Jun 07 2012

Black & Blue Leadership









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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Dec 23 2008

“High Trust” Delivers A Strong Economy? It’s Time!



     Staying with the “Low Trust” issue raised in yesterday’s post, have you noticed recent responses to this red flag? 

     I have.  There’s a sudden proliferation of “Trust Us!” and “Trust This!” marketing messages (even from the usually unsavvy Better Business Bureau with its “Start With Trust” branding theme) being used –wishfully, hopefully– to ring out the old and ring in the new.

     That’s great, businesspeople . . . the wishing and hoping . . . but without some substance to back up the slogans, you’re just digging the hole deeper.  Why?  The public is tired of lip-service.  Can you blame them? 

     Customers and consumers alike (note ther’re not always the same!) are looking for businesses to do business with that give solid performances, and that maintain solid track-records for having consistently EARNED trust and confidence. 

     Buyers have learned the hard way to be more selective.  Enough with all the politics and empty political promises!  The public is fed up with companies that claim to be “green” at their front doors while dumping ill-treated wastewater out their back doors into neighboring rivers and streams, then pass along increases to customers for the cost of upgrading waste treatment. 

     The public is sick of (and from) wake-up-in-the-morning coughs delivered to respiratory systems by subdued-in-appearance power plants that placate daytime observers by claiming to be technologically advanced as they spew toxic fumes into the night skies. 

     And these are of course the same entities that wage relentless battles with alternative energy proposals that will force them to clean up their acts.  You know who they are.  They’re also the ones who never hesitate to pass any expense increases they’re forced to comply with along to their customers.

     Talking about being trustworthy and earning trust are two different things.  One’s an inexperienced schmoozer; the other co-pilots your jet!  Customers want to deal with businesses that walk the walk!

     Trust and ethics go hand-in-hand, but ethics go beyond behavioral benchmarks into life and attitude value systems. 

     I work with a solid client company in a shaky industry.  In what is generally considered a fast-paced, fly-by-night industry (we’ll stay with the airplane metaphor), where average career tenure is generally measured in months, my client has employees who’ve celebrated 20 and 30-year anniversaries by keeping in step and up to speed, and earning public trust along the way. 

     How do career tenures like these translate to the public-at-large? 

     Stability.  Reliability,  Honesty.  (Ah, there it is.  Businesses that cultivate long-term employee relationships are regarded by most of us as “high trust.”) 

     But, wait!  There’s more.  These veteran employees have also built a reputation for community involvement and charitable support.  They are the same businesspeople who spearhead local fundraising campaigns, who donate generously of their time and money to needy organizations in the towns and cities that support their business interests. 

     Oh, so it’s a give and take scenerio?  No.  It’s a do-your-work-as-honestly-and-diligently-as-you-can-and-respect-the-community-you-do-your-work-in scenerio.  It breeds trust.  Trust breeds sales.  Sales breed profits.  Profits breed success.  Success breeds a strong enonomy.  It’s time.    halalpiar   

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