Decisions require clarity and courage, not confidence. Ali Nasser, founder and CEO of AltruVista, describes how he approaches opportunity, leadership dos and don’ts and the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face. Ali’s story exemplifies how new leaders are created through hands-off guidance and the right environment.
Ali loves helping people solve problems. When he entered the financial industry 17 years ago, he quickly realized that it was broken. It did not align with the best interests of clients. That realization led him to found AltruVista, an advisory firm catered to business owners and entrepreneurs who outgrew traditional financial guidance.
Make Decisions with Clarity
Like many booming entrepreneurs, Ali excels at seeing a crisis as an opportunity instead of a danger. Opportunities prompt decisions and Ali says decisions often bring fear. He has found that when fear of making a decision keeps recurring, it’s usually a sign that it’s time to take a leap of faith and follow it.
[12:01] “So many people get caught up in confidence, confidence, confidence. But I think [decisions] are all about clarity and courage.”
Leaders Give Employees Space
Ali recalls one of his first experiences of good leadership when he thought that his boss in college was somewhat aloof. In reality, he was giving Ali the space to become a leader. Rather than micromanaging, his boss would ask Ali how he could support him. That led Ali to clarify what his goals within the company were and hone his visionary skills.
Leadership Dos and Don’ts
In order to lead a team well, Ali believes entrepreneurs must:
- Lead by example
Good leaders must be anchored in their vision and flexible in their approach. Using a hands-off technique with employees teaches them to be self-sufficient and independent leaders. At the same time, Ali cautions against rugged individualism in a company. When business owners refuse to relinquish responsibilities, their employees and businesses struggle. Striking this balance between taking responsibility and smart delegation is key.
Ali emphasizes that part of letting go as a leader also means working to gain inner peace and investing in personal development.
[24:52] “I find that when you let go of something, if you don’t have something else to hold on to . . . you’ll just go into [a] tailspin.”
Widening the Field of Vision
Ali compares entrepreneurship to shooting a rifle. When you’re so focused on the target, you lose perspective of everything in the periphery. Likewise, when entrepreneurs keep all their assets locked in their business without diversifying, they can’t see how risky their control becomes.
[30:08] “One of the single biggest challenges and opportunities with entrepreneurs is that they don’t see their position based on their current situation. They see their position based on where they started.”
Ali says visionary entrepreneurs tend to have between 70-99% of their net worth tied up in one company. He urges the leaders he coaches to look at more than their balance sheet. If you don’t know the value of the assets you have accumulated or what you want out of life, you’re going to become stuck in mediocrity.