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The Leadership Skill Set- Panel at New York Entrepreneurs Week

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M5's CEO, Dan Hoffman, gave a talk yesterday at New York Entrepreneurs Week. The panel talk was on The Leadership Skill Set for Entrepreneurs and Dan shared the stage with three other extremely successful entrepreneurs; Holly Landau, Analisa Balares and Ray Cao. The talk was streamed live on UStream- over the course of the week more than a hundred thousand viewers watched the talk.

The main theme of the talk was what skills it takes to lead and influence small, medium, and large teams, and how these skills can be developed. All the panelists were in agreement that it takes a lot of work on the entrepreneurs part to become a great leader- you can't just assume it will happen on it's own. This means reading, attending trainings, classes and lectures, and having personal mentors you can learn from as you grow.

Ray Cao added a bit of controversy by saying that you can work as hard as you'd like and read as much as you want, but that if you aren't a natural people person you'll never be an inspirational leader. But many of the panelists found the bigger problem to be how to integrate what you read and learn into day to day business. Dan talked about always searching for the best teacher for any given leadership lesson. For instance he took a trip to Zappos just to learn about their culture of transparency. It's easy to be inspired and excited getting great ideas from a new environment. The harder part was when he came back and actually put what he learned into practice through publicly releasing detailed system performance stats.

Their was a great list of inspirational books recommended at the end of the panel- Awake at Work by Michael Carroll, Losing my Virginity by  Richard Branson, The Ultimate Question by Fred Reichheld, Different by Youngmee Moon and pretty much anything by Dale Carnegie.

Overall, a really great group, it would have been easy to listen for another hour.