Great leaders exemplify great relationships and bring great results. How can you improve your leadership skills? Joining Elizabeth Bachman today is Ivy Slater, an entrepreneur and professionally certified business coach. A top businesswoman, Ivy is the CEO of Slater Success and the author of the bestselling book, From the Barre to the Boardroom. Ivy talks about the seven traits of great leaders and how to cultivate them. She also talks about the strong pillars that can help bring success to any company.
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Seven Traits Of Great Leaders With Ivy Slater
Ivy Slater, I am happy to have you here.
Elizabeth, thanks for having me. I am always excited to be with you and talk and chat.
We’ve known each other for several years and we met in person. I said, “I need to know this lady.” Thank goodness for Facebook and the internet, we can record this. You’re in one city and I’m in another. You go back and forth between LA and New York.
I travel a lot. I have clients all over. A few years ago, I said, “It’s cold in New York in the winter.” I have a child living in New York and in LA, then said, “I have clients out on the West Coast. Why don’t I work a little bit more from the West Coast while it’s cold?” That’s what I created.
There’s a reason why I am in Europe in spring and fall, not during ski season. I don’t ski. I have my friends over there sending me pictures of snow blowers and I spent two hours blowing snow and I said, “I’m happy not to have to do that.” Before we start, I would like to ask you the question I ask everybody, who would be your dream interview? If you were to interview somebody famous that you wouldn’t normally get to talk to, who would it be? What would you talk about? Who should be in the audience?
In my early life, I was a dancer. I have a degree in Dance and Communication. I was from New York and that’s where I live 95% of the time. I grew up going to the ABT or American Ballet Theatre. My mom worked and she had a friend, who had a friend who worked for ABT. We used to find out when Baryshnikov was dancing and that’s then the series we would get.
For those who don’t know who Baryshnikov is, who’s that?
He is a famous dancer. He came from Russia. Many years ago, he defected from Russia, came to the United States and started dancing here. I believe that originally he’s part of ABT. He pushed the boundaries. He, with a woman named Twyla Tharp, tried to push the boundaries of the traditional ballet. The traditional ballet being the Swan Lake, The Nutcrackers, the Giselles.True success stems from the impact of the powerful relationships we build. - Ivy Slater Click To Tweet
He was brilliant at that anyway.
It’s brilliant to watch him perform. He started pushing the boundaries and incorporating a lot more modern and jazz into the ballet theater. There was modern, jazz and ballet. He took from that and he was at Lincoln Center, which is your traditional ballet, for those of you who are familiar with it. He started performing and incorporating these art forms of dance into traditional ballet. I would welcome to interview him with open arms. Where I’d like to go to is transition. How did he transition to come to the United States in New York? Why New York? How did he transition to start incorporating these other forms of dance into the traditional ballet? That’s innovation at its best. We talk about innovation in business. Innovation in business is creativity in the arts.
The arts is a business as we both know.
When they started, Baryshnikov and Twyla Tharp, she choreographed a dance originally called Push Comes to Shove, that I probably saw numerous times and I can see again at any point. That was one of the earlier pieces that incorporated the other types of dance into ballet. It was innovative and creative and to learn from where was the impetus for that, what caused it because there’s so much there in the learning lessons for business and innovation.
You answered the question I was going to ask you, that is how does that connect to business? You are Slater Success Coaching and you coach businesses, maybe with a little touch of dance in there. You also wrote a book. What is it called?
I wrote From the Barre to the Boardroom: Choreographing Business Success Through Authentic Relationships. In my many years of business, the one thing I have seen is the value of truly authentic relationships. Elizabeth, when we met, it was a connection. It was an interest on both our sides to get to know each other and stay in touch. We lived in different parts of the country, but there was a spark. Several years later, we’re on your show talking business through mutual connections. Then, who do we introduce each other to next? These authentic relationships are through business and our personal lives. They sprinkle through completely and there’s great value in building businesses, building leaderships and opportunities when we stay connected.
Choosing The Right Connections
There are many people out there who want to talk and connect with you. How do you choose the right connections?
You’re getting a giggle because I was on LinkedIn earlier. There are people who are reaching out to me that don’t know me. They have no interest, they’re just looking to build human capital without building a net worth of human capital. Your net worth is your network. When you stumble on a hard time, you’re moving through a transition. When I moved through the transition of opening Slater Success, I had a printing company, Slater Graphics. I was in the industry for many odd years. When I transitioned to start moving into Slater Success, somebody asked me, “Where do those first few clients come from?” I said, “It came from letting everybody know what I was doing.” She’s like, “Who’s everyone?” I said, “I let everybody in the printing world who know what I was doing from my clients to my vendors, to the people who had brought paper through, to my accountants, to my attorneys. I let all my friends know what I was doing. I started talking to my kid’s friends’ parents about what I was doing. When I say everybody, I’m not only looking at business. Every personal people, no business people, are all business people. When we connect on that level, that our net worth is our network.
I saw a statistic that people who have 10,000 followers probably bought them. You look on social media and you say, “10,000 followers on Facebook and LinkedIn.” It’s a bunch of people on Fiverr, who get paid a pittance to come and follow somebody. You get all these followers, but it isn’t relationships.
Somebody will reach out to me and say, “Ivy, I want to connect you to blah, blah, blah.” I’m like, “Thank you. I have an email in my inbox.” Just like that. Somebody was on my show, we had a great talk on Her Success Story, which is my podcast. We had a great interview. We were telling some of the series I have coming up and she goes, “Ivy, I was thinking about what you said and there’s this one person you should meet.”
That’s one of the joys of podcasting is you expand your network and people get an idea of who you are.
That is where the value of strong, deep, true relationships. Can I tell a story?
Of course. We’re both storytellers. We both grew up telling stories, dance or opera, so go for it.
There’s an old client, somebody I go back with for several years. I was a printer. She was the marketing director, marketing advertising head of a company. We did business together for a whole bunch of years. Printing is manufacturing, and manufacturing every often will go bad. It doesn’t matter if you’re manufacturing a car or whatever it is you’re manufacturing.
Do you mean the technology changes, the job or you blew it?
It’s a combination. Everything we touched in this one job went bad. The paper wasn’t good. We had to return the paper. There was too much moisture in the paper. It was printed at the time of year that there’s a certain amount. You try to keep your plants humidity-controlled because paper stretches and it decreases based on humidity. There were other parts of the job that we were not on point on. Whatever happened, happened. We eventually got through this, which was a major job. In the end, I sat down with her and we negotiated to get them to not have us redo everything and base it on the deadline. She’s like, “I like you, but as far as vendors, you’re out. You’re off the list.” These were hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was crushed and upset. I also felt I took the responsibility that we didn’t perform at our best, be that as it may. She went onto a few years later, I left the organization. I stepped into touch with her through mutual friends of friends, graphic designers who originally connected us. She did some tours in Europe and some travels, and she came back to New York. I heard she was back, I reached out and we had coffee.
It was at the time I was opening Slater Success. I said, “This is what’s going on in printing as far as what’s going on in our travels and what’s new. You ought to know this is what I’m doing. I’m opening this company. It’s a coaching consulting company,” this, that and the other thing. She’s like, “That’s fabulous. You’re such a great print people person. This is how I’m going to connect you to. I’m going to connect you to the CEO of this organization. It’s a nonprofit. She’s the executive director. You’re going to get involved. You’re going to work with their young leadership committee. You can be blah, blah, blah.” I still do business with that connection now.
A few years later, she invited me to lunch. I always take my clients to lunch. They never had taken me to lunch. She said, “I want to tap your brain. I’m thinking of opening a marketing company and maybe you can help me.” I said, “Sure.” I gave her, at that time, we’re early rates. She was flabbergasted on paying anything close to that. She goes, “I have a couple of girlfriends who are also doing some new and interesting things. Maybe you could coach all of us together.” They paid me for nine months to write my first group program. A few years later, I get an email from her and she goes, “Do you have some time to talk?” I said, “Of course.” We jumped on the phone. She goes, “I’m being recruited to run a whole global wholesale for an international jewelry company. I’d like your help.” I said, “What do you want me to do? She goes, “I’ve been following your writing, Ivy. For years, you’ve written about women stepping into their value, earning what they’re worth. I’m negotiating with those white men in the corporate office. I want to make sure that I’m compensated like them, like my predecessors.”
I was like, “I’m not an attorney. I don’t negotiate contracts. This is not what I do.” She goes, “I don’t need you to do that. I want you to stand in my corner as I negotiate and make sure.” I was like, “Okay.” She goes, “What are you going to charge me for that?” She took a big breath waiting and I said, “Nothing.” She goes, “You’re kidding. I know you for a long time. You’re joking.” I said, “I’m not going to charge you anything. If this is the job you want and it aligns with your values, which we touched based on, let’s help you get it.” Through her acquiring those jobs, I now work with two massive jewelry organizations, Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin. In many years, after being released from the vendor list, the value of a relationship is the golden ticket to success.
Seven Traits Of Great Leaders
I know you’ve got four strong pillars to success for a company, then you have the seven traits of great leaders. Is there a way that we can get through both?Your net worth is your network. Click To Tweet
Leadership is vitally important for any organization we’re running. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur, if you’re a corporate executive, if you’re running a firm with 50, 500 or 5,000 people. Leadership is leadership. There’s a great expression that goes, “We are all leaders. Do we choose to step into the role of leaders? That’s our choice.” On my website, if anybody wants to check it out, you could download a video and you can get the whole thing. The seven traits of great leaders, it’s what great leaders do. This is when I started looking at all the people I’ve worked with for all these years, what I’ve looked at myself as a leader, and what I looked at in my whole career of working with leaders, way before Slater Success was open. Even before I was in printing, even the people I worked in the early years, what were the traits that made the impact?
Let me add in here, this counts whether you are a C-level executive or if you are working your way up in an organization. It’s the reason why I tell people to get out and speak because it’s claiming your leadership roles. If there’s anybody who’s looking at improving their career within an organization, listen to what Ivy is telling you because this counts for everybody.
We all have the ability to define our own leadership. It doesn’t matter what role we’re in, it’s how we choose to look in the mirror. Number one, great leaders think big and see possibility. Number two, they work consistently on specific goals, not broad goals, not general goals or big goals. They’re specific goals. They create a plan to support those goals. I’m all about a strategic plan. There’s a great expression that says, “Man plans, God laughs,” and we still need the plan because we have the ability to make the adjustments as we have more information.
Enlighten me please, even though there are changes, the fact that you’ve made the plan, the act of making the plan is the first part, right?
Absolutely. Habits, what are your habits? Habits are important. We talk about our morning and evening routines. Do we calendar out our activities? Do we work off to-do lists? Do you get up every sixteen minutes from your desk? What habits do you do? Do you do your laundry on the same day of the week? What are those habits for success? Next is building solid relationships and embracing the value and consistently working on it. We already talked about that. Your area, communication, enhance and step into great communication. Remember, the greatest communicators are the greatest listeners. Lastly, number seven, showing up every day with a “what can I do” attitude. I say that to my clients all the time. There are obstacles that come with these curveballs. There are challenges. When we show up every day and stop and say, “What can I do?” Show me a problem instead of finding the tragedy in it. I show up with, “What could we do? What are the options?” It immediately puts this into an action mode, a brainstorm mode and gets us moving forward.
Do you have that written down somewhere that people can download it and put it on their wall?
There’s a video on the website and probably, we’ll add a cheat sheet to it. Listen to the video and grab that.
I want this printed out and put it up on my wall. I’ve heard you say it a few times. Ivy, if you don’t have a postcard, will you please make one?
Thank you. With these traits, how do you apply them?
With baby steps. We don’t conquer in big leaps.
I would like many baby steps in my career.
It goes back to a little bit of being that dancer. Think about the concept of habits. Every day, a dancer will do a plié. Every day, if you’re a vocal person, you warm-up your voice and you do your scales. If you’re a guitarist, you’re doing your warm-up. You always have those habits, so why don’t we have those habits in business? In the book, From the Barre to the Boardroom, I reference dance because there were many wonderful principles from the early years that have made me the businesswoman I am now. It’s the woman who did a plié every day. It’s the woman who as she was doing her dishes, even when she was younger and clearing the table, I would be doing tendus while I was doing it because you’re always in motion. In business, we’re always in motion also.
Where do you start?
You start with the plan. We referenced before the four pillars to success, and in that I look at we must have a strategic plan. When I do strategic plans with companies, organizations and businesses, we look at your marketing strategy, sales strategy and your financial strategy. That’s your waltz. It’s a beautiful dance. What adds the music to the walls that makes it flow? That’s the mindset of success.
The mindset is the music. It allows the waltz from strategy, marketing and finance?When you stumble on a hard time, you're moving through a transition. Click To Tweet
That’s marketing, sales, and finance. It’s the three pillars of a business. Without sales, you’re not in business. It’s a hobby. How do you create sales? You have to have a marketing plan. Where is your sales plan based on? That’s your financial goals and your financial plan. How do those three work together? They’re all interconnected because if things are not going well in marketing, we see something going on in sales and we don’t see anything going on in finance. We have an inkling. If we’re keeping the pulse of the one, two, three and we see something’s off in the finance, we know we want to check on sales and marketing. If we’re struggling in sales, we want to check in on our marketing. This is the balance, the dance.
Where does stuff like content creation come up?
It’s marketing activity.
How about long-term plans?
That’s finance. What are the long-term goals for the organization? Are you building an organization from $1 million to $10 million? What does that look like? How are you going to achieve it?
That’s one of the things I always do with my clients, whether they’re speaking within an organization or to an audience to promote the company, promote themselves or promote an idea. I always start with what’s the result you want to get? Talk to us about the mindset because you wouldn’t want to have a foxtrot tune underlying your waltz.
Mindset is the first and the last piece of the seven traits of great leaders. It is the ability to see possibilities and showing up a “what can I do” attitude. Our great leaders are great visionaries. When we look at our mindset, if our mind is cluttered, how can we be a visionary? How can we figure out what can we do when confronted with any issue, obstacle or challenge? Moving from business, great leaders, many people are going to have an exercise, a meditation and a gratitude routine. It doesn’t have to be all three. It’s a bonus. It doesn’t matter what you do if you do it inconsistently. Keep showing up for it. I am the most inconsistent meditator around.
I know the feeling.
I’m still a strong believer in meditation. I know simply I wake up in the morning and I close my eyes if I’m not going to sit down and do a full meditation. Even before I get out of bed, I close my eyes and I focus. I love to write it down. I woke up in LA and I was like, “The sun is shining. It’s beautiful.” I left New York. It was in my teens. The next day, I woke up in LA. It was a gorgeous day and I’m in bed. I was like, “How grateful I am that I’ve built a life that I could do this.” I am grateful. I sat for two minutes, take a breath and I moved into my day. That ability to breathe, and I’ve taught this to many executives prior to going into any meeting, you’re leaving, anything. Stop, close your eyes, take three deep breaths. Clear yourself and mind so you’re stepping in with 100% of your presence to the meeting you’re stepping into.
That’s also good for speakers. It’s one of the things that I tried to do because I’m likely to be working in the room. I’m talking to everybody and saying, “Hi.” They then say, “You’re on.” If I haven’t grounded myself, I usually find an assistant, a friend or someone who I can say, “Five minutes before it’s time for me to speak, remind me and not go off and record to the bathroom.” Bathrooms are great for this. Go off to the bathroom and take the time to ground yourself, breathe and focus. For me, it’s about focus.
I did the same thing before I take any stage because it’s that grounding. You’re spot on, at least three deep breaths before I go out and speak. I think about it from when I used to perform and dance. Before you went on, you were in the backstage. You would run, you’re moving your feet and your arms like baby steps and do the first 8 to 16 counts of the dance in your head.
If you’re the person who tends to forget or get excited, like I do, get someone to help you, “I need help for that. I need someone to slow me down.”
It’s interesting because it works consistently with business leadership. Where can you delegate? We stay in our sweet spots. The leaders stay in their sweet spots as visionaries, as seeing the possibilities and stepping into the “I can do’s” into the true leadership role. It’s a strength in finding who supports you best and consistently delegate.
Also, knowing what you need. Ivy, this is amazing. This is all gold. You’ve come up with many wonderful nuggets for us. How can we find out more?
The fastest and easiest way to find out everything about me is on my website, SlaterSuccess.com. You could download the video where I talk through and go into a little deeper on the seven traits of great leaders. You could find my book, From the Barre to the Boardroom. It will pop you right over to Amazon for that, as well as the podcast, Her Success Story. Everything’s on the website through your fingertips.
Ivy, do you have a nugget to leave us with or a final thought? If there was one thing from this conversation we should walk away with, what would it be?
Look in the mirror and you decide the leader you want to be, then step into it. Don’t wait. Don’t say, “I’ll do this when,” today’s the day.All of us have the ability to define our own leadership. Click To Tweet
Ivy Slater, thank you for being on the show. I want to remind you to take our free assessment at www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com, where you can see how your presentation skills shape up. You can use your leadership strategies from Ivy to enhance those and maybe, you can see if you need a little bit of extra support. As Ivy and I were saying, relationships, ask for support and get someone to support you. I’ll see you on the next one.
- Ivy Slater
- Slater Success Coaching
- From the Barre to the Boardroom: Choreographing Business Success Through Authentic Relationships.
- Her Success Story
About Ivy Slater
Ivy Slater is a professionally certified business coach, speaker, best selling author and podcast host. After owning and operating a 7-figure printing business, having been in the industry for 20 years, she started Slater Success which focuses on developing great leaders and facilitating business growth and expansion. Ivy holds masterminds and retreats with her private client base and corporate training on communication and strategic planning. She speaks nationwide on the topics of leadership, sustainable growth, relationships and sales.