Neil Prem’s 5 leadership principles

Neil Prem raises up social entrepreneurs and we were delighted to welcome him as our speaker for Leaders Lunch. He shared some of his experiences and gave us five principles he lives his life by and help people to step up and lead.

A photo of Neil Prem with some Cambridge Leadership College students
Neil Prem with some of our students

As head of enterprise engagement for Allia, Neil works with social entrepreneurs, helping them define their mission and act on it. He spoke to our students about his 30 day challenge programme in which people do something every day to pursue their passions. Hundreds of people have taken part and Neil has worked with universities and businesses across the country showing how ideas can make a difference to the lives of others.

Before telling our students about his five life principles, Neil set the scene by telling the Bible story of the Talents, in which a man divides money between his servants before he goes away for a while, and then sees what they have done with it at the end. There are two versions of the story and in Luke’s Gospel, those who invested their Talents well, are given authority over cities. Neil said: “When we do work that aligns with what we’re good at, what matters most and we align it with the problems of the world and we commit to it, it leads to authority over cities.”

Here are his five principles for life, as told to our students.

1. Be prepared

You don’t know when opportunity is going to strike. You don’t know if that’s today, tomorrow, next week, that the greatest opportunity in life may come your way. You need to be prepared all the time. Learning the things you’re learning. Ready for that day when that opportunity may come.

2. Say yes to opportunities

You need to be prepared to say yes to opportunities. The temptation is to think, that opportunity isn’t going to bring the big bucks, that opportunity isn’t going to lead me to be an internet celebrity. But that’s not how it works. You say yes to the opportunity. You are faithful in the little things. You don’t despise that day of small beginnings. When you are faithful in the little you will be given authority over cities.

3. Begin!

So you prepare yourself, you say yes to opportunities. But then thirdly, you start where you’re at. There’ll never be a perfect time to start, isn’t that right with this college? You’ll never have enough money, you’ll never have enough contacts, you’ll never have enough skills, you’ll never be brave enough, so if you understand that right now, you can just say I can start where I am. And I know, you guys get that.

4. Use what you have

Fourth, use what you have. All I had when I started this 30 day challenge was a friendship with the Hub manager and I was able to say, can you help me? That’s all I had. I had no connections outside of that but I’m like, you know what, I will just go and ask for help.

5. Do what you can

And then lastly, do what you can. And this is where the magic happens. If you can figure out, you know what, I will just do the one thing I know that I can do right now, go and do it to the best of your ability, and what I learned, a trick from Tom last year, he said to me, you know what Neil, set a goal, go and take some action towards it, then have a cup of tea, and ask yourself, what results did I get from the action. Did it take me closer to where I wanted to go? Then set another goal, sleep, eat, repeat. I’m like the man’s a genius.

So prepare yourselves, because you never know when an opportunity is going to start. When opportunities come your way, say yes to them. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can, because the world has need of your passion.

  • Leaders Lunch takes place at Cambridge Leadership College every Friday. The students cook for our guest, we enjoy a meal together and hear about their life.

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