From core value to thought leadership

February 27, 2015

Profile Picture Bobby Umar

Bobby Umar has a unique charm. He has high energy and strikes people with his humour, straightforwardness, and wits. Founder of Raeallan and expert in leadership development, Bobby helps lost leaders to discover their core values and develop their leadership within. His message is widely spread through social media, published books, conferences, coaching sessions, and public lectures.

“For a start-up, leadership is about being of service, solving problems, and finding a way to impact the world.“ Bobby says energetically. This sounds terrific to me, so where do I start?

Discover your core value

“What is your value?” Bobby cuts right through, “As an entrepreneur, if you do not know what your value is, you do not know anything else.” This is one of the hardest questions in the world.

Prior to starting Raeallan, Bobby was let go by an organization. “I tried, but it did not seem that I fit the corporate mold.” As a result, he initiated an online feedback process and asked what people thought he should do while he took several assessments with a professional transition company.

He learned speaking and training are his talents and that he is very entrepreneurial, enjoys breaking rules, dislikes structure and process, and loves people. He then shaped his personal brand with four themes: love people, nurture and help people, love to perform, and love to persuade and influence others. Bobby hasn’t looked back since.

“We all feel lost at times. It is ok to feel lost, yet it is not ok to do nothing about it”. He endeavours to help people find their ways and know what their value is. From there on, you need to be open to new ideas including people’s feedback. “I am big on feedback,” Bobby says, “twice a year I have to reflect on what I am doing.”

How feedback creates thought leadership

The core question is: why should you accept feedback? Bobby explains there are three possible decisions that follow:

  1. Accept the feedback, leverage it, and make necessary changes
  2. Determine why it is a good feedback but not appropriate for the current situation
  3. Dismiss the feedback, resolve and know why it is not an issue

Entrepreneurs can be too absorbed with their own ideas and stop listening to others’ perspectives. Changes are hard for anyone, yet leveraging feedback and new ideas is a must-learn lesson for all entrepreneurs. You must always question what you are doing, what did you do wrong, and how can you do better.

The ability to respond to changes quickly equips you with advantages to differentiate yourself in the market. Building a thought leadership brand is the key to success. “Every start-up has an opportunity to build a brand of thought leadership. Whatever your business is, be the thought leader in the industry, set yourself apart from the others.” Bobby says. For instance, if you want to be the top three table makers in the industry, be mindful of what you sell, how you serve, and how to make yourself different from other table makers.

Be rigorous about the routine and use your time and energy wisely

Rome was not built in one day and no successful business was built in one day. Be rigorous about your daily routine and get stuff done to drive business forward. This is why you, the entrepreneur, must invest in understanding your “why”. This tells you why you are doing what you are doing, your pain points, the problems you are trying to resolve, and who your target is. Bobby summarizes, “This is what helps you know where to focus your time and energy on.”

Collaboration is the way to get things done better

Instead of fighting alone, Bobby states the importance of collaboration. “Together we thrive and do more things than what we can do ourselves, [this is] particularly [true] for single/social entrepreneurs.” This resonates with Kaleidoscope’s founding value and belief in the power of collaboration.

Entrepreneurs feel like they have to do everything by themselves, yet no one is perfect. “People will help if you are vulnerable and courageous enough to say ‘you know what, I am lost, please help me’,” Bobby says confidently. You never know what will happen. Extend the network, bring someone on board, do an event together. Collaboration gets things happening, moving forward and generally done better.

Through his life, his mentors have been his dad, his brother, and the village of people who raised him to who he is now. Lucky to have abundant guidance in his life path, Bobby now seeks mentors who can help him grow professionally. “I met my first official mentor in 2013 at a conference. He is someone I admire, I would like to emulate, funny and engaging, and who does business the way I want to.” Knowing clearly what he wants, and what kind of help he needs, Bobby proactively reaches out and secures himself a valuable mentor.

Word for 2015: Happiness

“Happiness is how I define success. I enjoy my work, my family, and my life” Bobby smiles widely. Having been reflective and responsive to changes, his business has been evolving and growing stronger.

In 2015, he has three major projects. Taking people through the high-end Networking Mastery coaching program that he recently launched, completing his second and third networking books, and organizing the “Discover Personal Brand” conference in August. To follow Bobby’s energetic steps moving forward, catch him on Twitter and Facebook, visit his website, or read his book.


Ting-Yu Wei

Ting-Yu Wei is Kaleidoscope’s Business Resource Writer. She lights up whenever she hears a good idea and loves to get people connected for idea development. Her roles as a sales representative, a lecturer in developing countries, along with an Schulich MBA allow her to engage in social enterprise development, impact investing and youth entrepreneurship training. Find Ting-Yu on LinkedIn.