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3 ways leaders can be faster, smarter and more adaptive to accelerate their impact

Jenelle Cobb
Jenelle Cobb, CEO of the Food + Health Collective, explores three ways leaders can breathe, think and do like an exponential leader.

When it comes to decision-making, by the time you’ve gathered enough information to make a call, the opportunity has long passed. This is a common challenge for leaders today immersed in running businesses who desire to take their companies to the next level. How can you achieve exponential growth and keep the lights on at the same time? By taking a page from a yogi, a golfer and Curious George.

Here are three simple modes for managing ourselves and our teams so that we can grow exponentially every day:

1. Breathe.

It’s not slowing down, don't worry. It’s not mediation either. If you define these strategies as slowing down, you're never going to do them. Nobody wants to slow down, and it's really about speeding up. 

As a leader it is absolutely essential that you connect to your breath to have more impact. Your presence, your state of mind and your energy impact everyone on your team. Try one of these during your day to slow things down and in less than 10 minutes, you’ll increase your effectiveness:

• Place your thumb on your belly button and just breathe into your hand. Try this while on calls or sitting around a table at a meeting. You will become more grounded and present to the discussion, the decisions and the data being presented.

• Show and share your gratitude with your team. Begin a meeting with a gratitude statement, close the weekly update email with a gratitude statement, look someone in the eye and tell her or him why you are grateful for them.

• Schedule a walking meeting. In person or on the phone, walking requires you to slow your thoughts to be present to the conversation in front of you.

You don’t have to be into yoga and an expert at pranayama to have an effective presence as a leader, all you have to do is breathe.

2. Think.

Think like a golfer. Great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club: with a calculated analysis of the matter at hand, the end goal and the best tool for the job. 

Here are a few new leadership styles you can add to your golf bag:

• Have an upcoming meeting with your investors? Adopt an ambidextrous style: combine venture capital investor-type thinking with operator-type thinking. Stepping back and analyzing opportunities from your investor’s perspective can help you make better decisions. Likewise, thinking like an investor will allow you to leverage their resources more effectively.

• Find peace in the grey zone. An emergent leadership style allows you to live in the "in-between" and adapt. Instead of minutely detailed plans, you have road maps that you improvise along the way, you reward transparency and you coach rather than command.

• Focus on the people. A servant leadership style focuses on well-being and the growth of people in your company. A people-centric strategy will lead to your next big business breakthrough.  

Accelerating as a leader means you are perceptive, adaptable and meeting people where they are. Applying the right leadership style at the right time leads to the greatest opportunity for impact.

3.  Do.

The most important thing that you can be doing as a CEO to stay ahead, accelerate growth and create impact is simple: be YOU.  It's the only unique differentiator you have in today's market.

• In your culture, be unapologetic about living by YOUR company's core values.

• Become incredibly curious. Experiment and build the muscle of embracing failure. Keep your sense of curiosity as an entrepreneur and problem-solver at the forefront.

• Build an empowering environment. As the CEO, you should not be the most capable person in the room. Instead, you should be asking better questions.

• Remove people with toxic behavior, negative attitudes and misaligned values with urgency.

You don’t have to be good at yoga or golf or read the Curious George series to be a great leader, although it may help. But by focusing each day on breathing, thinking and doing, you can easily become smarter and more adaptive to accelerate your impact.

Jenelle Cobb is the founder of the Food + Health Collective, a leadership institute for the natural food & health industry. 

Headed to Natural Products Expo East 2017? Upgrade your badge to include the Natural Products Business School to experience her exponential leadership workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

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