In business, is it better to be an extrovert or introvert?

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Both are essential to running a successful business.

By Beate Chelette

Lots of talk these days about introverts and extroverts, generated by the bestselling book Quiet: The Power of the Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Herself an introvert, author Susan Cain writes that introverts are “too often denigrated and frequently overlooked in a society that’s held in thrall to an extrovert Ideal–the belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight.”

The truth is, it’s not an either-or situation. Every person has many different faces, and it is all too easy to forget that. I come across business owners all the time who wish they could create an army of Mini-Mes, a team of people who are all just like them. Yet the real power comes from having people on your team who are different because they can do jobs that you might not have an innate preference for.

Let’s dive into this deeper. Recently I became a Certified Practitioner of the MBTI Step I and Step II Instruments. MBTI is also known as Meyers Briggs psychological type theory. I asked my team to fill out the standard 93 questionnaire designed to measure innate type preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. I reassured my team it isn’t a test—it isn’t—and that there were no right or wrong answers. It’s simply an effective tool to help people build relationships—and teams– and to understand why differences arise at home and in the workplace. Most importantly though, with an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, team building becomes so much easier and effective.

We all have two different but complimentary sides of our nature, but with a preference for the outer world of activities, people, and being in the spotlight or the inner world of thoughts, interests, ideas, and imagination.

No surprises here, I’m an extrovert. I get energy from being out and about meeting people and I love speaking to large groups of people! As a professional career coach and founder of The Women’s Code, my extroversion helps me in spreading my message. And true to my type, I like following a systematic, logical process. With my innate preference to build these logical step-by-step systems, I have helped many women become very successful.

But back to introversion versus extroversion. Of course, I also see the great value that introverts have in business and in life. Where would be without these famous introverts? Vincent Van Gogh, Frederic Chopin, Mahatma Gandhi, Al Gore, Eleanor Roosevelt, J. K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg, and Steve Wozniak. Introversion simply means that they tend to have a preference to be energized from within, and in private.

Knowing more about how you—and others tick—can help to:

  • Avoid and resolve conflicts
  • Play to an individual’s strengths
  • Identify gaps in the team
  • Aid career development
  • Work together more effectively
  • Relate to each other with greater understanding
  • Encourage team members to understand and appreciate different strengths

The MBTI results confirmed what I have always believed—every “type” has their place. One of my writers, Mary, for example, is doing the exact job she is best suited for given that she measured as an introvert with other traits of being curious, quick to see possibilities and intuitive. She likes to think about things before she goes into action. And she is “perceiving,” meaning she considers how something will impact other people. True to her type, she asked me right afterward if this assessment would allow people to still be individuals. (And the answer is, of course, yes.)

My executive photo assistant on the other hand is an extrovert. Michael is spontaneous, imaginative and loves to talk. He makes connections between things quickly and like me, he needs to understand how things work, which is why I sent him, not Mary, to a training class to learn a complicated computer software program. The thing is, I need them both in order to carry out different facets of my business.

Awareness of our differences, and the acceptance of them, is the first pillar of The Women’s Code, the foundation of which is: every woman must have the tools to find her own unique voice so that she can speak clearly and be heard. Support and collaboration comes next. (Remember, sisterhood—what happened to it?) Once we realize that all of us have a place, then we must support each other the way we are—flaws and all–to become the best version of ourselves, the best team, possible. That alone leads to meaningful collaboration.

During a recent girls night out, the introvert in the group, Mary, jumped up and declared that she loved to dance and spun around in my friend’s house. Her infectious and quiet enthusiasm got us all up and dancing. Who would have thought that our reflective introvert was kicking this party in high gear! It showed that our goal must be to embrace and celebrate our differences, so that we can find more meaningful touch points that build our energy and form a stronger whole. Just like a puzzle. Each piece, while unique, forms an integrated image.

 

Marketing Doesn’t Work

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It’s not true, of course. But to attract new clients and customers, you need more than a catchy headline.

By Beate Chelette

Admit it, this headline got your attention. It uses a well-known marketing trick–a catchy, provocative headline. The majority of readers will never open your emails if they don’t contain some kind of hook. That’s just a given these days with the TMI (too much information) overload most of us experience. A recent study by Harris Interactive showed that while interesting visuals are also strong lures, catchy headlines were “the top influencer on Americans likelihood to read an online or print article,” researchers found.

Ok, point made, but there’s much more to successful marketing—and a successful career–and it has to do with changing your business and your style as your industry changes. Let me give you an example so you can understand how in the photography business (where I started and made my money), it changed and I moved right along with it.

I went from being an artist, to a businesswoman, to a successful career coach. Along the way, I wore many hats, all chosen because of realizations I had at various times.

First realization

Most artists don’t make money. Sad but true. Only a few become successful and the rest try to glorify the bohemian lifestyle. It didn’t take long to figure out that being broke is overrated. You can’t really do much or move forward if you can’t afford doing things that cost money. For better or worse, remaining stagnant and continuous struggling is not for me and I doubt that state works for anyone.

Second realization

Business people make money. They begin at so-called entry-level positions and with enough time and effort invested, they move up the ladder. That means they make more money, become better connected and essentially more successful. I was motivated to combine both, because I love both, the artistry and the business side. And I had to get good at both in order to reap the success I now have.

Third realization

The way business is done is constantly changing. In two decades we went from faxing, which was considered revolutionary in the mid-90s, to scanning, texting and tweeting. Ever wonder what’s next? Admittedly, I’m an information and tech gadget junkie. I love invention, technology and finding new ways of doing things. I don’t like rules—they are there to be bent or broken as far as I’m concerned.

To me it’s clear that if you follow where the money is being made, there is a good chance you will find ideas that are worth exploring. This is how innovators do it. A good example is Apple. They anticipated a need we didn’t even know we had, but as soon as we saw anything Apple we wanted it. It has become their edge to create user-friendly devices that we can’t live without. Who knew that we had to have personal computers until Apple told us that we did? Similarly, we didn’t know we needed an iPod or an iPad until the lines around the block told us not to wait.

Progress is like being Captain Kirk; you have to be willing to go where others haven’t gone before. That’s an essential trait for entrepreneurs—be willing to be bold and take risks. Even if it means you fail or get stuck, as I did on a recent hike when I strayed from the path and got stuck in thick underbrush that left scratches all over my body. Even though I got pretty beat up, it was still an adventure that was worth having, not to mention the stories I get to tell.

When I became successful as an entrepreneur, and sold my photography image licensing company to Bill Gates in 2006 for millions, people wanted to know how I did it. How was I able to start a business from scratch, work really hard at it, and then make a fortune? What were my secrets for success people asked? Here are two of them.

Work is not work to me. I hope that you can say the same. If you are interested in what is going on in your industry and in the world in general, if you stay open, you will see the many creative, fulfilling opportunities that are visible only to those open to change. As for me, I love combining my passion for helping people make money and advance their careers, with my love of business. When my clients become successful, I feel successful, so it’s a win-win all the way around. What does this scenario look like for you?

Don’t wait too long

As a career consultant for many years now, I urge you to ask yourself where your business is heading right now? Are you following where the next ideas and trends are going? Are you adapting to the changes in your industry or are you still waiting for things to go back to “normal?” Where do you fit on the Rogers’ bell curve, demonstrating the Diffusion of Innovation? (I am definitely an early adopter.)

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Your realization

Maybe it’s time to jump start your business with a new marketing plan. Learn everything you can about how your industry is changing. Go to conferences, sharpen your skills, meet new people, and dive into understanding how this new world ticks. Be bold and courageous. Do that and you are in excellent shape!

How To Put Your Business On Steroids

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Ten essentials for running a successful business.

By Beate Chelette

The question came up recently during a private coaching session with a client. What’s the right way to set up a business, she asked. And what will make it the most efficient? I happen to love questions like this because business is in my blood and helping people become successful is my passion and profession. My answers to my client—and to you–are based on my own personal and professional experiences in setting up companies, and what has worked for me.

Building a business is like building a house. Many steps are involved and it’s time consuming and costly. First, you have to have the right location, and then you design what your house should look like. It has to be functional but also have the right feel and vibe that represents your personality.

Second, decide on the type of materials and furnishings you want. Do you need (and can you afford) the best of the best or are medium-range things fine for you? Or are you going for cheap? Third, and most important, you have to build your house on a solid foundation, because even the most charming and best-designed home can crack or collapse with a shaky foundation.

Ten Essentials For Success

  1. Get a size too big. When creating your business, it’s crucial that you get everything a size too big, otherwise you have no room to grow. If you get a studio or office space, or a computer, camera, or any business system, only invest in things that have a greater capacity than what you need at the moment. It is smarter and cheaper to grow into something versus outgrowing your system within a year or two and then having to redo the entire thing again.
  1. A good accounting system. I recommend MYOB or QuickBooks Pro. Anything more simplified, forget it. Have a professional set up the shell of your line items, vendors, billing, banking, etc. Under no circumstances should anyone without accounting training set up your books. Violate this tip at your own peril!
  1. A good bookkeeper. I am good at numbers but it is not a good use of my time. Find someone who is licensed or trained on the accounting system you are using.
  1. Good technology. Don’t skimp on good equipment. Each item you need to get your job done right is an investment as well as an asset, so treat them as such.
  1. A good industry lawyer. Someone who has been in your industry for years and will give you standard agreements written long before you entered the game.
  1. A brilliant IT/tech person. You should not design your own website. It will show! Leave that to the pros.
  1. A reliable assistant, virtual or otherwise, to help you with day-to-day tasks.
  1. A good graphic designer who can do everything: web layouts, power points, visuals, logos, newsletter designs.
  1. A good writer. I have a proofreader and two writers for The Women’s Code because I know presenting a professional image is essential if you want to be taken seriously in business.
  1. A consultant, coach or business adviser. You need an independent eye to review your business plan and ask the tough questions. Hire people who are better than you in certain areas so you get another perspective. And here are two other secrets to success you don’t want to overlook.

I admit it; it’s a Catch 22. You can’t afford all of this until you make money and yet you can’t make money unless or until you have most of this in place. The key is to enlist the help of good support people at a decent rate. Your time is best spent on finding clients, schmoozing, and producing the best product or service you can.

Beate Chelette is a respected speaker, career coach and successful entrepreneur. After selling one of her companies to Bill Gates in 2006 for millions of dollars, and with a mission to create a global community of women supporting each other, Beate created The Women’s Code, a unique program that offers a new code of conduct for achieving success in today’s business, private and digital world.

When Is It Time To End Certain Relationships?

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Tips on closing the door and opening others

 

By Beate Chelette

 

Most people we get to know in our business and personal lives aren’t meant to travel

the whole road with us. We forget that sometimes, especially when there’s been a good

connection, yet endings and new beginnings are the natural flow of life.

 

Every year I ask myself: What does my business and personal life look like? Where am

I stuck? What worked and what didn’t and who do I want in my life and who doesn’t

fit anymore? For me, I realized I wasn’t getting the support and results I needed and

expected from my assistant and the marketing consultants I’d worked with for the past

two years.

 

Admittedly, sadness comes along with the process of actually pruning some people

from our lives. In business, a big one is losing trust in a team member you can no

longer rely on to do what they say they’re going to do. As the CEO of a busy business

consulting firm, I want to feel confident that my team, all of them smart, likeable people,

is following through on projects without my having to remind them.

 

How about the friend who competes with you and is jealous of your successes? I’ve

known women like that and as soon as my photo image licensing company took off, and

I sold it to Bill Gates in 2006 for millions, I felt a chilly resentment from a couple of

them. I stayed in these friendships way too long because of old ties, but it became clear

that they were no longer on my side and I finally moved on, an emotional but liberating

decision.

 

If you have a nagging suspicion that something is not right or needs to be changed, your

instincts are probably correct. Maybe it’s time to make a few tweaks here and there, and

challenge the world to keep up with you!

 

Here are a few ideas and techniques to help you close the doors on what is not working so

you can let in things you want that are actually good for you.

 

Why we overstay some situations

 

The certainty we have seems to give us more comfort than putting ourselves out there and

facing the uncertainty of what is still to come.

 

We fall into the trap of scarcity. What if there is not enough for me out there? What if

there is not enough business to sustain us all? What if there isn’t a better assistant, a

better marketing consultant, and every naysayer who predicted you wouldn’t be able

to succeed, is right? Our thoughts have such a powerful impact on our lives and it’s

essential that we stress the positive. Here’s why.

 

Is your fear that there isn’t enough of anything—prosperity, money, love—any different

than you believing it to be the other way around? Why wouldn’t there be enough to go

around? Why wouldn’t there be someone or something even better?

 

Dreams and wishes

 

Be honest with yourself. When your mind wanders, what do you dream about? Is it

about the life you currently have or do you see yourself in a second, much better life?

I certainly daydreamed about having a different life and this time, I did something about

it. I hired new assistant, new consultants, and even started therapy to get the support I

needed to create healthier business and personal relationships.

 

There’s no rule on how much you should get or have, how much you will be loved. Your

contribution matters—it is you who determines what is or isn’t enough for you. You are

worthy of greatness. And you are the one who defines what that is. Do we have a deal?

How To Disconnect From Negativity

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Set a time limit for when you will put a stop to negative thoughts and allow yourself to flourish again.

By Beate Chelette

You will find that I like acronyms and tools. It’s easier to remember something if we can build a bridge in our minds. We are talking about K.A.R.L. which stands for Know, Accept, Relax, Live.

In this article I’d like to take a closer look at an often overlooked yet pleasant side effect of acceptance. As the mother of 19-year-old on the cusp of stepping into womanhood, I witness first hand how the conspiracy theory can throw some unexpected wrenches in your path.

Energetically the process is simple. What you put out you will get back. If you expect bumps there will be plenty. If you expect difficulties and rejection your path will be full of it. The universe is here to agree with you. To ACCEPT what you are putting out. If you, like my daughter, struggle perhaps a little too much with what life throws at you here are three ideas to help you disconnect from negativity. Let’s face it. Tough situations come along in life and a dark cloud sometimes descends over us. It happens to the best of us and at times life just isn’t fair. But while we can’t change what has already happened we can choose how we react.

Truly accepting a situation in your life, be it personal or professional, will keep your emotions in check. At first it’s okay to get upset over something, and it’s okay now and then to have days when you throw yourself a pity party.

Idea 1

When you fall into your personal black hole, allow your thoughts to exist, acknowledge them, thank them, don’t fight them – and know they will pass. Offer no resistance; let your thoughts go right through you and realize that tomorrow will be better. Don’t spend so much time attaching emotions to your issues. Tomorrow you may be able to see that “this too, shall pass.” — Jewish proverb

A core principle of The Women’s Code is acceptance and knowing how to counteract self-destructive behavior so you will attract a different type of energy. If you’re beating yourself up over the perceived negatives in your life, make a real and conscious effort to remind yourself of the other side of the coin. For example if you say to yourself, “my hips are way too big,” or “I don’t make as much money as she does,” you can refocus that negative thinking by forcing a positive follow-up thought, such as “my hair is awesome” and “my work product is great, the money will follow.”

Think of a time in your life, in the past or recently, when you urged yourself to “get over it,” or told yourself that the situation was only temporary. Have you had such moments? How did you overcome them? Here’s what Oprah says about unhooking from negativity. http://goo.gl/aAgZz

Idea 2

Time limit on negativity

It’s helpful to set a time limit for when you will put a stop to negative thoughts and allow yourself to feel better again. I’ve noticed that I pick fights and get grumpy and whiny when I get PMS. I’ve learned to accept that this is a reoccurring phenomenon and so I make an effort to remind myself that my body image will be better in a few days. Remember that what happens in your life is part of a phase or rhythm, and leave it at that. If a specific issue is driving you crazy, how about setting a time limit to stop fussing about it by, say, tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.? Then, let it go.

Setting time limits for your negative thoughts might be hard for you. It’s entirely possible that you can’t believe that your situation will improve within the time frame you’ve set. One reason might be that you know you’re not being realistic with your time frame. You’ll know instinctively what is realistic and what is unachievable.

Once you give yourself the time you need to succeed in achieving your own set of benchmarks, you’ll find that making it happen feels pretty good. If you’re still having trouble, then you’ll need to double up on your efforts to accept the things that are fabulous about you, things that people around you compliment you on.

Is this all there is? No, of course not.

Idea 3

Still having a hard time overcoming those negative thoughts? You can do what I did and refuse to think that this is all there is. This works exceptionally well for stubborn people such as myself. Thoughts such as, “is that all there is?” and “there has to be something better” are pretty powerful as well. Eventually the universe will agree with you and give you something better.

While it might sound trite, this works: try to focus on the positive aspects of your life—the glass is half full idea–and think about healing and improvement. Make a conscious effort not to dwell on negative thoughts whenever you catch yourself thinking one. This is how you get unstuck and move forward in your life.