Thoughts For A Leader

Smart Thinking … A Different Perspective

By Leslie R. Wolff

A Marketing Curmudgeon


Thoughts for a Leader

“Leadership is action, not position – Donald H. McGannon


“I praise loudly; I blame softly.”Catherine II

A true leader knows that in order to move forward all the members of their team needs to feel they count, that their effort is not only recognized, but also appreciated. Research has shown praise given sincerely is far more successful motivator of people than cash or material rewards. A combination of both can be a ‘home run.”

“We all are imbued with the love of praise.” – Cicero


“An optimist sees opportunity in every calamity, a pessimist sees calamity in every opportunity.”  – Winston Churchill

A leader has to have a positive outlook focusing on what can be achieved rather than focusing on why something can’t be accomplished. It is up to that leader to instill that same spirit in those he or she leads. When one expresses a negative or pessimistic approach to things ask this question – “Name one benefit you gain from a pessimistic viewpoint?” There are none. You will only get inaction, indecision and guaranteed failure. Although optimism must also be tempered with reasoning, it will always lead to great achievements and more fulfilling life.

“A man’s greatest enemies are his own apathy and stubbornness. – Frank Tyger


None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Phil Condit

 Some so-called leaders have a “kill the messenger” attitude to anyone who might bring them bad news or make them aware of a problem on the horizon or already beginning to affect the business. Such a leader is stupid, as a smart leader will set up a 2- way communication conduit that invites others to give you input and feedback, it not only builds teamwork, it makes you act as well as look smarter than you probably are. Such a system combined with a “reward not retribution” outlook will provide a much smother road to success … for everyone.

 “It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak and one to hear.” – Henry David Thoreau

 Goal Setting

“In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high”            – Henry David Thoreau (Walden)

 Setting goals is not an easy task, but is best accomplished by having the right attitude, input from your team, customers, vendors and even your competition, which you can often get by having established good relationships with member of the trade press and associations. Goals should require you and your team to have to stretch your talents and thinking to see what the possibilities might be if you are willing to think “outside the box.” I offer Wolff’s Rule of Business Opportunity for your reflection. It is that “every business, in every industry tends to operate the same as everyone else in their field, until someone takes a magnifying glass and closely examines the common denominators and sameness factors and they will always find an untapped or overlooked opportunity.”

 “Before you can score, you must have a goal.” – Anonymous

 Customer’s Focus

“In order to get people to sit-up and take notice of you, you have to sit-up and take notice of what makes people sit-up and take notice” –Frank Roemer

 What is the customer or prospect most interested in? Themselves! Understanding this is the basis of the WIIFM Factor, which impacts heavily on purchasing decisions. It stands for the question – “What’s in it for me?” A simple question, but how it is answered can dramatically affect the bottom line. Too often it’s ignored or overlooked in a corporate environment that focuses on features of their products or services rather than the benefits. Viewing your business from the customer’s perspective will always give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.

 “If you give something worth paying for, they’ll pay.” – Thomas J. Peters


It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out-of-date”          — Roger von Oech

 In trying to rise above your competition and outthink them rather than outspend them it is best to remember most are mimic marketers who duplicate, replicate and imitate rather then originate in their marketing efforts. Sometimes the “original” idea is based on common sense, which is increasingly uncommon. If you follow some of the ideas expressed above you will be far better positioned to be “Different” in ways that will impact your profits … positively.

 “The rewards in business go to the man who does something with an idea.” – William Benton


Playing it safe is the riskiest choice we can ever make.”- Sarah Ban Breathnach

There has always been a correlation between the size of the risk one takes and the size of the reward they gain if they’ve done their homework. I asked in a group I belong to on – “Why is it so many executives can’t think outside the box/” The most succinct answer was “Fear.” So the truth is that anyone can think innovatively, but few choose to do so because they are not risk takers, they prefer to play it safe, which is why they lose out in the long run.

 Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps

– David Lloyd George


“Keep in mind that neither success nor failure is final .”- Roger Babson

“The time you need to do something is when no one else is willing to do it, when people are saying it can’t be done.” – Mary Frances Berry

 The quality of the results a true leader delivers is based on how well they motivate their team; The attitude they possess and the one they create within the corporate environment; How well they communicate internally as well as externally; How challenging as well as realistic are the goals they set; Their understanding of the customers needs and wants; The innovativeness he encourages from all within the entity; How they manage risk and if they do it all well the results will be amazing.

 “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more

common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius

is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge


Leslie R. Wolff, CEO of the Smart Marketing Group, is an experienced marketing strategist, creative tactician and executive coach. Les not only helps clients work smarter, he is a stimulating speaker with a highly interactive dialogue format with his audience. Plus listen participate in his LinkedIn group –“Smart Marketing for Small Business”,  Les can be reached at 215-334-3432 or e-mail him at

His E-Book” Smart Thinking- Vol.-I” is available @









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