Over the next few months, this blog will feature the very few things I’m sure about. Below is my wire-frame. Each month, I’ll get into a bit of background about how I arrived at such certainty, in each case.
- Blog August: Learning is a Virtuous Cycle
- I will share stories of those I’ve learned to learn from, such as my endlessly curious Mom and Dad. That will be easy. The hard part will be sharing how I’ve had to let go of people around me who’ve stopped learning or could only talk the talk. I’ll also share how my fight to be right has often gotten in the way of my learning. I’ve found, as my close friend, Brian Bowers says, “The toughest person to manage is myself”.
- Blog September: Moderation in All Things
- There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but this advice from my mother never fails to remind. When I notice I am out over the tips of my skis it is usually because my passion and intensity have led me astray. Here, again, I’ll center on those who’ve taught me. My MBA professor, Tony Ricci, ingrained the idea, “Successful entrepreneurs are not risk takers, they are risk managers”.
- Blog October: Focus on People, Product, Process
- My first business venture became a 19-year lesson in getting these three unalterable factors for success correct, and in order of priority. The most successful organizations start with people that are right for the product, then apply flywheel-type process to deliver it, consistently. Further, while counter intuitive to how most people and firms operate, focus is the only scalable strategy. Doing less, and better, always wins.
- Blog November: Do the Things You Hate to Do
- MBAs, and soon-to-be-entrepreneurs, hate to hear that bringing their genius to an organization helps, yet it pales in comparison to someone with a willingness to do stuff they hate to do. Marketing was, is and always will be my only strong skill. But it wasn’t until the best CFO I ever worked with, Jack Zaback convinced me to read income statements and balance sheets that we began to produce a scalable, profitable, and sustainable firm. I still can’t create a spread sheet, but I’ve become pretty good at reading them. And yet, financials are one of many things I still hate doing.
- Blog December: Plan Your Life, Then Plan Your Career or Business
- Before we lend money to entrepreneurs – even before we have them write a business plan – we require each to write a life plan. Not all successful people are happy. Focusing on dreams, not just business, results in a fulfilling life. With that idea in mind, I end each Vistage presentation (a CEO peer organization I speak to) by introducing a life plan template. I ask each group member to fill one out every year to keep focused on dreams, not just business.
When the Guinness truck I’ve been chasing for years finally gets me, I would regret having not tried. Having not accomplished won’t disappoint nearly as much. I strive to live intentionally. This much, I know.