Category Archives: Enlightened Entrepreneurship

Evolving

People and processes

The founder and CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is stepping aside because his combative personality and the culture he created at Uber are no longer in line with the business’s need to be both more stable and predictable and more socially responsible and engaged with the communities where it is operating. His ruthlessly aggressive style has successfully created a ride-sharing industry and grown it to a billion dollar global business, but he had bruised relationships with everyone – employees, drivers, customers, service suppliers, regulators and politicians. Those partners that Uber needs to succeed were instead creating obstacles and seeking more compatible alternatives. It has been clear for some time that change was required at Uber – in leadership, style and processes – if global expansion was to continue. Kalanick finally got the message.

stressed employeeWhat about your business? Are the right people in the right place? Are you?

Has your business evolved beyond the capabilities of the people who got you started? Back then you were looking for energy, enthusiasm, entrepreneurial spirit and people willing to do whatever was required without costing too much. In the early stages, you, your partner and the office manager were all willing and able to do the sales, administration and customer service, make the coffee in the morning and set the alarm at night. The technician was also the shipper-receiver and the receptionist was also secretary and bookkeeper. The business was smaller and life was simpler.

Now you need more specialized expertise with knowledgeable and experienced management all working together effectively using more sophisticated technology and tools for marketing, sales and customer service, managing more employees with widely varied backgrounds, keeping on top of regulatory requirements, running the business on smart phones and keeping systems secure. Even the coffee machine is more complicated and needs a specialist.

Those early employees deserve your loyalty and respect and should have the opportunity to learn and develop into larger roles, but they will not all be capable of evolving in line with the needs of your evolving business. Energy and enthusiasm can only get you so far. (Maybe that helps explain what is holding you back from evolving to the next level in your business.)

You do not have to get as big as Uber before the people and processes that got you started are no longer helping you succeed and grow. Check that your organization has evolved as much as the competitive world around you.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson 

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Manage like a Hockey Mom

But in a good way

hockey-fansIt is that time of year for hockey playoffs and not just in the NHL. It’s always exciting and entertaining and often provides inspiration and ideas for outside the hockey rink.

At a grandson’s recent Peewee AAA hockey tournament in Montreal, the welcome brochure included the Quebec Hockey Association’s Code of Ethics for Parents (also useful for grandparents). In reading it, I realized it could be adapted as a useful guide for business owners and managers. Here is my version.

The Code of Ethics for Entrepreneurs

As a business owner and responsible manager, I recognize that I have the potential and the opportunity to make an important contribution to the personal development and well-being of the individuals who choose to work with me and accept that as a priority over “winning the game”.

I will therefore ensure my conduct continually demonstrates that:

  • I understand that my employees are here for their benefit and pleasure, not mine.
  • I consider winning as part of the pleasure of playing the game; I will not exaggerate the pain of failure; and I will recognize errors as a necessary part of the learning experience.
  • I will respect the efforts and the decisions of the supporters and supervisors and of the outside authorities responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations. I will do my best to understand and accept the rules and regulations applicable to my business.
  • I will recognize good performance on the part of our individual employees, as well as that of our competitors.
  • I accept each individual’s limitations and will not project my own ambitions or unreasonable expectations upon anyone. My expectations will be appropriate to the qualifications and experience of each individual.
  • I will demonstrate and expect from all employees a reflection of the important values of respect, discipline, effort and loyalty.
  • I will not encourage or tolerate any level of personal harassment, conflict or aggressive behavior.
  • I will encourage and support the personal development of the skills and capabilities for every individual.

Good advice from responsible hockey moms. (I do notice that a lot gets ignored during the playoffs when winning is everything, but that’s another issue for a future article. Meanwhile, the hockey analysts are all over it.)

Be better. Do better. As a responsible, enlightened entrepreneur.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Take a break

It’s spring

on-the-beach #2I know it’s blowing snow and -7C in Montreal today, but all the kids and parents are talking about Spring Break, so let’s take apply the concept more generally. Take a break.

Take a break from all the distractions that keep us from making progress on improving our lives, achieving our business objectives, supporting family and friends and making a difference in the world.

Take a break from exaggerated news headlines, from outrageous political rhetoric, from ranting celebrities and activists of all stripes and briefly set aside your concerns for the victims of terrorism, natural disasters, racism and systemic discrimination. Take a break from the business issues that demand attention. Stop trying to manage everything for a week or so, let nature take its course and the markets run where they will. Try not to watch.

Take a break and turn your attention to thoughtful and intelligent commentary from sources you do not normally have time for. Reflect on your own assessment of the big issues. (Then check off a few of the small things you have been neglecting so that you can feel better about accomplishing something useful during the break, instead of just worrying about everything.)

Take a break to assess your personal priorities and time commitments, then re-align your plans to get on track.

I highly recommend regularly taking a break.

Spring or otherwise.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Choosing your response 

Strategic or Operational?

Question-Exec-SummaryEntrepreneurs are by nature action-oriented and they trust their instincts. So they are quick to assess any new challenge and decide on a response immediately. But before leaping into action, it is important to ask yourself an important initial question: It is a strategic issue or operational issue?

The answer will help you make better decisions about both the immediate response and the long-term action required.

Consider this example: You’re about to complete your month-end reports when suddenly your system freezes then crashes and you cannot access the files again. Sounds like a crisis that needs urgent action, right? But before you launch into the operational solutions and call tech support, run the back-up, or install a software patch, ask if there is a strategic issue to be resolved here. Especially if this has happened before.

Have you outgrown the software? Is your hardware sufficiently robust and reliable? Are the staff adequately trained? These are long-term issues that may need to be addressed. The problem may need to be fixed now, but how can we prevent it happening again? What needs to change?

And most importantly, what have we learned that we can apply in response to future challenges.

Keep learning, to be better and do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs

Join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Whose business is it anyway?

frustratedAll these people want a piece of me

You thought you were the owner of the business and did not have to share with anyone else? Sorry, that’s not how it works.

Your business is essentially an economic entity in the social order, but you cannot ignore all the implications for society at large and the expectations of all the other stakeholders who are not shareholders.

Here’s the list: employees, customers, suppliers, and the bank; the landlord, the city, the province or state and federal governments; industry and professional associations, regulatory and environmental authorities. Essentially everyone you work with expects to be paid their fair share and for you to take care of them, their families, the community and the planet.

And of course your friends and family are also counting on you to do well, so you can treat them well. Especially if you still owe them some of that love money that got you started.

Such is life in the real world. Work hard, do well and prosper, but remember your obligations as an enlightened entrepreneur,

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs

Join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.