MEET KENDRA: HR MANAGER AND SMILING FACE

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This month, our team at 45 inc. had the pleasure of sitting down with Kendra Michelle Lackey, an HR Manager and Regional Quality Assurance Specialist. Kendra has been with our team since March 10th, 2017 and has elevated our team in measures since that day. In our one on one conversation, we discussed life, business, and consulting.

Where are you from?

I was raised in Munford, Alabama. It is a super small town, I graduated with about 80 other people. I tell people I’m from Talladega because it is the next town over and more well-known because of Talladega Nights and NASCAR.”

How would your parents have described you as a kid?

“My parents would say that I was sassy and bossy, but also a tomboy. My mom used to have to make me wear heels and dresses-college and sorority life definitely changed all of that!  I don’t prefer the term bossy though. I have LEADERSHIP SKILLS.”

Were you involved in any sports or extracurriculars as a kid?

“I was really involved in sports and different clubs in school. I played baseball and softball from K-12. I also cheered a few years. Oh, and even though I am only 5 foot I did play one year of varsity volleyball. That was my junior year in high school and my mom told me to pick one sport after that year because it was just too much having something to do practically every day. I was also in the Beta Club and French Club. But don’t ask me to speak it anymore. If you don’t use it, you definitely lose it. I can still read in French though. Side note-I do want to learn Latin.”

How would you say that competitive environment developed you?

“Playing sports definitely helped me develop into the person I am today. I’ve always had a competitive spirit I’m not sure if sports brought that out in me, or if sports were what I needed because of my competitiveness. I LOVE working in a team environment and reaching goals with my teammates. I think playing sports also helps teach you a strong work ethic too. Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. You learn to not place blame or finger point. You learn to not place blame on the bad weather that caused the play to go wrong. It instills that no excuse attitude that is needed in entrepreneurship.”

Did you have any idea that you would end up in this field?

“I would have never imagined that I would have ended up in this field. I did know that I wanted to help people and make a difference and I do get to do that daily.”

Tell us about your college experience.

“I attended Jacksonville State University. I changed majors a few times, from almost joining the Navy to Nursing to Education to Psychology to Public Administration. I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I feel that is a big decision for a young adult to make and I definitely wasn’t ready to make that decision. I was involved on campus. I was initiated into the Lambda Gamma Chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority Fall 2008. I was philanthropy chair of my pledge class-again I like helping people. I was also a Rugby Little Sister.”

Where did you work before joining our team?

“I did have jobs prior to 45. I worked at a private children’s academy in Houston. It was supposed to just be a summer job, but I was asked to stay if they gave me my own classroom. I taught 3 and 4-year olds. The academy had an AMAZING curriculum and I had 3-year olds in my class reading on a 1st grade level. I was also a Certified Nursing Assistant -hello Nursing major. Caring for people when they are their most venerable can be very rewarding.”

What is one life experience you feel has shaped you?

“Picking ONE is very hard because I have been through a lot of things in life, truly. I think being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and overcoming that was the hardest thing I have ever done.  I didn’t realize how strong I was until I was able to overcome that. Not everyone survives that diagnosis and while it was quite a battle for me and sometimes it will rear its ugly head, I know that if I overcame it once I can do it again.”

What is something we might not know about you on sight?

“I LOVE to bake. I’m not a super cool cake artist, but I love to bake. I make some AMAZING red velvet brownies. And I also only bake from scratch. Oh, and I have to drink wine while baking. I may need to change that if I ever open up a bakery!”

What were your first thoughts when you joined the 45 inc. team?

“My first thoughts were these people cannot really like each other THIS much. Everyone was friendly and cool with each other. People genuinely wanted to hang out with their coworkers. I thought at first it was super fake and then after a month with the company I was wanting to hang out with my coworkers and stopped calling them coworkers. They are genuinely my friends and helped me with not only work-related stuff but just with life. I truly love the people I work with.”

What has been your best memory with the company?

“There have been so many wonderful memories! Picking one is super hard. It would have to be either my first National Conference or the beach trip of 2017. My first Nat Con was in New Orleans and just the knowledge and people that I was able to network with was just so amazing. Being in a room of a few thousand people who all have similar dreams and aspirations as I was a phenomenal feeling. The beach trip was also amazing. The team hit a goal and Wrinardo rented a private villa for the top guys in the office. It was such a cool bonding experience. One of the guys on the trip had never been to the beach so to see him run in the sand and put his toes in the ocean for the first time was a great feeling and memory that I will always have.”

What is something you’ve learned through your work that you didn’t know before?

“One thing I didn’t know before starting in this company was sales! But truly I have learned so much working in this company from sales to learning how to develop other people, not just train them. I’ve learned that building relationships is the most important thing.  I’ve been very fortunate to now be able to grow my company while still working at 45 and having a successful businessman as your mentor is something that I am truly blessed to have.”

How would you describe the culture to a prospective candidate?

“I would tell a prospective candidate that the culture here is wonderful. We have a work hard play hard mentality and we genuinely care about helping each other achieve our dreams and goals.”

What do you look for in prospective candidates?

“I look for people who are competitive, team oriented, and who have really high integrity.”

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

“Be nice to the receptionist! They aren’t just there to greet you at the door and poor manners to them may mean that you don’t get that dream job. As for resumes, talk about extracurriculars, clubs, and volunteer work. We are trying to get a feel of who someone is on one or two pages of paper. Those things tell us A LOT about you. And don’t make things up. I had a resume come to me and the candidate said she was a member of Delta Nu Sorority, the sorority from Legally Blonde. I know because that’s my favorite movie.”

What are your goals with the company?

“My goals with the company are to help Wrinardo to hit consultantship and to open my own company by the end of the year. I have been consulting Wrinardo and other sales offices on cancels and quality assurance. I have three clients total with a goal of having one more client by the end of March and to have fifteen offices I am consulting for by the end of the year. I started this venture in January, so I feel like I am doing well so far.”

How do you plan to personally contribute to company growth?

My plan is to bring in quality candidates so we can promote out a few deals this year and by keeping our cancel rate low be able to save the company money.”

Do you recommend any business books or podcasts?

“’How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie is wonderful. Also, ‘The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership’ by James C. Hunter. They are both really easy reads and I feel like both topics are important for future business owners.  For podcasts most definitely The Sessions Effect. I had a conference call with Michael Sessions, the guy who does Sessions Effect. It was so hard for me to stay professional and not go fan girl on him.”

Kendra, you are such an inspiration to each and every one of us.  Your positive attitude and unbreakable drive have elevated our team and culture since the day you joined us. We cannot wait to see all that you achieve, as your teammates and as your friends.

DRESS TO IMPRESS: 10 WAYS TO DRESS FOR THE JOB

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Dressing to impress is a saying that we’ve all heard before, but in an era where some CEOs wear jeans and a sweatshirt, it might be hard to know how to dress for the job. Here at 45 Inc. Birmingham, we believe in setting a great first impression. Together, we have come up with a quick guide on how to rock your business best. Leave a last impression in your next interview or networking event with the help of our advice.

1. You want to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons. Avoid colors and patterns that could be distracting, as they make take away from what you are saying. Be mindful of your personal style, so you can alter it depending on the environment. This will allow
for your personality and skills to shine through, versus your outfit.


2. Have a power outfit that makes you feel like a million dollars. We know that when you feel more confident, your performance will be better. Find that suit that leaves you feeling like a boss and wear it whenever you need a boost of confidence.


3. Everyone should own a good blazer. Ladies and gentlemen both should have a blazer that is versatile. A blazer states you are a professional while having a casual element to it. This item in your closet is a must for all professionals.


4. If you wear glasses, think about switching to contacts. Your instinct would tell you that glasses can make a person look more studious, however, glasses create an eye contact barrier. When you talk to people, do it with confidence and great eye contact.


5. Gentlemen, go for a tie. A tie is an easy way to mark yourself as a professional, while still allowing for a touch of individuality. Having a tie that represents your style and personality is always a great conversation starter. Put your best self forward in every detail of your outfit.


6. Avoid the urge to over accessorize! From crazy loud pocket squares to dangling earrings and necklaces, these kinds of accessories tend to distract. The last thing you want is to deflect from who you are or your message.


7. Take a minimalist approach to your hair and makeup. Again, you don’t want to create unnecessary distractions. You don’t want to overdo your makeup or hair in a business setting.


8. Find a good balance between comfort and fashion. Comfort shouldn’t be your main objection when selecting an outfit, however, if you are uncomfortable in what you are wearing, it will show in your attitude. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable during an interview when you are trying to make a good impression. Select items that provide comfort but are still appropriate for the setting.


9. Try to avoid dressing head to toe in trendy fashion styles. While this will help you with a younger crowd, it may come across in a negative light. Trends may indicate that you are more concerned with fashion than being professional. If you are into a new fashion trend, try mixing it with some classics for a happy balance.


10. Don’t be afraid to play with colors. Having color in your wardrobe can show a lot about your personality. As long as you match and are appropriately dressed for your environment, feel free to express yourself. Business professional doesn’t have to mean blacks and blues.

With our tips and a desire to succeed, you will always be dressed for success! Remember, style is a way to express yourself, but use it to project your best self. From all of us at 45 Inc. Birmingham, we wish you the best in all your future endeavours.

KEEPING UP WITH KIM

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With 2018 coming to a close, the gratitude we have to our team who made 2018 our best year yet is IMMENSE. Between record-breaking customer acquisitions rates to watching the growth of our team members professionally, this year easily takes the cake as our best year in business yet. One special young woman made a very big impact on our company this year, so much that we wanted to share her story and experience with 45 Inc Birmingham in this exclusive Q&A!

Kim, congrats on being this month’s featured team member! Tell us more about yourself!

I was born in Sylacauga, Alabama and raised in Harpersville! Despite being athletically inclined, I was pretty introverted as a kid. I played basketball, volleyball, and was even involved in my high school’s color guard and JROTC. I owe a lot of credit to my discipline to JROTC, as it was that organization that helped me develop my ability to work well with others and reminded me to work hard for the things I want in life! I remember Sargent Hall telling me “perfect practice makes perfect” and I’ve used that motto to fuel me my whole career.

You have a great background. Will you share how you found 45 Inc?
 

It took me a few jobs to find 45 Inc, but each was a stepping stone to get me there. When I reflect that my first job was at Vulcan Binder making $6/hr to where I have come now, I can’t help but be proud. After working at Honda, Walmart, Voith, Kasai, I was contacted by 45 Inc about my resume and since March, I feel as if I’m at home.

 

What were your first thoughts when starting with the company and how would you describe the culture?

 

My first thoughts were full of excitement because I was doing something out of my comfort zone. One unique thing that really blew me away was my being able to work and interact with the CEO of the company on a daily basis. I would describe the culture as friendly, very similar to a large family, Everyone is very goal oriented, promotes teamwork, and has a high level of respect for each other around the office. I never thought I would be working in a field such as this one, but now that I’m here, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

 

What have you learned since working with 45 Inc?

 

I’ve learned so much with doing this type of work, such as speaking in front of people, knowing how to connect with different kinds of people on different levels, and conducting interviews. I never thought I would be the person interviewing someone else, but it feels great.

This career has changed me as a person. I now have a strong sense of identity, am now capable of rising to whatever challenges that come, and now have the knowledge, talent, and potential necessary to succeed.

 

What goals do you have with the company?

 

My goals with the company are to become a successful business owner, providing the same opportunity that 45 Inc has given to me. I am so fortunate to have amazing mentors outside of work and inside the office and know I will be able to go far with their faith in me and dose of hard love when I need it.
 

Last question! What do you do for fun outside of the office?!
 

I usually hang out with my family and friends when I’m not working; being around them is all the fun this girl needs. One of my best memories with the company was being thrown a surprise birthday party for my 33rd birthday. It was so nice and really reminded me that my colleagues are like my second family.

OUR YEARLY RECAP: 2018

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With the end of the year right around the corner, our team at 45 Inc Birmingham would like to take a moment to look back at a wonderful year filled with achievements. We traveled, received awards, earned promotions, and volunteered for a number of philanthropic events. 

Here’s a recap of 2018!

Travel

We packed our bags at the start of the year and headed to Dallas, Texas! Here we attended our client broker’s annual kick-off conference where we focused on growth and knowledge. We had a blast networking with our fellow colleagues and picked up an award or two, of course! Our next stop was Houston, Texas in June while attending a nationally held sales & leadership conference. To wrap up the year, we flew to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in September, where we enjoyed some well-deserved rest & relaxation! We had a blast spending time together enjoying the sun and pool, and even got to ride ATVs through the forest! 

Awards

This year was full of hard work, and it paid off in a big way! We had a ton to celebrate! Our very own CEO, Wrinardo, was awarded Consistency Manager of the Year by our client broker! Accordingly, he delivered a 15 minute speech to a crowd of 3,000, talking about the changes he made to 45 Inc Birmingham over the last year that allowed us to rank in the top 5 outsourced sales offices for our client. We also received national recognition from the BBB as an accredited business in Birmingham with an A rating. As a company that prides itself on high levels of ethics and integrity, we are honored.

Promotions

Our goal, as always, is to continue to grow, so it’s no wonder we had plenty of promotions to celebrate. Our very own Je’Niah blew us all away with all of his accomplishments, and in one short year, went from an entry level position to management. This took hard work, boundless energy, and determination, and he served as a great example to everyone looking to grow professionally at 45 Inc. We’d also like to give special recognition to Kendra & Bryant, who were offered positions in our Human Resources Department earlier this Summer and Fall. Our whole team worked hard all year, putting us in the top 5 every single month for new customer acquisitions. This is not easy, seeing as it is out of 80 outsourced sales offices working with our client. One thing’s for sure: when we focus on being the best, we really put our minds to it.

Philanthropy

Our team at 45 Inc Birmingham loves to spend time giving back. Philanthropy is something we are passionate about on a personal and corporate level. This year we contributed to work with Habitat for Humanity, a Multiple Sclerosis Walk, and Habitat HomeStore to help create a better tomorrow. One of our favorite projects was getting to work with Hands On Birmingham, a local organization. We were able to give back to a local high school by reworking and updating the landscape to create a better learning environment. Every time we volunteer, we feel a sense of good, which inspires us to find new charitable organizations to donate to. 

If this year has shown us anything, it’s that together we can achieve it all. With all of the accomplishments we’ve racked up this year at 45 Inc Birmingham, we have definitely set the bar high for our future organization. Our team inspires us daily to keep pushing towards our goals. Stay connected with all our adventures and follow us on Facebook to see what all we’re up to in 2019!

45 INC BIRMINGHAM RECEIVES BBB ACCREDITATION

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45 Inc. Birmingham is a privately owned and operated sales and development firm headquartered in Birmingham, AL. As a company, we focus on growth and excellence. As a result of our commitment to results for our client and the Birmingham community, we are excited to announce that we have recently been accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating!

The BBB is a national, private organization whose mission is to focus on marketplace trust. They grade businesses on a scale ranging from A+ to F. Our A+ rating shows a company that is dedicated to exceeding the needs of customers, clients, and employees. Being BBB accredited, especially with the highest rating possible, is an unbiased opinion that we are a trustworthy and reliable business in the Birmingham, AL area. 

Our team at 45 Inc. Birmingham is immensely proud of this accreditation. Most importantly, we are excited about the opportunity this provides to our team members. Our overall goal is two-part: 1) to help our client acquire thousands of new customers per year, and 2) to recruit the best and the brightest talent Birmingham has to offer to ensure #1 is accomplished. As the pool of talent grows at 45 Inc Birmingham, it helps us raise standards, expectations, and results. A BBB accreditation will allow us to help our clients expand their market reach, seeing as their existing and potential customer base will trust our credibility more. Secondly, it will allow us to reach out to future employees and clients as we plan to scale our business 4-fold next year. 

In addition, the BBB hosts or sponsors events for either Accredited Businesses or people in the community. These are great opportunities to not only connect with other Accredited Businesses but also meet potential customers in the community. As a member of this prestigious club, we plan to maximize the new networking opportunities bestowed on us.

Awards are always loved but knowing that we are meeting the high standards of the BBB lets us know that our team and organization is on the right track. Our successes are the accumulation of our team’s hard work and dedication to our company’s goals, and as we reflect on this accomplishment, we wanted to extend thanks where they belong. To our CEO, Wrinardo McKennedy, our Human Resources Team, Nekia Ricks, Kitana McGuire, Bryant Williams & Kendra Lackey, Assistant Manager, Je’Niah Jackson, client liaisons, and every other team member who contributed to this national recognition, we applaud you. With the executive leadership experience of these 6, combined with our backing from the BBB, the future of 45 Inc Birmingham has never looked brighter. 

As we grow, so do our opportunities. To learn more about our company, BBB accreditation profile, and job openings, we encourage you to visit our website. Stay tuned as we combine forces with this agency and prepare for a killer 2019!

FROM THE STAGE, TO THE FIELD- MEET MO!

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This month our team had the pleasure of sitting down with Mo Yagoub, an account manager at 45 Inc. Birmingham. Yagoub has been with the company since September of 2018 but has made huge strides in success during his past few months.

Yagoub was born in Saudi Arabia and remembers himself as a shy only child, that is until he found a way to break out of his shell. Yagoub became involved with the theatre world as a teenager, participating in theatre for all four years of high school, and went on to study theatre for one year in college. “Theatre played a big role for me,” says Yagoub, “it helped me open up and be able to talk to people, which is something I do every day in this career. I am wholly myself, but in theatre, you get to be anybody.”

Yagoub graduated high school in May of 2013 and headed to the University of Alabama. “I had no idea I would end up in this career,” says Yagoub, “I wanted to be an electrical engineer, I had a passion for theatre, an inclination for business, but in the end, I chose to study Kinesiology.” Alongside his dedicated work for the company, Yagoub has maintained his studies and will be earning his degree this December. Congrats Mo!

What is one life experience that you feel has shaped you?

“I haven’t told many people this, but when I was around 13 years old, I was diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome. It’s a very rare, completely random chromosomal malfunction, affecting about 1 in 100 people. At 13 I started realizing something was off with me, so I went to the doctor and was diagnosed. From then until now, I’ve been battling it, there is no cure only treatments. Dealing with that from a young age as an only child with a single mother who was working a lot, I had to teach myself how to grow up with having that.”

On September 4th, 2018 Mo Yagoub walked through the doors of 45 Inc. Birmingham for the first time as a full-time employee. “I found the job on Zip Recruiter,” says Yagoub, “I worked at a family business for about 8 years, and just got tired of it. I wanted a change, so I started searching for jobs. I was immediately intrigued by this opportunity.” It took only a matter of days for Yagoub to fall into the company groove, and start forming lifelong relationships. “Immediately, the environment was filled with positivity,” says Yagoub, “very uplifting and genuine. I’ve made so many lifelong friends in such a short time, everyone is easy to get to know. It felt like family.”

As for his goals, Mo Yagoub has his eye on the prize. “I will make it to assistant management and hopefully ownership,” says Yagoub, “I eventually want to open up gyms and health clubs as well.”

Meet Kevin Jones: The Driving Source of Motivation for 45 Inc

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Meet Kevin Jones. Jones is an account manager here at 45 Inc. Birmingham, an innovative and motivated sales and marketing firm. Jones started with the company in January of 2018 and has already found tremendous success. Want to learn more? Our team conducted a one-on-one interview with Jones, where he shares his experiences before and after walking through the doors of 45 Inc.

Jones was born and raised in Troy, Alabama, where he graduated from Hartselle High School. As a kid, Jones remembers being pretty shy but credits the opportunity at 45 Inc. with bringing out the extrovert within. In high school, Jones was a star athlete on multiple teams but shined the brightest on the football field. “I was quarterback my senior year and captain of the team,” says Jones, “that experience put me in a position for the first time to lead by example and lead a team. I was someone they looked up to when we were down.” For Jones, the athletic success did not end after high school. “I graduated when I was 17 and started as a volunteer high school football coach alongside my high school coach,” says Jones, “I was a 17-year-old kid coaching guys that were older than me.” All of that said, it’s no surprise that Kevin Jones has been given the nickname of “Coach Kev” by his team at 45 Inc. Birmingham.

Jones began taking classes at a community college in Tuscaloosa, while working as a volunteer coach at Northridge High School for four years, alongside his job at the local UPS. After those four years, Jones moved back to Troy and continued working with UPS for six years. “I’ve known since I was 15 that I wanted to own my own business,” says Jones, “I finished my education at Troy University, paying out of pocket, and became a student assistant coach for the Troy University football team.”

Given his record of success as a coach and a motivator, Jones began looking at a full-time career in college athletics. It was that search that led him to the opportunity at 45 Inc. “I came across 45 Inc. at a time when I was considering going back to school for an MBA,” says Jones, “they were looking for sports minded individuals looking to build teams. It was check and checkmate for me, I was all in.” After that, he never looked back.

Shortly after starting with the company in January 2018, Jones knew it was a great opportunity. “I am big on understanding the big picture,” says Jones, “I saw that this is a vehicle that can get me where I want to be a lot quicker than going to get an MBA for 2 years. It feels like there is no advancement when working for another company. This job takes me out of my comfort zone every day.” For someone with a background like his, Jones appreciates the team mentality at 45 Inc. “The culture is very team-oriented,” says Jones, “Folks are always willing to help each other, and it’s a really fun atmosphere. It is not a typical work environment, and that is what attracted me in the first place. No one wants to go to a job where they hate what they do. It’s a different mindset, I love what I do.”

As for how the account manager maintains such positivity, Jones continues to emanate a coach mentality, pushing his team to success each day. “I never call it a job,” says Jones, “I call it an opportunity. I can’t stress it enough, anyone can go to a regular 9-5 job, but this is an opportunity that we are blessed with. I treat every day like a new day.”

Jones reflects on his career fondly, while continuing to look to the future. “I constantly maintain a student mentality,” says Jones, “I look up to those in management, and hope to open up my own office. Wrinardo McKennedy has been a great mentor to me, and I hope to continue to build from what he has started.” Jones feels passionate about continuing to grow himself while pushing others to succeed. His secret weapon? Work ethic. “I truly feel that there are not too many that can work harder than me, if you keep up, we will go far,” says Jones, “Everyone needs a sense of purpose, and to understand their ‘why’.”

When he is not busy motivating his team at 45 Inc., Jones can be found watching college football, hanging out with friends, or playing golf.

Kevin Jones’ motivation, work ethic, and positivity are contagious, and his success speaks for itself. We are confident that the future is bright for Coach Kev.

A Commentary on the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

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In his beloved novel, John C. Maxwell brilliantly outlines the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. While all of the laws are insightful, innovative, and important, here at 45 Inc. we definitely have our favorites.

  1. The Law of Influence

The True Measure of Leadership Is Influence- Nothing More, Nothing Less

Becoming a successful leader is not about percentages, team sizes, or income. The most powerful leaders have the ability to influence a single team member, an entire team, and the masses beyond. A leader who can push his brand and his team into the sphere of influence will be far more effective than one who works in a vacuum.

  1. The Law of Process

Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day

As with anything else in life, strong leadership is not fostered overnight. Effective leadership is a craft and should be practiced in such a way. A strong leader is not born within the first months of a company’s inception, but in the years that follow. Spend each day working and harnessing your sense of leadership, and let it form you- not the other way around.

  1. The Law of Magnetism

Who You Are Is Who You Attract

You are who you surround yourself with and you are who you attract. No more blaming the universe for bringing ineffective and toxic people into your world. If you promote strong leadership, unending positivity, and an intrinsic motivation to improve and expand, those are the team members you will find in your corner.

  1. The Law of the Inner Circle

A Leader’s Potential Is Determined By Those Closest to Him

This law holds hands with law 9, following the same basic principles. As a leader, you might expect yourself to have a stronger sense of motivation than your team, but that does not mean you are willing to work harder. All members of the team should be striving for greatness and working at the top of their ability, those who don’t will only lessen your potential as a company and as a leader.

  1. The Law of Reproduction

It Takes a Leader to Raise Up a Leader

If you have reached the point of exemplary leadership, then why keep it to yourself? Mentor and mentor often. Don’t assume that you can’t be replaced, instead, create your replacement. Build team members who can achieve greatness beyond you, and foster the same strength of leadership.

For a complete look at what it takes to be an effective leader, seek out Maxwell’s novel. His words influence our team here at 45 Inc. every single day.