The Best Leadership Advice Isn't Fancy. But It Will Get You the Greatest ROI.

Leading effectively isn't about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes simple really is better.

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Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor
Leadership Strategist and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant
6 min read
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Isn't there a shortcut to success? 

I'm always looking for that quick fix — that shortcut that will get me to my destination in under a minute, without burnout or falling on the floor from exhaustion. And I'm not alone. As entrepreneurs, we all strive to accomplish our goals while only getting two hours of sleep a night. The hustle is fun for about a week, and then it's just annoying — and it's why the majority of start-up companies fail within their first year. 

Being in business is a huge undertaking. Your whole life changes and becomes consumed with numbers, graphs and board meetings. You go from enjoying your days off at the beach to chugging coffee while balancing spreadsheets. It's not pretty. But, if you have the tools you need to meet goals that will give you the greatest return on your investment, you'll be able to weather the storm. 

If you're tired of running in circles and surviving on endless Keurig pods, check out these four tips that will provide you the highest ROI — keeping you sane and giving your company an edge over your competition. 

1. K.I.S.S (Keep it super smart) 

I know what you were thinking. And I'm sure many of you started to mouth this mnemonic before even reading the definition. But stay with me.

It's not enough to "keep it simple stupid." First of all, no one is stupid. If you've come this far in your business, you're here because you're trying to move forward in smart and profitable ways. 

Remember, working hard pays your rent. Working smart pays off in dividends. So, how do you switch from working hard to working smart? Look at your calendar. If your schedule is only filled with appointments that provide an invoice, you're doing it wrong. Money is important. But if you want to raise your game, you need to stop making connections based upon transactions.

Schedule time in your life for transformation. Pencil in a yoga retreat, a lecture or even a day without an agenda. When you give yourself time to develop, you end up building a company that echoes your leadership. Working smart means learning something new. 

Related: If You Only Take One Piece of Leadership Advice, It Should Be This

2. Be the dumbest person in the room

As leaders, we put ourselves in bubbles. If we're in business, we thrive in the boardroom. If we're in tech, we watch Star Wars together. You get my point. Birds of a feather flock together. And there's a reason behind this mindset. 

People feel most comfortable with mirrors of themselves. We don't like to feel like we're an outsider looking in. However, nothing good ever happens when it's capped — including your experiences. When you take the time to be a student, you gain the capacity to connect with your team, expand your goals and approach your company from varied angles.

Gaining the greatest return on your investment starts with having the confidence to be the dumbest person in the room. 

So, the next time you get invited to something outside your comfort zone, say a resounding yes. If anything, you'll have a fun story to share when you step back into your bubble. 

Related: 10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader

3. Choose integrity always

Business failure is always an option. It helps you grow and learn from your mistakes. But, there's a huge difference between failure within a company and in one's character. 

I'm not saying that you can never make a blunder. That would be impossible. However, if you want your company to reach the next level, you need to understand that you are the brand. This means that your cutting retorts on social media or your old college beer pong photos never disappear. 

Now, this doesn't mean that you have to take an oath of silence or sobriety. You don't have to join a monastery. But you have to weigh choices that impact you and your brand and take responsibility for how you want you and your company to be perceived. 

Related: 3 Reasons Google Keeps Getting It Right and How You Can Stop Getting It Wrong

4. Believe in yourself 

No, this is not an intro to a Disney flick. But it is the foundation that you need if you want to succeed.

You can have the best family, friends and colleagues, but when it's 12 a.m. and you have a deadline, it's up to you to develop your business and take it to the next level. Every one of your supporters is still on the sidelines. It's not their risk nor their reward. If you want to get the best ROI, then you need to live with the repercussions.

Your critics will hate you. You'll get mail in your inbox that will make you doubt your judgment, your business and your very personhood. But consider that a compliment. After all, you did something. You started at Point A and dared to move to Point B.

Being an entrepreneur isn't easy. But it's ten times harder if you listen to your critics. Not everyone will like your ideas, support your product or write a winning review of your leadership. That's life. But that reality doesn't have to shape your ROI. 

Haters will always hate. However, if you learn to listen to your own intuition and operate from a place of self-belief, you'll be able to make decisions that move your business forward — despite the antagonist crowd. 

Now you've learned how to gain the greatest return on your investment. It's nothing fancy. If anything, it's rather simple. But it takes time and intention to get to where you want to go. Are you ready for the journey?

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