Donna Kennedy is a three-time bestselling author, with “The Confidence to Succeed” being her most recent release. She is a qualified psychologist, business and life coach and she founded the Women’s Empowerment Summit (www.wesummit.ie). Her academic work has been published nationally and internationally by various faculties, including The American Journal of Psychology and The Irish Psychological Record. She has been endorsed by world leading organisations and has worked with many personal development leaders, including Bob Proctor (The Secret), Mark Victor-Hansen (Chicken Soup for The Soul), Brian Tracy (CEO of Brian Tracy International), Sharon Lechter (Think and Grow Rich for Women and Rich Dad, Poor Dad), Lorel Langemeier (The Secret), Anthony Robbins Foundation. Donna regularly features in national and international media as an expert in the areas of personal and business development.
Donna experienced several challenges in her early years but overcame those challenges against all odds. At one point in her life, her confidence was so low that she was afraid to walk across the street on her own. Now she is a confident woman who says yes to life and embraces opportunity. Having learned from some of the world’s greatest achievers, at age 23 she bought her first investment property and at age 24 she created her first company, turning over a €1,000,000 in the first year. Year-on-year she has gone from strength to strength and is impacting people worldwide with her fresh and unique approach. If you want better results in your life and business, learn from Donna!
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
In my opinion, everyone is born with the potential to be a leader. Whether they reach their potential to lead is largely determined by the environment they are exposed to and the values and beliefs they adopt. When we hear of leadership in modern society we might think of an intelligent well-respected person who has good intention. However, someone who leads a gang that engages in anti-social behaviour is a leader, albeit of something negative. We can lead for good or for bad. It is up to us to choose what we become the leaders of and how we do it. That said, if someone wants to be a leader, they must first decide what and who they want to lead. Once that’s decided it is a matter of creating a vision big enough that their followers want to be part of it.
– A good leader knows what their people need and want. If you want people to join you, listen to what they are looking for and allow them to become part of what you are doing.
– Become passionate about your cause. People will not support someone who doesn’t care about what they do. You must show passion and enthusiasm.
– Encourage people to give their ideas, set goals with them and help them to achieve those goals. It allows them to feel that you value and support their success.
– Appreciate and reward, feeling appreciated is one of the biggest reasons why people stay loyal to a leader. Recognise their good qualities and let them know you appreciate them
If you had to leave your organisation for 1 year what would you ask of your team and what advice would you give them?
People need the presence of their leader or the organisation collapses so I would arrange presence of some kind. In a digital era that’s easy. Zoom in on a broadcast, update on social media platforms etc. I would make sure they all understood the reason they are in the organisation in the first place and how important their role is. I would make sure they understood their role and had a clear positive vision for carrying it out effectively, so they see how important they are to the team. I would make sure that they were rewarded when goals are achieved; reminding them that they are worthwhile appreciated team members. To create momentum is one thing, to maintain it is another. To maintain momentum in anything we must have a bigger enough why and attach positive emotion to it often.
What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years time?
– I am continuing to create an exciting vision that my team want to be part of. I am serving needs and always listen to what people want. I think 10 years ahead so my plan is well laid out. There is always room for flexibility but the goal is clear and everyone gets it. I focus on my team and make sure they are appreciated and well looked after. An organisation is never only about the leader, it is about growing a strong team.
– I look at what’s fresh and what’s outdated. I am continuously looking for ways to improve, ways to refine and ways to add excitement. People by nature, especially in this day and age, get bored easily and they like immediate gratification. You have to keep your eye on the ball for what will make something gratifying in the fastest amount of time and then be prepared to accommodate that.
– I focus on how we can generate more emotion. People do things because of emotion, not reason or logic. People buy people. Product is secondary. If you can stir up enough emotion about your cause, people will follow.
– I look at what people are talking about and I make that part of the plan. I make them part of the plan and sometimes do it publicly for their recognition.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
Most people, if asked this question, would pick a well-known figure in society. It might come as a surprise but my mother, who passed away almost three years ago, is my leader model. She was kind in everything she did and her values were people-centred and solid. I lead for good and she taught me well. I just think of her and what she would do if I ever need a bit of adjustment.
If you could wind back the clock to when you were starting your career what advice would you give yourself?
I would say five things to myself:
1) I am good enough and I do not need to compare myself to anyone else or to how they are doing. Get out of my own way.
2) I have unique qualities and strengths that I must identify and tap into.
3) Look at every resource available and use them wisely.
4) Take consistent actions every day. Never think you know it all or that you’re “made”. Daily action steps are essential.
5) Focus on your team from the get-go and look after them.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
My own of course! However, if I was to pick a solid person for advice and content I would recommend Pat Slattery who happens to be Ireland based. His strategies are action-packed and solution focused. I have worked worldwide with many world leaders and visionaries, people others are in awe of, but I have to say that the glitz and glam is a temporary fix. Being real is key to getting long lasting results for life and business. That requires action that applies to real life. Pat is real. I would also recommend Paul McKenna’s CDs as he is very good when it comes to brain change, Brian Tracy for sales, and The Irish Institute of NLP.