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The 4 Lessons I Learned From Queen Elizabeth

This is a reprint of my article on

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With the bittersweet conclusion of Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign, the lessons of Elizabeth's leadership as sovereign cannot be minimalized. Elizabeth was thrust onto the throne, untethered and relatively untrained. She inherited a multi-dimensional position as sovereign of her country and the figurehead of the Commonwealth of Nations. For seven decades, Elizabeth forged her way through triumph, tragedy and trauma, yet experienced exponential growth and unrivaled admiration.

As an entrepreneur, it is with a keen eye that we must glean through the thicket of immense experiences Elizabeth forged. As a business owner, lessons on her leadership hold a dynamic approach to how we must conduct our business. Queen Elizabeth understood that her platform was as a visionary. Her platform was not focused on immediate gratification, yet it was positioned to weather volatility. Her Majesty understood the power of playing the long game.

1. Keep calm and carry on

As an entrepreneur, we are subjected to wild rides of instability, growth, and innovation. Elizabeth ascended to the throne through an unexpected turn of events. Her uncle Edward resigned, leaving Elizabeth's father the hesitant heir to the throne. Elizabeth began her young adulthood not positioning herself as one of the most powerful figureheads in the world. Instead, she was swept up in a passionate marriage to Philip, a swashbuckling naval officer who gallantly provided adventure and normalcy for the young princess.

At age 26, while on an official tour of Kenya, Princess Elizabeth became Queen. Her father died at an early age, and in his last heartbeat, she became sovereign. With the stoicism of her forefathers, she embraced her duties and became, perhaps, the most famous working mother on the planet. Elizabeth understood the importance of duty and securing the legacy of the crown.

The lesson learned is that while we, as entrepreneurs, are faced with incredible highs and lows, we must maintain an equilibrium. We must understand the prioritization of duties and carry them out to our fullest capacity. Riding the wave of the unknown and having the tenacity to maintain the clarity of the mission is essential for long-term growth and success.

2. Never complain, never explain

Legend has it that the motto of the Windsor Family is, "Never Complain, Never Explain." This credo speaks to the strength in leadership as the cornerstone of being the beacon for our brand. Queen Elizabeth was the brand of the United Kingdom. She was steadfast and consistent and did not dabble in frivolities, political alliances and hearsay.

When modern leaders are often swept up in the diversions of drama, conducting themselves in a discretionary manner and surrounding themselves with trusted advisors creates an ecosystem of respect. It is important to monitor your brand's presence and be consistent in the messaging you wish to illicit.

3. Adapt to change

The Queen's reign spanned seven decades which weaved in and out of social, political and personal changes. Her career timeline shadows a documented history aligned with public adoration and dipped into sheer dislike.

Her accession was baptized in the bleak austerity of a post-war reality and morphed into the glamour and youth that inaugurated her position as a sovereign. Elizabeth, in the 90s, fell subject to deep distaste for the stoic leader unable to connect with her country after the death of Princess Diana. Ultimately, her legacy was built upon her steadfast ability to adapt during challenging times.

Queen Elizabeth's popularity weaved in and out of satisfaction, adoration and complacency. Her ability to ascertain her empire's trends, needs and desires kept her a steady presence in the consciousness of her brand's consumption.

This adaption is equally as important to entrepreneurs navigating fluctuations in their business. A solid business model should have the underpinnings to support turbulent markets, trends and socio-economic changes. It is important to understand your business's long-term vision and viability and be flexible in how you approach your brand's positioning.

4. Train your predecessors

Building a business is an arduous task and can feel isolating. You must have a backup plan and a predecessor who understands the mission and vision of your business. Queen Elizabeth, with diligence, strategically mentored and trained her heirs apparent. Elizabeth instinctively understood that the monarchy's viability rested not only upon her shoulders but on the shoulders of her heirs, Charles, William and George. With precision, the most recent royal optics portrayed her successors as strong and capable members of the firm.

Elizabeth's extensive tenure as monarch lent her the ability to train and mentor future monarchs. She forged exclusive time to coach them on the responsibilities they were expected to complete. Elizabeth understood, through experience, that it was her duty to pass the torch to the following generations.

As with entrepreneurs, it is essential to carve out valuable time to mentor and teach your team so they have the tools to facilitate your business's ultimate mission and goals. Queen Elizabeth's legacy and lessons will live on for generations to follow. Her leadership has provided a formidable roadmap for leaders worldwide.

Learn more about my obsession with all things branding, business and Queen Elizabeth!


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