidence

Why Confidence is a Non-negotiable Leadership Trait by Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant

If there’s one trait that leaders must possess above all else, it’s confidence. Without it, you can never reach your full potential; and this goes for both your personal and professional life, says Haris Ahmed, Chicago consultant and CEO of Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc. Confidence dares you to move forward in every situation, and when the outcome isn’t what you expected, confidence compels you to keep pushing. For Haris Ahmed of Chicago, this is one trait that should be inherent in all organizational leaders—it’s non-negotiable.

The dictionary describes ‘confidence’ as the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust. Psychology Today describes it “as a belief in one’s ability to succeed.” Looking at these two definitions, we see confidence in two contexts; one as your belief in your own abilities and capabilities, and the other as your belief in someone’s abilities. It is an inner knowing that you can rely on yourself and others in every situation, big or small, good or bad. Haris Ahmed of Chicago believes that it’s what leadership is all about.

Confidence in leadership

As a business owner and leader of your organization or company, you will need to take a certain amount of risks; it’s part of the job. Your level of confidence in yourself and your team will greatly determine your approach to these risks. For Haris Ahmed of Chicago, your level of confidence will tell you which risks are worth taking for the company, which ones should take the backseat for the time being, and which ones expose you to greater success or failure.

In his capacity as a leadership consultant, Haris Ahmed of Chicago has been asked by various organizations to step in when the company isn’t doing well on the market, and most of the time, the underlying cause is poor team performance, which is often rooted in the failure of organizational leadership. What leaders must understand, says Haris Ahmed of Chicago, is that the organization’s level of confidence is a direct reflection of their own show of confidence, in themselves and their teams. In other words, if you walk your talk, your team will follow suit. And those that prove to be “bad apples” may have to be let go eventually, if they fail to step up to the plate despite numerous attempts to help them.

For the most part, you, as the business owner, must possess the confidence to run and manage your business; directing it to the path of success. You must have the derring-do to take risks and meet obstacles head-on. Your lack of confidence will affect your business in every way, from the way you pitch to investors to the way you motivate your organization.

In his next post, Haris Ahmed of Chicago will share his thoughts and tips on how to build self-confidence, and how to teach your organization to be confident about themselves and others as well. Kindly stay tuned to read his latest updates.



Haris Ahmed of Chicago Firm Pragmatium Consulting Inc. on Workforce Changes

Haris Ahmed, Chicago Consultant on Changes in the Workforce

Haris Ahmed of Chicago management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc. has helped equip businesses with the tools they need to thrive, grow, and face change. Read his blog below about changes in the workforce.

If you follow this site, you’d know by now that change is something that should not be feared. Rather, it should be welcomed and seen as a tool that can bring about progress. In a previous blog, one type of change that the business landscape has been paying more attention to is environmental change. Climate change, or global warming to be more specific, has posed challenges for growth that should be sustainable and eco-friendly at the same time. Another type of change that businesses should prepare for is changes in the workforce.

Workforce Changes

By 2025, it is estimated that millennials would have comprised as much as 75% of the global workforce – this is significant change that no business can shield themselves away from. As more millennials enter the workforce, more of the Baby Boomers will be on their way out. Some of these Boomers, currently, are holding key positions in their respective organizations, having climbed their way up to Senior and C-level roles. From this event alone, businesses can already derive two action plans.

First, which among the pool of employees are being groomed to replace aging executives? For family businesses that employ a few family members, there should at least be an idea on how to go about the line of succession. Second, HR policies must be reviewed and changed accordingly to the trends and demands of the emerging workforce. Among them are work mobility, flexibility, and work life balance. It’s no secret that millennials hop companies frequently in search of the perfect match. While this is often seen in a negative light by older generations, one must not forget about the limitless opportunities that technology has created for these young professionals. In other words, it’s difficult to demand or even expect loyalty from this age group when they see that there are far greater rewards to launching a startup, for instance, than rendering decades of service to one organization.

Put in another way, changes in the workforce may also serve as a roadmap for growth. Using the same example above, employees are the lifeblood of any business. Some claim it’s service, or the product, or one’s sales prowess even, but all these revert to the quality and talent of employees. If it will become harder to retain talent, given the idiosyncrasies of this age group, what kind of changes can be made to address this? Should there be more room for creativity and innovation? How about diversity on the Board? Are incentive systems competitive enough to lure talent?

Certainly, these are all hard questions to answer without research and preparation. But one thing is clear: changes in the workforce are about to shake up the future of employment and businesses would do well to brace themselves for such change.

Stay tuned to this page to read more from Haris Ahmed of Chicago management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | Customer Service Training: New and Refresher Courses

Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant on the Importance of Regular Trainings for Customer Service Staff

Haris Ahmed is the CEO of Chicago-based Pragmatium Consulting, Inc., a management consulting firm that has provided assistance to companies and organizations needing change. He has 20 years of solid experience as an organizational change expert, and 10 years as an executive coach. In a previous post, he talked about technology in customer service, particularly touching on the subject of how some companies are still stuck using the telephone to provide customer service. In this post, he shares his thoughts on customer service training, and why it’s important to have this regularly—at least once a year.

There are many reasons why a company may lose the valued patronage of customers but not one weighs heavier than customer service. With poor customer service, a valued customer who has been a patron for years may suddenly just up and leave without a second thought. In similar fashion, excellent customer service is one of the major reasons why customers choose to stick around, and why they keep coming back. With that said, regularly training your customer service representatives is a huge factor in customer satisfaction.

One must understand that the job of a customer service representative can be mentally and emotionally demanding. More than anything, your customer support team relies heavily on their soft skills (empathy, ability to listen, patience, etc.), and as such, their trainings usually entail practicing these soft skills in simulated scenarios.

Soft skills training will help them further develop, or learn more about, the following:

  • Patience
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Listening skills
  • Communication skills
  • Professionalism in all situations

Training also gives your customer service team proper and accurate information about your products and/or services; another important factor that contributes to customer satisfaction.

Follow-up trainings serve two purposes: refresh their knowledge and skills, and learn about new policies, changes in best practices that will help them adapt to your consumers’ changes in buying behavior and demands, and new products or services that you have introduced, or will introduce.

Just as business landscapes constantly evolve, so too are customer service protocols. And in order to deliver exceptional customer service, your team needs to be trained in order to equip them with the necessary tools and skills to adapt to these changes. Failure to adapt could mean losing customers.

As you can see, every team on your organization plays a vital role in the success of your business. Unfortunately, the customer service department is often neglected. Train your team to adapt to changing environments and you’ll have better chances of maintaining your position in the industry, or finally taking the lead after lagging behind your competitors for so long.

Do you have comments on this post? Please feel free to leave Haris Ahmed of Chicago a message below. Meanwhile, you are encouraged to check out the rest of the website to read more about adapting to change, and why every organization should take action when and if necessary. Kindly stay tuned to this page for more posts on organizational change.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | When Change is Inevitable in the Workplace

Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant on the Inevitability of Change

Haris Ahmed of Chicago-based Pragmatium Consulting, Inc. is an organizational change expert and management consultant. He has provided his professional expertise to countless organizations looking to enhance their performance, productivity, and profitability. In most instances, the leaders of the organization recognize the need for change. The problem is they might not know what needs to be changed, much less where to begin. In this post, he discusses the most common issues associated with organizational change, giving particular focus on the one component that feels the deepest effects of change: its people.

First of all, an exceptional organizational leader is a good decision-maker. A good leader does not dilly-dally when it comes to change. He either immediately works on the details with the rest of his team when change is inevitable, or he decides that a particular change being adopted by other similar businesses isn’t ideal for his organization at the moment. He also understands that implementing change in the workplace is a time-dependent strategy. He knows that jumping in too quickly without a solid strategic plan, backed by analysis and data, can jeopardize the entire organization and be costly for the business.

One of the main causes for resistance to change is the uncertainty of the future. Oftentimes, this resistance arises from employees who were surprised by an announcement that will have a huge impact on their place in the organization. Are they being replaced? Will some people be laid off? Anger, confusion, and loss of confidence and trust in their leader are the most common sentiments of employees. All of these could have been avoided, or at the very least, the blow lessened, had their organizational leader been open about the inevitable change from the very beginning.

For this, Haris Ahmed and his Chicago team recommend that leaders include their members in the discussion. One cannot expect to announce such a huge decision without inviting anger and frustration if the most affected people were kept in the dark.

Two things can happen here: either the employees will leave or they will stay but will deliver mediocre performance since they were made to feel that their inputs are not valued anyway. Loss of morale in the workplace is the surest and fastest way to encourage underperformance and disloyalty to the company. You can bet that as soon as a better opportunity comes along, employees will leave to go where they will be appreciated.

If change is inevitable in the workplace, then open communication is important. Be open about the change; why you’re adopting it, how it will benefit the employees first and the organization next, and more importantly, how it will affect the employees’ roles in the organization.

Change can be implemented effectively through constant, open communication. Communicate with your employees and give them the chance to embrace this change.

Do you have comments on this post? Please feel free to leave Haris Ahmed of Chicago a message below. Kindly stay tuned to this page for more posts on organizational change.