Category Archives: Enlightened Entrepreneurship

Cultural sensitivity  

Tread carefully     

It seems to be a pandemic side effect. Everyone has exhausted their tolerance with all the  minor annoyances and the reaction on bigger issues may be exaggerated or extreme. Tread carefully. Nerves are exposed, fuses are short, anger and frustration are bubbling close to the surface.

You may think it’s over reaction or hyper-sensitivity to something insignificant and unimportant. You never intended to be insensitive and are not unaware of current social issues, but you might also recognize the symptoms in your own reaction to what someone else would consider insignificant and unimportant. Expect strong reactions to perceived insults, insensitivity, or neglect.

Using politically correct language and media approved acronyms or hashtags, like #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, or BIPOC, is not enough. It is too casual, too easy, and a too convenient dismissal of white privilege. It’s a lazy claim to being “woke,” without actually doing anything to change attitudes or behaviour.

We need to make the effort to create change. It takes more than repeating popular slogans or using all the right words to make progress on the issues of racism, equality, diversity, and inclusion. Seek to understand, listen and learn, before trying to dismiss, defend, explain, persuade or apologize. Pay attention, it’s a minefield. There may be casualties.

Old-fashioned politeness and respect for individual differences are a good start. Necessary, but not sufficient.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com

Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

The Enlightened CEO

Obviously  

Most outspoken critics of CEOs are lazy. They find an easy target in the stereotypical greedy, selfish CEO, and they shout their loud accusations. Unfortunately, some of those CEOs are easily found and they are equally lazy about explaining or defending themselves.

As my mother used to tell me, “Don’t confuse them with the facts, they’ve already made up their mind.” But I keep trying.

Most CEOs, business owners and successful entrepreneurs didn’t get there because they’re ignorant of the requirements to stay successful. Many of their critics and self-proclaimed pontificators of the new rules for “people and the planet before profits,” make it sound simple and obvious, but are more arrogant and ignorant of how difficult and complicated it really is to be successful as an Enlightened CEO.

My definition of Enlightened Entrepreneurship:  Building a sustainable business based on loyal, long-term, profitable customer relationships while recognizing and respecting the needs of Employees, Customers, Business Partners, Communities, Society and the Planet.

Obviously, focusing on short-term profit is a formula for long-term failure. Obvious to me and to you, but it does require explaining, to some CEOS, business owners and entrepreneurs, and to their critics. It’s worth trying.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Pandemic notoriety: Naughty or Nice?

Which list are you on?

 (This article is based on the ideas in Uncle Ralph’s books for entrepreneurs, DON'T DO IT THE HARD WAY & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans.

“Awesome! What a profit opportunity!”

Probably not what you will be reading in the press releases.

It will be all about the socially responsible entrepreneur, pivoting and showing remarkable resilience and creativity. Re-aligning research and manufacturing processes toward the production of face masks, hand sanitizers, personal protection devices, ventilators, emergency care facilities and Covid-19 vaccines.

Companies in the right place at the right time, like Amazon, FedEx, Pfizer and Uber all exploited the unprecedented opportunities of the global pandemic. Their billionaire owners and the happy shareholders saw unexpected jumps in revenue and profits while so many other businesses were devastated in the retail, hospitality, travel and entertainment industries.

But, since “exploited” and “profits” are dirty words, if not cardinal sins, to many people, did these companies end up on the Naughty List? Or did they do well by doing good as enlightened entrepreneurs are supposed to do. What about the businesses that failed to make the most of a good crisis?  They’re now on the naughty list of both their unemployed workers and their unhappy shareholders.

It’s been a challenging test for us all. As business owners and as customers and consumers, we now have to live with the consequences.

Which list are you on?

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

The Beginning of the End

We’re not there yet

(This article is based on the ideas in Uncle Ralph's DON'T DO IT THE HARD WAY & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans, 2020 Editions) 

I’m feeling safer, and closer to the end of the pandemic effects on life and business after receiving my first dose of the Moderna vaccine for Covid-19 this week. (Old-timers first! Thank you for allowing us the first shots.)

The good news arriving with 2021 keeps on getting better as we start to return to normal this year.  But we’re not there yet – in Montreal, my favourite coffee shop is still closed, breakfast and lunch stops are take-out only, the curfew still restricts any evenings out and social contact is still constrained to small groups, wearing masks and keeping their distance.

These may all be signs of the new normal for post-Covid-19 after the global war on the pandemic has ended. (If it ever does.) Like the new security measures after post-9/11 and the global war on terrorism, we will have new security measures against deadly contagious disease everywhere. Not just for getting on airplanes or entering foreign countries, but for entering bars and restaurants, live concerts and sporting events, enjoying museums, libraries and movie theatres.

Have you noticed what’s changed and what we’ve learned together?

  • A new awareness of our shared responsibility to take care of each other. And the need to listen and understand before trying to change the behaviour of those who disagree because of ignorance, fear, selfishness, anger or ideology.
  • A greater sense of urgency for fixing the social services network and supporting our front-line health care workers and first responders.
  • A heightened appreciation of the importance to our health and welfare of maintaining close personal relationships with friends and family, neighbours, associates and colleagues.
  • A better understanding of the need to tell the truth; to be a critical and skeptical listener; and, to engage in civil discussion of ideas and issues with those outside our usual circle of friends and fellow travelers.

What can we really expect of the new normal?

  • Innovative, creative and ambitious entrepreneurs continuing to respond with effective solutions.
  • Increasing adoption of new technologies and digital, online services in all areas of our lives; from work and recreation to education and entertainment.
  • Better regulation and oversight of the technology giants who dominate social media and control our access to, and sharing of, information both public and personal.
  • Better choices made by socially aware customers and consumers to support businesses, products and services that meet responsible, ethical and moral standards to protect people and the planet.

Can we be hopeful and optimistic? Yes.

Will we be among the intelligent, caring and compassionate, rational human beings who allow us all to be better and do better together? Yes, let’s do that too.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Are we there yet?

Back to Normal

 (This article is based on ideas in Uncle Ralph's DON'T DO IT THE HARD WAY & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans, 2020 Editions

The surrounding political drama and pandemic crisis continue to preoccupy us, but we do expect that life and business will return to normal later this year.  Not the old normal we are missing so badly, but the new post-Trump, post-pandemic normal.

Things have changed, permanently. Like post-9/11, we have new threats to our health and security and new ways of managing the risks and preventing further damage to our way of life.

So what’s changed and what have we learned?

  • A new awareness of our shared responsibility to take care of each other. And the need to change the behaviour of those who disagree because of ignorance, fear, selfishness, anger or ideology.
  • A heightened appreciation of the importance to our health and welfare of maintaining close personal relationships with friends and family and of actively supporting our networks of friends and neighbours, associates and colleagues.
  • A better understanding of the need to tell the truth; to be a critical and skeptical listener; and, to engage in civil discussion of ideas and issues with those outside our usual circle of friends and fellow travelers.

What can we really expect of the new normal?

  • Innovative, creative and ambitious entrepreneurs continuing to respond with better solutions.
  • Increasing adoption of the virtual world, new technologies and digital, online services in all areas of our lives; from work and recreation to education and entertainment.
  • Better regulation and oversight of the technology giants who dominate social media and control our access to, and sharing of, information both public and personal.
  • Better choices made by socially aware customers and consumers to support businesses, products and services that meet responsible, ethical and moral standards to protect people and the planet.

Can we be hopeful and optimistic?

Should we worry about the looney, left-wing radical socialists who want the government to take control? No.  Will the radical right-wing militant conservatives succeed in taking over our government? No.

Can we count on intelligent, caring and compassionate, rational human behaviour that allows all of us to be better and do better together? Yes.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Are you ready for post-Covid?

 The new era of life and business after this pandemic period is coming soon

 (This article is based on ideas from Uncle Ralph’s Random Ramblings in DON’T DO IT THE HARD WAY - 2020 Edition)

Even in the current period of Covid pandemic protocols that are actually getting stricter, there is still optimism that vaccines will be available early in 2021 and we’ll start the transition to the new world of post-Covid-19 by March. Maybe get back to more tolerable social lives and business activities by May. Maybe September?

Regardless of the timetable, the first requirement, of course, is to stay healthy and financially secure until then. Hopefully, you can count on that from your own resources or from the temporary government support to help get us to the next phase. We’re all being required to overcome new challenges and the pandemic frustrations have heightened anxiety and stress for everyone.  It’s impossible to ignore the legitimate fears and the strains on our support systems, health care and otherwise.

Here are some ideas to consider as you meet the challenges of the current pandemic and plan ahead for the post-Covid era:

Play safe. Take care of each other – family and friends and your customers, employees and associates. These are challenging times and you can be among the Enlightened Entrepreneurs who will lead the way.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Author Interview with Bernie Landry

More than you were ever going to ask about Del Chatterson, author of the Dale Hunter Series of crime thriller novels and, as your Uncle Ralph, author of new 2020 Editions of his business books for entrepreneurs.

Here's the whole story!

 

Covid Customer Service - Part 3

(This article is based on extracts from Uncle Ralph’s Random Ramblings in DON’T DO IT THE HARD WAY - 2020 Edition)

Be respectful 

In this period of Covid pandemic protocols we are all being required to overcome new challenges to deliver outstanding customer service. The pandemic frustrations have heightened anxiety and stress for everyone. Neither customers nor employees are in no mood for tolerating new annoyances.

Customer service has always been the ultimate test for evaluating enlightened entrepreneurship and choosing our suppliers and business partners, brands, products and services accordingly.

It starts with respecting differences in perspectives, expectations and experiences. The with respecting differences in opinions, sources of information and conclusions by contradictory experts.

Play by the rules  

But we cannot respect or tolerate defiance of normal social norms, politeness and public health regulations. We must accept the rules of engagement determined by those in authority responsible for balancing the risks and the impacts. Individual rights and freedoms do not over-ride the obligations to the larger community.

You may choose to play a risky game of Russian roulette with your own health, but not with a shotgun pointed at those around you. Play safe.

Take care of each other – family and friends, customers, employees and associates.  These are challenging times. Enlightened Entrepreneurs will lead the way.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com

Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

Read more articles at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

Covid Customer Service

 (This article is based on extracts from Uncle Ralph’s Random Ramblings in DON’T DO IT THE HARD WAY - 2020 Edition)

 Empathy on steroids

In this period of Covid pandemic protocols we are meeting new challenges and obstacles to delivering outstanding customer service. It’s time for new levels of empathy and understanding. And customers are likely to be in no mood for tolerating deficiencies.

 

The pandemic frustrations and isolation from normal social and business activities has heightened our levels of anxiety and stress to the point of explosion at the slightest disturbance.

Customer service has always been the ultimate test for Enlightened Entrepreneurs – demonstrating how well they treat their employees by how well their employees treat the customers. It’s the final decision-making factor in how we vote with our purchasing dollars, both as consumers and as business-to-business clients.

This period presents a severe test.  

How well are you responding to the fears and obstacles arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic – meeting protocols for hand sanitizers, maintaining social distance and wearing masks? How do you handle people who don't behave; who refuse to follow the public health guidelines or who are not at all sympathetic to the current restrictions on your normal levels of staffing, facilities and services? Are your staff well informed, well trained and prepared to respond appropriately? Will you retain existing loyal customers or gain new ones? Or both.

These are challenging times. But with sufficient compassion and understanding we can take care of each other and get through this together. Enlightened Entrepreneurs will lead the way.

Be better. Do better.

Del ChattersonYour Uncle Ralph

Maybe autocratic leadership is better

 (This article is based on extracts from Uncle Ralph’s Random Ramblings in DON’T DO IT THE HARD WAY - 2020 Edition)

As we observe political leaders around the world getting their way, dictating arbitrary policies, behaving badly and revising the rules of play, it would be easy for business leaders to conclude that autocratic dictatorship is a better way to manage.

Democracy doesn’t work

These cult-like leaders seem able to persuade their fanatical followers to believe whatever they say, forgive every failure and do whatever is demanded of them, even against their own self interest. “Stick a fork in your eye to prove your loyalty to the cause.” Yes sir! Absolutely.

And democratic methods are so cumbersome, inefficient and difficult to manage to the conclusions we want. Even if the majority wants the same thing. Democracy is too easily manipulated by corrupt politicians and the people behind the scenes spending enormous amounts of money to protect their power and privileges.

Don’t be fooled

You will not be a more successful leader as a dictator and your business will not do better because of it. But I don’t recommend democratic decision-making in your business either. The misinformed, disinterested, angry or unhappy employee or customer is not likely to vote for the right solution. It is always more complicated than it appears and requires the right combination of knowledge and experience with rigorous analysis and good judgement. You’ll still be wrong often enough.

I do recommend participative management. An Enlightened Entrepreneur will involve the management team, staff and front-line employees in the decisions that affect them, as they have a vested interest in getting it right. They also may know more than the owner or the senior managers about the specifics of the problems and the planned solutions and can make a valuable contribution to the process of doing better for themselves and the business.

The downside of cult-like leadership is that it attracts followers who are not willing to accept responsibility for their grievances and or more willing to do as they’re told than to make a contribution to making things better.

Don’t be a dictator.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph 

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com

Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

Read more articles at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs