Monthly Archives: August 2012

Learn the skills of a horse whisperer for leadership success – by Selina Denman

Tauseef Qadri first started exploring the idea of “equitelligence”, or equine-inspired emotional intelligence, while studying management sciences at Loughborough University in the UK. Admittedly, Qadri was not your average management student. A keen horseman who began riding as a toddler and went on to study natural horsemanship under Ingella Larsson, one of the world’s leading “horse whisperers”, he was as familiar with the workings of horses as he was with the workings of human beings.

“I had to do a course on emotional intelligence and how we applied it in our own context. The world I knew was horses, so I thought about how I could apply those concepts to horses. I got a fantastic grade in that thesis, which encouraged me to think about developing those ideas further,” he says.

Natural horsemanship involves communicating with a horse using barely perceptible signals and subtle shifts in body language. It demands that a level of trust be built between the two parties and that they develop a common, non-vocal language. “Horsemanship is about developing an innate understanding of the horse’s perspective of the world. You have these two different worlds and in horsemanship you try to find a symbiosis.”

But many of the key principles in horsemanship can just as easily be applied to human behaviour, particularly when it comes to the workplace, Qadri discovered. After completing his degree, he went to work for Xerox and then did a stint in the financial services industry, which brought him to Dubai in 2006. All the while, he was incubating his ideas on “equitelligence”.

He subsequently developed a two-day intensive leadership programme based on developing emotional intelligence through interaction with horses, which has already proven popular with a number of high-profile corporations. “Usually the most experiential part of emotional intelligence workshops is when you interact face-to-face on a role play basis. But in that kind of context, both you and I know it’s not real. Try telling that to a 1,200-pound animal. With a horse, you have to be absolutely authentic.”

Qadri shared five key leadership skills that he believes can be developed through interactions with horses.


Part of the course involves grooming the horse and learning more about them. “This generates that elusive skill of empathy, which is so important in the workplace,” says Qadri.

Physiologically, and often unconsciously, at this point people will start smiling, their pupils will dilate, they will start salivating and they will get a tingling feeling in their back. “Those are the biological signs of empathy – it means that you are really making a connection. And people seem to have that with horses; that species divide is transcended.”

Body language

Horses communicate almost exclusively through body language, but more than 87 per cent of human communication is also purely physical. Participants learn the rudiments of horsemanship, which covers how they direct their energy, how they direct their focus, how they highlight to the horse that they are relaxed and how they increase their energy and transfer that energy to the horse.

Push versus release

Participants are invited to stand in front of their horse and make them walk backwards. “There is a rope connected to the halter and you just wiggle it increasingly vigorously; at a certain stage the horse will understand that he needs to move back. If people struggle with assertiveness, they will never go beyond a light wiggle. The horse will look at them and do nothing. Other people will swing the rope so hard that the horse will feel that jerk and literally run backwards. That’s not what you want either. That’s a reaction, not a response,” says Qadri.

“Similarly, in a board meeting, you should know when to press the accelerator because you are trying to drive a point home, but you should also know when not to because you are going to elicit a reaction and not a response,” says Qadri.


Because they are herd animals that are eager to please, horses will relinquish leadership if they understand what is required of them and think you know what you are doing. If you are inconsistent, they won’t.

The role of recognition

There’s a saying in horsemanship that is all-important: “The pressure will motivate but the release teaches.” Participants must encourage the horse to take some kind of action, but if that action is completed, they must immediately take away the pressure. “You must be able to say to the horse at that point in time, ‘Thank you, you’ve done a great job’. The more you can create that recognition culture, the more a horse will try harder for you,” says Qadri.

Leadership lessons from Olympics by Dinesh Weerakkody

By Dinesh Weerakkody
With a little British pomp and a lot of British pop, London brought the curtain down on a glorious Olympic Games to a close. However, it was some of the great athletes at those games more than the pomp and the pop that really made a lasting impression on everyone by doing things out of the ordinary.
Many of us were inspired by each story that was covered, and impressed by athletes who overcame incredible odds to make it to the games. No matter what industry you are in, there are valuable lessons from the Olympics that we can apply to our businesses.
For example, when Usain Bolt crossed the finish line during his 200-meter final, he made one simple gesture. He didn’t point to the sky. He didn’t raise his hands in the air. Bolt merely held up his finger to his lips, making a gesture of silence to his opposition. He’d reached a new pinnacle in his career and his first reaction was to silence those who thought he’d never make it.
Although Usain Bolt could be seen as arrogant and full of himself, his actual performance matched his level of self- confidence. As a result, he is now become a legend.
Just as Bolt excels in sprinting, there are champions in every profession and business. It’s the difference between one who simply gets the job done vs. someone who gets the job done incredibly well, makes a lasting impression and also a big difference to the final outcome.
While there are dozens of things leaders can learn from the Olympics, the following lessons can help to strengthen our organisations.
Leadership research says that learning agility is the largest predictor of long-term success. Great athletes are great learners. Learning and improvement are often about the small and simple things, great sprinters are very analytical about all kinds of little things – their start, stride, footwear, clothing, etc. Learning ideas become shared over time. Learning can be defined as the ability to generate and generalize ideas.
Once a sprinter has innovated something new, then those ideas will likely to be transferred to others. Leaders learn by both doing new things and by learning from others. Then some ability to success is learnable, some are inherent.
The best sprinters in the world have great abilities to learn, but they also have natural ability. Therefore, it is important to position people in jobs where their talents are more applicable and relevant to the role.
Sense of pride
The spirit of the Olympics brings out the best in most of the athletes. Many of those great athletes are so committed to their craft that they invest more than 10,000s of hours in improving their skill, confidence and also to make the most of their own potential. Success therefore is talent plus preparation and it seems the bigger the role preparation plays over talent in the final outcome.
Also, many of the successful athletes while they feel a sense of pride in the sport, they also have a huge sense of pride in representing their country.
Likewise, companies need to invest time and resources to create that sense of pride within their organisations, to ensure that their employees do their best work for the company and also to help their employees to realize their full potential.

Great Job 212 Team – Employee Recognition For The Month

Congratulations to Rachelle and Kyle for being awarded with a trip to San Francisco for a leadership conference this month. You have done a great job and we are excited to send you to the West Coast for additional career training. Can’t wait to see what you bring back. Have fun and great job!

Congratulations Rachelle on your newest promotion. We are excited to see how quickly you have grown with the company, We are looking forward to what you do in with your new responsibilities! Keep up the great work.

Great job Derek and Keith for receiving national recognition for your outstanding performance last week with our Fortune 500 client.   Keep up the great work!

Open Positions At 212 Inc.

Check out the latest open positions at 212, Inc. here –

212 Inc. Celebrates Over Five Years Of Success

212, Inc., a New England based sales and marketing firm, is celebrating five years of successful business.  Over the years the company has expanded to over five times its founding size and expects to continue its growth in the months and years to come.

212, Inc. originally opened its doors in February 2007.  Now located in Wellesley, MA, the company has expanded to multiple locations from coast to coast from Rhode Island to California.  The company is a premier outsourced sales and marketing firm covering the greater Boston area.  As a privately owned and operated firm, 212 focuses on increasing market-share and retaining clients for Fortune 500 clients.

One of the main clients at 212 is the nation’s leading provider in the telecommunications industry.  The client provides bundled Internet access, telephone, and television services.  212’s focus is to acquire and retain account holders for the fiber-optic communications division of the company.

Over the past five years, 212 has experienced a growth increase of over 500%. In this time, the company has promoted five new members to its executive leadership team.  These additions have given 212 the ability to expand into 5 new market-shares and take on new clients from coast to coast.  Throughout this time, 212 has received several recognitions for outstanding national performance.

I am excited to see how the team here has evolved over the last five years.  Over the years, it is exciting to see the company continue to grow,” explains Andrea Atkinson, President of 212.   “I am most excited about seeing the individuals grow as the company grows.  We have seen several of our executives grow in their careers from the ground up and I am proud to see them get the promotions they have worked so hard to deserve.”

212, Inc. expects to continue this growth over the next few months and plans to expand to more locations by the end of the year.

How Introverts Can Be Exceptional Entrepreneurial Leaders

I had the honor and pleasure of sitting down with Josh Zywien of Open View Labs to talk about how introverts can be exceptional in entrepreneurial leadership roles, an area of importance to Open View as they aim to help entrepreneurs build great companies. This interview originally ran in the Open View Labs blog, and I wanted to share it here with all of you. Enjoy!


When it comes to introverts, there’s a common misconception that they lack the necessary qualities to be effective leaders. It’s a perception that leadership strategist and entrepreneur Lisa Petrilli disagrees with and, as a self-described introvert and a highly successful entrepreneur, it’s one she can legitimately disprove.

But being introverted isn’t about being shy or team averse, says Petrilli, who founded executive consulting firm C-Level Strategies in 2010 and authored The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership last year. Instead, it’s simply about drawing energy and creative juices from a different place.

While extroverts are at their best in more populated, bustling surroundings, introverts thrive in smaller group — and, yes, sometimes singular — settings and draw their energy from their inner world. Neither preference is wrong or better than the other, Petrilli explains, and both types of personalities can produce excellent leaders.

Petrilli recently sat down for a brief conversation with OpenView to discuss her experience as a successful introverted CEO, the roadblocks she faced along the way, and why she thinks possessing and communicating vision is the true foundation of great leaders.

As an introvert, did you find the leadership component of being an entrepreneur difficult early in your career?

Absolutely. In a business environment, you can’t escape the outer world that extroverts prefer. You have to exist and interact there if you want to be successful. For an extrovert, it’s an energizing experience to participate in larger groups and lead large teams. An introvert can be very successful in that world, but we don’t like to spend the preponderance of our time there.

Ultimately, leaders at companies of all sizes need to spend time every day getting out of their comfort zone if they want to be successful. I’m not suggesting that introverts have to become extroverts, but it’s important to get out of your office, motivate your team, and talk to the world about your company. If you’re the CEO of a growing company, those situations are unavoidable, and if you don’t embrace them at some point you’ll hit a career ceiling.

The good news, though, is that once you’ve done that, I absolutely think it’s important for introverts to return to their sanctums and explore their inner world of ideas. It’s really about striking a balance between your introverted preferences and the extroverted demands of corporate leadership.

What makes introverts particularly strong leaders in the startup and expansion stage phases?

I think introverts excel at creating and setting a vision for their company or product. Many people assume that the majority of CEOs — because they’re the figureheads of their companies — are extroverts. In my experience, that has not been the case.

Introverts — like a lot of entrepreneurs — tend to be creatively minded people who work well in innovative environments that allow them to dream up fantastic products and features. Early on, those people are great leaders because they’re comfortable communicating that vision to their small teams.

You talk a lot about the concept of “visionary leadership.” How exactly do you define it and how does it differ from other leadership styles?

I’m not sure that visionary leadership is a “style” as much as it is a foundation for great leadership. Ultimately, CEOs at the startup and enterprise levels need to know where they want to take their organizations. Executives may have a tendency to brush aside the idea of vision and turn it into a stock exercise that they execute with their team once a year.

That’s a big mistake. Your vision should be the framework of your business. It gets to the core of what you do, where you want the company to go, and what your market’s going to look like when you get there. Ultimately, a company’s leader needs to illuminate that path. If you look at Steve Jobs, he certainly did that with Apple. Steve Jobs was well known as a visionary and he created, communicated, and stuck with a very specific vision.

In the end, vision is about asking yourself how your business is going to make its customers more successful. When you think about your company as a medium for improving its customers’ lives, it can be hugely inspirational for you and your employees. Without that vision, your business will likely lack the internal fire that truly fuels long-term success.

What one piece of advice would you give early-stage CEOs — particularly introverted ones — about creating and communicating that vision to their teams?

I think the easiest way to summarize everything we’ve discussed is to say that what you bring to the table needs to be uniquely you. Whether we’re talking about leadership styles, personalities, or products, it’s critical to understand your strengths, embrace them, and deliver them in a way that is genuine and impactful.

Everyone assumes that innovation is about creating groundbreaking technology or that leadership is about being this boisterous personality, and neither is necessarily true. Ultimately, innovation and leadership are about being more of who you’re meant to be and less of who you’re not. If you can figure that out and clearly convey your passion, then you’ll empower your employees, investors, and customers to follow you.

How To Become A Better Leader: Awareness By Catherine Clifford

Are you more like Howard Schultz of Starbucks, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Richard Branson of Virgin, or Tony Hsieh of Zappos? Knowing the answer could help you become more successful in running your business.

Three business leaders — Tony Tjan, Dick Harrington, and Tsun-yan Hsieh — wrote a book together called Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012) after interviewing and researching business leaders from young, upstart entrepreneurs to experienced CEOs. They identified four character traits that define a business leaders’ decision-making process. If you know what your dominant characteristic is and you are aware of how you make decisions, you will be more likely to make smart ones, the authors contend.

“Self-awareness is not a soft organizational behavior concept to be dismissed. Rather it is the concrete foundation for improving your leadership and business-building capability,” writes Tjan in the introduction to the book. “It is about intellectual honesty.”

To learn what kind of leader you are, take the Entrepreneur Apptitude Test at (Link Here is a rundown of the four categories of entrepreneurs and the leaders that exemplify them:

1. Heart. Howard Schultz of Starbucks. Hearts-dominated leaders are the passionate, big-picture, founding visionaries that may not necessarily have a rational, research-based business plan, but are fiercely committed to seeing their goal through.

2. Smarts. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The smarts-dominated leader is rational, makes decisions based on facts, sets goals, delegates responsibility, and knows how to hold people accountable.

3. Guts. Richard Branson of Virgin. Guts-dominated leaders actively seek out uncertain business ventures with the possibility for high reward (risk takers) or are capable at managing situations laden with heavy consequence (risk-tolerant).

4. Luck. Tony Hsieh of Zappos. While almost every successful business venture owes some portion of its success to a lucky break, the luck-dominant business leaders strategically put themselves in the right place to increase their opportunity to being exposed to lucky chances and they have the open outlook in life to be able to take advantage of a bit of luck whispering at the door.

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