Monthly Archive for July, 2014

A mistake’s value depends upon lesson learned

Mistakes are worth contemplating, and yet we often don’t.  The reason, I think, is because it hurts a little to focus on them.  It’s not fun to see ourselves that way.  Mistakes are definitely not ego food.

But there is something very important to remember about mistakes: not focusing on them can ultimately be more painful.  

In Tom Feltenstein’s inspiring book, Uncommon Wisdom, I found this quote from Michel de Montaigne,” Those things are dearest to us that have cost us the most.”  Think he’s talking about mistakes?  I do.  Do you think of your mistakes as dear?

If you don’t contemplate your mistakes and learn from them, you are subjecting yourself to double jeopardy. Because today you will not only make the new mistakes we are all destined to make as we go through life, but you are also doomed to repeat the old ones you should have learned from yesterday.

Whether your mistakes are valuable or expensive depends on whether you contemplate and learn from them, or deny and keep on paying for them.  I think paying for a mistake once is dear enough, don’t you?

What the Tour de France and small business have in common

With 21 stages ridden over 23 days-some almost 150 miles long-navigating cobblestones, assaulting at least two mountain ranges and dealing with thousands of over-enthusiastic crowds, the Tour de France bicycle race is arguably the most grueling of all sporting competitions.

Here are four reasons why competing in the Tour is like running a small business.

1. Team structure
Tour participants are part of 22 sponsored teams of about 25 members, and each have individual roles to play. Some members are supportive non-riders and some are riders whose primary role is to protect and push their leader. But all work together to meet team performance goals, including getting their leader on the podium at the end of the day or the end of the race. Sounds a lot like a small business, doesn’t it?

Since every day in a small business can be like a mountain stage on the Tour-peaks and valleys-success requires the ability to motivate your team to work together effectively. A smart leader knows that sustaining successful teamwork requires sharing the recognition so the team doesn’t mind if you’re the one on the podium.

2. Communication
Competing in the Tour is like running 21 marathons in 23 days while simultaneously playing a chess match. So each team member has to understand his role in the overall strategy.

Even if you have the best business strategy in the world it must be communicated to your small business team so every member understands their role in the organization’s plan to achieve success.

3. Preparation
All you have to do is watch a Tour de France cyclist in a mountain stage to see successful preparation. These guys have turned their bodies into human spring steel as they become one with their bikes.

The small business equivalent is to learn as much as you can about operating your business, your industry, the competition, and especially, your customers. Since your team also needs to know these things, prepare them by investing in training and practice.

4. Technology
Tour de France teams certainly leverage technology, including high-tech bikes, customized chase vehicles, on-course communication tools, etc.

One of the keys to success for small businesses in the 21st century is leveraging technology.  If you want to stand in the winner’s circle you MUST find ways to use technology to make existing systems more efficient as well as help you take advantage of new opportunities.

Write this on a rock … Small businesses can learn a lot from the Tour de France teams.

VIDEO: Are you practicing Age of the Customer prospecting rules?

The rules of prospecting have changed and control of the primary elements have shifted along with it. As the Age of the Seller is replaced with the Age of the Customer®, it’s more important than ever to prepare for the moment of relevance. Are you ready?

Click the link below or click the image to begin the video.

Are you practicing Age of the Customer prospecting rules? from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.

Small business owners have Founders’ spirit and drive

The date was September 19, 1796. In his farewell address to the nation, in which he declined to serve a third term as president, George Washington gave us a name, a distinction and a bond.

“The name American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”

Photo courtesy of SmallBizTrends

Photo courtesy of Small Biz Trends

Sounds like small business owners, doesn’t it?  We’re like America’s Founders: We fight for our independence every day. Our common cause is self-determination, and our joint councils are the relationships and communities we build.

The dangers we face are not usually as life threatening as those of the American revolutionaries, but other than our lives, we put everything else on the line.

Washington said the name American should exalt the pride of patriotism. For American entrepreneurs, that name exalts the spirit of pride, independence and excellence.

President Washington would be proud of you and you should be proud of yourself.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

The Four Levels of Performance Consciousness

Ever wonder why some people are effective in their work while others aren’t?  The answer may be found in their consciousness. But it’s about being aware, not just awake.

Take a look at the four levels of performance consciousness.

1. Unconscious Incompetent
The Unconscious Incompetent doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. He’s also called a DK2, which is short for, “don’t know, squared.” He’s not only incapable but actually clueless about his inability.

In truth everyone is a DK2 from time to time. The challenge is to not live our lives as one because DK2 is a terminal professional condition. But if you’re thinking, “Oh, Great One! Please, stop me before I DK2 again,” don’t fret; we’ll get to that.

Photo courtesy of Impact Learning

Photo courtesy of Impact Learning

Don’t envy the Unconscious Competent because not knowing how you got where you are is one of the definitions of lost. Any resulting success is also likely to be temporary.

3. Conscious Incompetent
This person is incapable and knows it. There’s no ego about what he thinks he knows and no resistance to your methods and practices. A Conscious Incompetent is an amorphous block of disciple clay waiting to be molded by you, the sculptor.

Be careful. Sometimes this person wallows in his condition as an excuse for non-performance. Conscious Incompetence should be a temporary condition on the way to the ultimate level of consciousness.

4. Conscious Competent
This person gets the job done and knows why. She can identify what causes success while being fully aware—and taking ownership—of failures.

How do you become a Conscious Competent? Through a practice called self-analysis.

Self-analysis allows us to see what we do well and capitalize on it, as well as recognize and evaluate what we don’t do well and improve or minimize it. It’s not easy because it requires control of our egos.

Ego obstructs self-analysis by telling us that any success we have is because we’re so smart, while assuring us that any failures we experience couldn’t be our fault. Successful self-analysis is part of a conscious plan for professional improvement.

By practicing self-analysis, Conscious Competents discover the enduring benefits of being honest with themselves about their own performance.

Write this on a rock… If professional excellence were a mountain, Conscious Competence would be its peak.

VIDEO: Acquire and create intangible assets for your small business IP Strategy

I recommend every business have an IP strategy, but how do you acquire those intangible assets for yours? You can think of both kinds of assets — tangible and intangible — as a new way to succeed and draw in customers. After all, it is the Age of the Customer.

Click on the link below or on the image to start playing the video.

Acquire and create intangible assets for your IP Strategy from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.

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