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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May 02 2012

Past/Present/Future: Where are you most?

If the past sits in judgment


of the present,


will  the future be lost?


I heard a twist of this (the headline above) on the radio recently. I can’t tell you when or where or who, but it rang a bell. Is it just my imagination or do we too often –in life and in business– get ourselves caught up in over-analyzing what went wrong and what went right in order to decide what we should be doing today? Some of my earlier posts called it ANALYSIS PARALYSIS.

Contrary to many popular beliefs, over-analyzing is not a symptom of entrepreneurship.

We live (men especially) in an analytical world. We watch instant TV sports replays in slow motion and stop action in order to know down deep in our souls whether the ball actually touched the ground before it was caught, or while it was caught, or after it was caught. I mean, like who could possibly sleep without a satisfying answer to that nagging question?

Probably, an entrepreneur. Okay, well, there are entrepreneurs and there are psychopreneurs!

Those who are unfortunate enough to have to make a living working for the government or some mega corporation probably spend half their careers taking apart research reports and study findings looking for clues about what happened or didn’t happen last month, last quarter, last year, last decade . . . in order to adjust a present course of action.

Entrepreneurs make adjustments on the fly. If they’re wrong, they adjust the adjustment and try again.

Most corporate and government managers, for instance, weigh risks then use analytics to justify not taking them. Who in their right mind, for example, would want to make waves that could topple the corporate ladder she or he is climbing?

Entrepreneurs take reasonable risks (which rarely if ever includes climbing political ladders). Entrepreneurs will bet their profits, but they won’t bet their farms. They will start a new side business, but they won’t visit casinos or stuff their pockets with lottery tickets — those are not reasonable risks.

The problem of course is that the more we tend to assess who did what to whom and what broke when and why the horse we led to water didn’t drink, the farther away we get from moving forward, from innovating, from controlling our own destinies, from making the differences each of us wants to make in this world.

Entrepreneurs, by virtue of how they think and act, and choose to believe, represent society’s real catalysts for change. Maybe they do work harder and not smarter, but they get things done. They alone drive the economy. They alone represent the opportunities that government and corporate giant environments fail to breed.

Entrepreneurs move constantly forward into the future while focusing on the present.

When you find product or service you like, that works the way it’s supposed to and is economical to boot, know that it was likely created and cultivated without excessive analysis . . . and thank an entrepreneur.

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