Category Archives: leadership

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

 

Basic principles still apply

Stay calm & carry on

As we near the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is lots of talk of the new normal. The world has changed, and we need to do things differently.

Now what? It’s worth remembering the old normal and the basic principles that still apply.

Here are a few reminders:

  • Look before you leap.
  • Just do it!
  • Treat employees well and they’ll treat customers well.
  • Buy low, sell high.
  • Do your homework.
  • Trust your instinct.

 

  • Watch short-term profit, but focus on long-term value.
  • Lead strategically, manage minutely.
  • Under promise, over deliver.
  • DON’T WASTE TIME!

 

  • Make your mother proud.
  • People and the planet come first.
  • You cannot over-communicate.

 

  • Stay healthy and be well.

 

An incomplete list, in no particular order. Even some apparent contradictions. So, make your own list of the principles that have worked for you in the past. Focus on those that still apply.

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

A test of loyalty

Time for a change?

(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.

In times of economic crisis, we are faced with difficult choices in a stressful new environment. Loyalties are tested and we’re wondering if it’s time for a change. A change in suppliers, customers, management, or employees. Who are all looking at making the same choices for themselves.

There are two primary factors to consider:

  1. How strong is the loyalty already established?
  2. How have the two parties responded during the recent period of crisis?

The purpose of every business is to build loyal, long-term, profitable relationships with customers based on equally solid relationships with the management team, employees, and business partners. They have all been tested during the past year of the global pandemic. How have they responded?  Do they deserve to be supported or to be replaced?

And what about you and your business? What are your customers, employees and business partners deciding? Take a closer look and make sure everyone is making good decisions based on the right information.

Constant communication of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, will be important to re-establishing the loyal, long-term, profitable relationships that will ensure your success going forward.

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

 

Neglect the negative

Be creative

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

In our current preoccupation with pandemic paranoia and political drama, we need to redirect our energies to more productive plans for next year. Start by looking back and deciding what is most worthy of a repeat performance.

Remember the good old days?

Not a year ago, before Covid 19, and not five years ago before Trump, but ten or twenty years ago. Remember the nineties?  Before Twitter and Facebook filled all our unoccupied headspace.  Before we wasted time on another angry or inane Tweet, a much too personal post on Facebook or a self-obsessed photo on Instagram.

Remember the pleasure and the serious, revealing and rewarding communications we used to have with a thoughtful email exchange or a long leisurely telephone conversation? How long ago has it been?

Be Creative

Turn off the news channel and the incessant preoccupation with the pandemic and politics. Be creative. Remember the good old days and pick some favourite memories – things you’ve done, places you visited and the people you were with. Share the memories and plan to do it again.

Next year is coming soon. Make plans to make it better.

Don’t sit and wait for somebody else to fix everything that was wrong with 2020.  As David Brooks says in The Second Mountain, “society is a massive conspiracy to distract you from the important choices of life in order to help you fixate on the unimportant ones.”

Don’t be distracted.

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

 

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

Time for a new plan

Everything has changed.

 (This article is based on an extract from The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Edition)

Rethink, Review and Rewrite

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything – in our lives and in our businesses. The only questions that remain are – What exactly has changed?  By how much? For how long? What happens next?

We don’t yet have all the answers and the ones we do have keep changing. But there is no question that we have to change our plans and to stay resilient and creative to survive. It’s time for a new business plan, but the standard checklist has changed.

Can you answer these questions clearly and concisely?

  • Have your personal plans and objectives changed?
  • Has the purpose of your business changed?
  • Do you want to retain past customers or attract new ones?
  • Do you need to change your business model?
  • What is the revenue required to be profitable now?
  • Are your planned changes temporary or permanent?

Simple questions that need to be answered before you revise your business plan.

Remember the objective is to develop a road map for you and your management team to survive this period of crisis and eventually return to profitable growth.

Now is the time.

Rethink, Review and Rewrite your Business Plan for this pandemic period and beyond.    

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