Feedback and learning from others are key, and meeting with people in person is the ideal way to do this.
Hernani Alves is an entrepreneur, author, international speaker, and executive consultant with over twenty years of business experience as a Sales Executive for a $3 Billion Company. He’s the founder of Balanced IQ, a company that helps leaders build world-class teams focused on getting sustainable results in varying economic climates. His consulting work includes companies such as Starbucks, RE/Max Gold, GBB Wealth Management, Stanford University – Counselors, and other.
Hernani is donating a portion of his book and speaking proceeds through the Ticket To Dream foundation, to help foster kids get the support they need to thrive and create hope for a better tomorrow.
Where did the idea for Balanced IQ come from?
Balanced IQ Leadership is focused on a business’s number one asset: their employees. I help business managers transform into the leaders they want to become so they can create the lives they desire.
This came from my own need for balance at home. I had a successful career starting off as a part-time sales associate to eventually becoming a Sales Executive for a $3 Billion public company. I spent 128 nights away on business trips during my final year with the company, meanwhile, my daughter was only two years away from graduating high school. I needed to pivot and get balanced with more family time.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start every morning practicing gratitude by using the 5 Minute Journal app. It’s such a valuable exercise to stay humbled and remind myself why I do what I do. I follow my reflections with a 3-4 mile run to clear my mind. These two practices help me prioritize the things that I need to get done that day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Feedback and learning from others are key, and meeting with people in person is the ideal way to do this. Hearing my questions answered in real time allows for productive brainstorming, and keeps things moving and positive while we shoot holes in our ideas. That is the best way to develop solutions to keep plans bulletproof. From there, I try to surround myself with great people – preferably ones who are better equipped than I – and give them ownership to help me conquer my ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Artificial intelligence. So many people are creeped out that AI can know so much about us, but I really embrace this. For example, Alexa knows my needs and what I like. I use her for reminders, grocery lists, music, timers, weather updates, make sure the front door is locked, etc.. This technology helps me tremendously in my day-to-day.
On the same token, I’m looking forward to self-driving cars. We’ve all become so distracted and busy (for example: we’re always on our phones) that someone else needs to be driving our cars.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Trusting others. I learned early on from of my mentor, Dale Carlsen, “If you want to be successful, surround yourself with great people, treat them well and make everyone successful.” In return, they will help you conquer challenges and maximize opportunities as they present themselves. I love working with a team!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t micromanage or try to do everything yourself. I did a lot of that in the beginning because I didn’t want any mistakes. I learned that you have to delegate and give people the flexibility to make tasks their own.
Tell employees that you trust them and to let you know if they need any help. By giving ownership to others, you’ll always get a better long-term product. Additionally, don’t ever tell someone you work with that you’re too busy to help them. That’s not good for anyone – yourself included.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That people can’t make you feel the way that you do – it’s YOU that makes you feel that way. For example: there are three people in a room containing a closed box. They open the box and find a hissing snake. One person runs out of the room, and another gets startled and then screams. The last person looks at the snake and determines that it’s safe to handle and takes it outside. The snake wasn’t responsible for how each individual reacted. They behaved differently based on their histories. We control our actions, and sometimes that means we just have to snap out of it and learn more about snakes.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Simple: take action. So many entrepreneurs have great ideas, but they talk themselves out of it. The only way you’re going to get what you want is by going for it. If you’re waiting for someone else or luck, you’ll never get what you want.
For example, I was told over and over for nearly a decade to write a book about Accountability in the workplace. It wasn’t until I shared this crazy idea with my ten-year-old son, Riley. His response was, “Dad, you always tell me to take action. It’s your turn to take action!” Riley was right; I took action by surrounding myself with the right people and wrote the book; Balanced Accountability – Three Leadership Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Advertising is an investment, not an expense. I learned early on in my career that most people have no idea about your business. Entrepreneurs can get caught up in their own bubble and assume that others know, but reality check: they don’t.
It makes you wonder why entrepreneurs who fail will eventually resort to advertising their businesses for sale. Don’t ever cut advertising. Hire a professional if you’re not sure how to advertise, and stick with it as a long-term play.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early on in my career, my team was setting sales records, winning awards, and getting large bonus checks. However, I was told that no one enjoyed working with me; that I was a micromanager. This awarded me the worst nickname you can ever get as a leader (which I reveal in my book).
I overcame that horrible name by taking action and catching others doing things right. And most importantly, I stopped micromanaging. I eventually earned the Best Leader award from my team—my most cherished accolade. It’s the story of how I stopped managing and started leading, using balanced accountability to improve every aspect of my team.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s time to get rid of the computer keyboards. We need to perfect the technology to the point of talking to our computers. The benefits of this would be countless, especially when you consider how computing technology is somewhat reserved for those with certain physical abilities.
Offering more tech options to a population of people with disabilities would be incredible, and we’re getting closer to this becoming a reality. Just look at Siri and Alexa.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I had an employee that was having challenges with his spouse. I’ve learned that to fix most challenges, you just need to get people to talk it out, so I offered to pay for them to have a date night. They went out to a nice dinner and a movie – something they hadn’t done in years.
The employee was so thankful and mentioned that no one had ever been willing to do something like that for them. This is a perfect example of how to win hearts.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Evernote. I love to write notes during meetings, and Evernote allows me to take a picture of my writings and import them to the app. It’s so intelligent that it actually reads my words. It also makes searching for old notes incredibly easy. I have over four years of notes and can find any one of them within a second. I love Evernote!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni. It teaches this great exercise called “The Personal History” that I do with every new team.
I’ve even done this with groups that have worked together for years, and they always walk away more gung-ho than ever. Once you discover each other’s personal histories, you can start to understand why the people you work with are the way they are.
What is your favorite quote?
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
This quote always reminds me that I’m in full control of my future – I just need to go create it. This enables me to never see problems, only temporary challenges that I can work through.
• Take time every day to give gratitude to all that you have accomplished. Use the 5 Minute Journal app to help you with this.
• Feedback on your work and leadership is a gift. Embrace it.
• Stop the excuses for why you haven’t done something, and take action.
• Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, so embrace it. Find a way that your business can be a part of the future.
• Don’t micromanage. Give ownership to others to help them to complete their work. Let your employees know that you trust them and always be available to offer guidance when asked.
• Extra Credit: Read my book, Balanced Accountability: Three Leadership Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance.