In this week’s video I explain what to expect when taking a business risk.
Archive for the 'Entrepreneurship' Category
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under heaven.”
On its face, this well-known King Solomon wisdom, from the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, delivers hopeful encouragement. But implicit in this passage is a somewhat hidden, and often troublesome paradox: A time for everything also implies nothing can be forever, and therefore, change is inevitable.
In the abstract, we accept the reality of change, but in practice we regard it like the medicine we know we need, but don’t want to take. And knowing change is inevitable doesn’t make the pill any sweeter.
In the marketplace, it was challenging enough to implement a change when we had the expectation of not having to do it again anytime soon. But in the 21st century, the bitter pill of change has acquired an unfortunate new characteristic: a frighteningly short duration.
Organizations that enjoy consistent success will make change an abiding element in their business model, rather than an intrusion to “the way we’ve always done things.” They’ll create a culture and environment where change can occur whenever necessary, without creating a casualty list.
Rick Maurer, author of “Beyond the Wall of Resistance,” conducted a survey of organizations that have implemented change. He identified four things they did to create a culture compatible with change.
- Make a strong case.
Maurer found that “when change was successful, 95% of the stakeholders saw a compelling need to change.” Change must be accompanied by evidence of its importance. If you can’t make the case, perhaps it’s not the right thing to do — yet.
- Establish the vision.
Maurer’s research indicates 71% of successful changes happened “when people understood the vision of the project.” Stakeholders should see the long-term benefits of change.
- Sustain the changes.
The primary reason for failure, Maurer found, was “inability to sustain the change.” Sustaining change isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon that must endure pressure from many sources and may be the greatest test of leadership.
- Anticipate maintenance.
Successful managers recognize that it’s not in the nature of change to be self-perpetuating.
Change will happen. And if we expect something positive, it probably will be.
Don’t just manage change – lead it.
When you’re trying to implement change, focus can be difficult - My interview with Rick Maurer
In this week’s video I list Dr. Gene Griessman’s 5 common characteristics of high achievement and explain the details of each.
While talking with an attorney friend of mine, our topic of discussion was about professional behavior in the marketplace. She reminded me that attorneys have very specific ethical and professional standards that are published, plus a well developed monitoring organization, complete with sanctioning authority.
The story is quite similar for CPA’s, architects, medical doctors, or any securities representative such as stock brokers, financial planners, etc. Much of the behavioral track these professionals run on is pretty well spelled out for them. Not that the members of these groups need to be led or coerced into good professional behavior. It’s just that, when in doubt, they have published guidelines with which to refer.
Small business owners operate in the same marketplace as the so-called professionals. Indeed, they are often our clients and customers. We serve the same businesses and consumers as other professionals, plus we enter into similar relationships, contracts and agreements. And we often find ourselves perched precariously on the same horns-of-a-dilemma as other professionals. But here’s the difference: The Universal Small Business Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics doesn’t exist.
Small business owners, like all humans, ultimately behave according to their own moral compass, sense of fair play and inclination to deal in good faith. When we find ourselves in a quandary over how to respond to a difficult situation with a customer that is in the gray area of a contract, we’re on our own. When we are faced with an ethical issue that would challenge King Solomon, there is no sanctioning body or support group to dial up, or to whom we can email a “scenario.”
There are many ancient codes small business owners can turn to for behavioral guidance in the marketplace, such as the last three of the Ten Commandments. But in terms of a handy guide, I think philosopher and 1957 Nobel Prize winner for literature, Albert Camus, may have given us the best ethical vector when he wrote, “Integrity has no need of rules.”
Wise small business owners know that life is much simpler, and exceedingly more rewarding, when we just do the right thing.
Ever wonder what makes an entrepreneur decide when to take a risk? Examples of entrepreneurial risk-taking range from the calculated to the fool-hardy.
You’ll never hear me minimize doing due diligence on your entrepreneurial dream. Indeed, an entrepreneur’s hunch without some foundation is like a belt without belt loops. Still, there will come a time when an entrepreneur must take action without all the answers.
And in the not knowing, but going forward anyway, we find the quark of entrepreneurship and the paradoxical twin emotions, apprehension and exhilaration.
These emotions presage possibility: Might be good, might not be; might be successful, might be a train wreck. And contemplating either possibility produces the headrush entrepreneurs get the moment they risk what they know for what they might learn.
The best way to manage these emotions is a two-step process. First, believe in your own ability to take the next step. This confidence comes from gaining knowledge and experience, plus the perspectives of others – like a mentor – who have already been where you want to go.
If you’re having difficulty finding this confidence perhaps your subconscious is sending a message that you have more work to do before you take that next step. But if your credentials and preparation are reasonable and you’re still lacking confidence, perhaps it’s time to risk what you know for what you might learn. And that leads us to the second step, which is about faith.
Faith is defined as a belief in something unseen. You must have faith in yourself to handle future plans. You must have faith that your plans will be flexible enough to deal with the unknown. And you must also have faith in one more thing which may surprise you – serendipity.
My friend, Jim Ballard, author of “Mind Like Water,” says serendipity is “a meaningful coincidence.” Jim thinks the more we expect serendipity the more of it we will find. I think business serendipity is good fortune that happens when you show up in the marketplace with your plan, preparation and faith – every day.
Always research the risk you’re taking, believe in yourself and what you’re creating, and have faith that something good will come from your commitment. But when you take the next risk, be prepared for the possibility that what you get for your efforts might not be what you expect, and for the possibility that this is a good thing.
Expect serendipity whenever you risk what you know for what you might learn.
Be sure to check out Jim Ballard’s page linked below. Jim Ballard is a management consultant, leadership trainer, motivational speaker, and consulting partner with the Ken Blanchard Companies, and author of What’s the Rush? He founded Maudala Press, a direct-mail educational publishing firm, and wrote a series of children’s books and books for teachers on humanistic education.
In this week’s video I list the top 3 reasons why small business owners don’t fund a retirement plan.