Black & Blue Leadership

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Small business owners and operators invariably run their businesses –and practice human resource, industry/profession, and community leadership– by trial and error. The trade-off for not following all the latest corporate mumbo-jumbo leadership trends and fads, and time-consuming “time-proven” techniques is instantaneous adjustment.

That translates into what Grandpa always used to say was the most desirable of all business traits: “being able to turn on a dime.” Of course Grandpa ran a five and ten-cent store and could hardly have known that in 2012, no one would much care about a meager dime. It won’t even make a phone call or (Thanks to Starbucks) pay for a cup of coffee anymore.

Only by being able to ‘turn on a dime,’ or ‘shift gears quickly,’ can a business adapt to rapid market changes without skipping a beat. This, of course, may not be so critical an asset for an insurance broker, as for a retailer… or for a repair shop, as it might be for web design or writing services, as just a couple of examples.”


Nonetheless, all the big-time, extravagant methods that corporate muckity-mucks use to justify their existences with overkill assessment processes –from weeks worth of focus groups to statistical analysis paralysis— don’t add up to anything close to what can be achieved with the entrepreneurial respond-adjust/trial-and-error method.

This is not to suggest that all leadership decisions should be seat-of-0the-pants, knee-jerk, shoot-from-the-hip reactions. It is rather to say that the amount of time it takes to plan and analyze every step tends to be proportionally related to failed decision making.

Leaders lead by leading.


No one was ever a successful business leader who spent inordinate amounts of time and energy studying past actions and events, and then planning and worrying about the future.

What separates entrepreneurial success from corporate lethargy is acting out possibilities on the spot, making adjustments on the fly, taking reasonable risks, and living most of the time in the present, here-and-now moment.

Entrepreneurs are invested in making their ideas work, instead of covering their butts and justifying decisions.

Trial and error may produce some black and blue bruises along the way, and probably a great many more than your big-business counterpart will encounter while slogging along through the white shirt and tie quagmire. When the focus is here and now, there’s no time to dwell on errors or worry about where you’re going.

Flexible goals? Yes! Stifling long-term plans? No! . . . Think it. Try it. Do it. Adjust it. Do it again. Make it happen.

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Hal@Businessworks.US Thanks for visiting and God Bless You! 

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