Alisa Cohn Discusses Growing Your Leadership To Grow Your Business

Alisa Cohn, the number one startup coach in the world, shares why the entrepreneurial growth mindset is the foundation for business success.

Alisa Cohn, the number one startup coach in the world, shares why the entrepreneurial growth mindset is the foundation for business success. Learn how to think about your business holistically, how to create a flywheel of great habits that makes doing the hard things easy, and why the ability to change your state when you need to is an incredible superpower in your quest for business development success.

Mo asks Alisa Cohn: Why is it important to think about running a business holistically?

  • Everybody has to think of themselves as their own CEO. Think with the entrepreneurial mindset on how you are going to manage yourself, so that you can manage others and the business around you.
  • The trouble is that people miss the entrepreneurial mindset and instead focus on the delivery aspect of the work. You need to be building business today, tomorrow, and well into the future. You need to do the activities that will eventually take yourself out of the business so that you can work on the business.
  • When you are managing yourself, the most important thing is your mindset. You must carve out time to focus on things that build your business and not just the day-to-day grind. Structure your calendar so that it has those activities built in.
  • A powerful activity you can do is to journal on what your future self and business look like. Project out what you want your future to look like, and then think about what has to happen in the intervening years to make that a reality. Those are the activities that need to be done today and everyday from now on.
  • Distractions will always be ready to derail you. Practice not being distracted during the time you schedule for your most important things. Don’t check your email, put your phone on silent and focus.
  • You should look back at your week and see what you accomplished. You develop a flywheel of great habits by merchandising your success.
  • Make celebrating your success a weekly ritual in whatever way makes you feel good. This can be done solo or in a group. Celebrating the things that move your business forward is extremely powerful.

Mo asks Alisa Cohn: What’s your best advice for creating and closing more of the meaty business we all want?

  • Alisa’s top tip is to think about your process of how you build relationships that eventually turn into business. Chances are you are great at one area of your process and other areas need work.
  • Think about five different ways you can experiment and try something new for the piece of your process where you feel stuck.
  • The first step is to identify the weak link by creating an environment of psychological safety. People are not going to share their weaknesses or mistakes unless they feel safe to do so. Once you know what to work on, it’s about trying new things and learning from the process. The more you try, the more tools and repertoire you have and knowledge about what does and doesn’t work.
  • Many professionals work in an organization where it’s very difficult to admit fault. You can help create the right environment through a number of ways. This includes open body language and leaders disclosing their vulnerabilities first. The leader should model the openness and warmth that they want to see from their team.
  • Share stories of failure and what you learned. By doing so you are showing that a skill like business development is a skill that can be learned.
  • Leadership is an unnatural act. All of us have to learn how to do things, which at times feel counterintuitive to us, to be successful in the professional world.
  • Ask questions that generate an honest conversation. For clients, ask for suggestions about what you can do better or mention an area where you’ve heard from others that you’re weak in and ask them for help on how you can improve. Asking good questions is a skill that permeates every aspect of being a high-end professional and senior leader.

Mo asks Alisa Cohn: What’s your best advice around how we can deepen relationships with clients and our internal team?

  • First of all, recognize that what you want to and need to do is deepen relationships. It starts with the mindset. We don’t make anything important until we make it important.
  • Build relationships with the people you work with one by one. Start with listening to how they approach the world and tailor your style to that.
  • People prefer real talk, not stilted conversation. Good questions can be the spark you need to ignite deeper conversations.
  • When you stay present in a conversation and listen deeply, they can feel the energy and you become more attractive to them. Follow up questions are very effective at taking a relationship to a deeper level.
  • A great place to start is to ask “What are you most excited about today?” People love to talk about that kind of thing and almost no one ever asks it. For Alisa, she’s most excited about the imminent publishing of her new book, From Start-up to Grown-up.

Mo asks Alisa Cohn: How can we hack our habits to keep focusing on the growth activities when the world is trying to pull us away?

  • Recognize that your job is to put the first things first. You have to separate out what is critically important and what is just the “urgent of the now”. Schedule time for yourself every day of every week to distinguish what the important things are and then put them on the calendar.
  • If it’s not on your calendar, it’s not going to happen. Successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t feel like doing. Do whatever you need to do to create the right environment and get you motivated to do the things that will set up your long term success.
  • Your calendar shows your priorities more than your to-do list does.
  • Alisa encourages her clients to get up and get physical to change their state to start off with. Use podcasts or audiobooks to put the words in your ears that motivate. Music or coffee may be what you need to start the engine, you just need to find the way that works for you.
  • Catalyzing a state change is your superpower.
  • If you need something a little bit bigger, you might need to take a bigger break. Taking a digital sabbatical once a week is a great way to reset.
  • If you’re feeling burned out, it may be from the critical voices in your head. Demonstrate self-compassion and surround yourself with people that make you feel great because that is one of the best cures for burnout.
  • Find your purpose and then collect the things that keep you connected to your purpose.

Mo shares his insights from the habits of Alisa Cohn.

  • One of the most important things you can do is have an entrepreneurial growth mindset.
  • Stay on track with your energy. If you feel out of balance or like your energy is being drained, do what you need to do to refuel and motivate yourself. Get up and exercise, read a book, listen to music, take a coffee break.
  • Whenever Mo gets a complimentary message from a listener or client, he puts the message into an inspiration folder so that when he’s feeling low he can go back and remind himself why he does what he does.
  • Leading others is based on the relationship you have from them. You develop that relationship by asking good questions and connecting with them at a personal level.
  • Document what the people you know care about and what they are trying to achieve. This will remind you of their purpose and how you can support them in their goals.
  • Creating an environment of psychological safety within your business is an important way to lead the business forward because that is how progress happens. Psychological safety drives growth, because if people can’t share what they are worried about, the problems will never be solved.

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