Women in Business Q&A: Netta Ness, President, The Chance Management Company & SVP Novatrans Group

Netta Ness: The Mission of Manager and Leader Merged and Became One: Create Impact!


An entrepreneur, speaker, and seasoned executive, Netta Ness is the creator of the Chance Management Process. Netta is known for her ability to distill the emotional to the intellectual – integrating trends, patterns and overall potential into innovative strategies.

Netta is the former VP of a hedge firm where she managed the portfolios of clients, stakeholders, and strategic partners. Previously, she headed international business development and strategic communications in diverse industries including OmniGuide Surgical, a technology company based in Cambridge, MA. Additionally, she was responsible for community relations in a number of NGO’s and associate director for APCO World Wide, a strategic consulting firm.


Prowly: What is management for you and how does it differ from leadership?

Netta: Once upon a time, there was a real difference between the role of a leader and the role of a manager. Management was about planning, organizing and coordinating, and leadership was about inspiring and motivating. Then came the 21st century and the mission of a manager and leader merged and became one: create impact! The new manager-leader is an all-inclusive role that entails maximizing efficiency and results, as well as developing and nurturing skills through inspiration and purposeful tasks.

The new manager-leader is an all-inclusive role that entails maximizing efficiency and results, as well as developing and nurturing skills through inspiration and purposeful tasks. A thriving organization is one that succeeds in developing a sense of self-leadership and self-management in each of its employees. In today’s economy, the employee carries a fundamental role in representing the organization and contributing to its growth. Organizations should aspire to turn workers into entrepreneurs in their respective fields and help business units to improve efficiency and productivity. This is done by providing new methods and rewarding tools. The new role of the manager-leader must allow considerable freedom to workers by interfering less, thus enabling every worker to fully realize their potential and act out of a strong sense of accountability, belonging and purpose.

Organizations should aspire to turn workers into entrepreneurs in their respective fields and help business units to improve efficiency and productivity. This is done by providing new methods and rewarding tools. The new role of the manager-leader must allow considerable freedom to workers by interfering less, thus enabling every worker to fully realize their potential and act out of a strong sense of accountability, belonging and purpose.

Bottom line – Management and Leadership are both sides of the same coin valued at the level of motivation to work for the manager or follow the leader and measured by the magnitude of impact.

Prowly: The core skills needed to manage your team – please name them and describe, why they are so important for you?

Netta: Teamwork enables people to advance and express themselves beyond their natural abilities, enabling them to perform and play in bigger “games” than those they can play in on their own.

Building a winning team is not just about selecting smart people; it’s about complementing each other’s strengths and mitigating each other’s weaknesses. Ideas change, products pivot, markets can take unexpected turns, but the right team stands a better chance of holding the company together.

According to the Chance Management™ process for teams, the more diverse the characteristics and skill sets of the team members are, the larger the variety of tasks the team can handle. The challenge of getting the team right with enough variety of skills requires profiling each team member’s skills to optimize the team and its performance and together to maximize the potential of the company.

I see the following core skills as the building blocks of a complete team:

  • Energy and Endurance, Ambition and Motivation, typically found in the entrepreneur who brings tremendous power, resilience, aspirations and vision.
  • Emotional intelligence that is required to provide workers and customers with a high level of emotional maturity, empathy, and sensitivity.
  • Integrity and values required to build trust and recruit investors, clients, etc.
  • Creativity and innovation – “thinking out of the box.”
  • Technical and Analytical skills typically found in the Developers and Engineers in charge of programming and production and “putting the thoughts in the box.”
  • Flexibility and ability to deal well with changes and to administrate and create a systematic order – typically the role of a CEO.
    And in today’s dynamic and volatile world, full of confusing intersections and unpredicted opportunities, having developed the skill of managing chance is mission-critical to accelerate corporate success.

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Prowly: Talking about the delegation: how to delegate effectively?

Netta: Delegation is assigning responsibility and authority to someone in order to complete a defined and agreed upon task while you retain the ultimate responsibility for its success. Team building is the recipe for a company’s success, but it is also the root of tension, conflicts and difficulties in communication. Proper delegation incorporates empowering your teammates through effective leadership, but that is easier said than done.

Emotional intelligence and maturity play a decisive role in successful delegation. Startups, for example, are challenged with successful delegation as they usually evolve with an entrepreneur who leads the way and tends to be “the creative” and often the younger person on board. But when the company reaches a point where an experienced elder (chronologically or mentally) is needed to take charge to grow the company to a real business, it’s not an easy shift.

Successful cooperation between the entrepreneur and the manager requires the understanding that it’s vital for the continuation of the company. In order to make the collaboration work, we help each of them recognize their complementing skills through their profiles.

Prowly: The most effective way of developing your people is…

Netta: Looking for ways to bring out their potential!

The optimization of people and companies is what initially inspired me to embark on a new field after years of serving as Vice President of a hedge firm in the field of risk management.

I realized that the most effective way of creating value was gaining knowledge of one’s potential and understanding their handicaps in order to capitalize on one’s personal and business chances for growth. I know it is common to think of chance as beyond us, but so is risk and it didn’t stop an industry of billions of dollars to be created around it. On a very fundamental level, we can now define, evaluate, measure and manage chance to accelerate personal, professional and corporate success. It starts with profiling, continues with fully understanding the potential, and coming up with a step-by-step plan to make full use of it.

Prowly: There are a number of common mistakes that new managers tend to make… What traps should we avoid?

Netta: Coming from Start-up Nation, I get to work with many entrepreneurs on what I call their major “pathology.” An entrepreneur is the one who starts the company (hence it’s called a startup) with a dream, enthusiasm and aspirations which are a critical starting point. The challenge begins when the company starts evolving and the entrepreneur expects to take the CEO seat, a role that requires a completely different set of skills, less creativity and more order, structure, and ability to manage relations with people; partners, investors and clients.

The inventor is typically a technical wizard, a creative social media geek or the founder of a killer nonprofit idea who wishes to manage, and in most cases it’s a trap to walk around and appoint the right skilled manager for that.

Building the right team becomes a crucial factor in maintaining and growing the company in a technical, financial and human aspect.
New managers should analyze their leading skills and hedge their “handicaps” by attracting and retaining the right people to complement them and help with elevating the company.

The manager’s role is to push employees to make full use of their abilities and attain maximal levels of energy as this will make full use of the entire organization’s potential. Much like the employee and the organization should suit each other; the individual ought to be suited for the job.

Being a successful manager-leader is a constant journey to recharge the energy of the company and its people in a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual way.

The manager must remember that his or her job is a combination of being productive, generating results, generating processes, and being enthusiastic about educating the team while learning from them as well, and demonstrating sensitivity and support to the team when needed.