Archives for entrepreneurship

Growing a Company/Team Is Similar to Raising a Human

Parenting – the hardest, most expensive job you’ll ever love. I see Spanx founder (and billionaire) Sarah Blakely advocating to women, “Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry!” I love to see women looking within themselves for the financial support that they seek. Because, really, there is no one person or entity who can offer you true financial security. However, asking anyone to be a CEO is a lot like asking people to be a parent – it’s no small feat. In fact, there are a lot of similar challenges.

For both jobs, there are basic level requirements and there are excellence standards. A parent’s basic requirement is to keep the child alive until he or she is 18. Parents provide the basic needs of food, water, clothing, safety, and shelter. However, to do a little bit better than “alive,” and to reach a level of “well,” one would provide nutritious food, clean water and shelter, doctor and dentist exams, medicine when needed, along with love and acceptance. We’ve all learned Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, so you can take this on up to self-actualized. A company also can offer the basic provisions – an income, a workspace, and expectations of what is to be produced by the employee. Even at the basic level, both are very expensive endeavors.

At least with a child you are the primary influence for the first few years. Due to imprinting, you have a bit of control over what the child is exposed to. When you bring full-grown adults into companies, they come in with a variety of experiences, beliefs, agendas, and values. The hiring process may help you identify some that are helpful and some that are harmful, but, as of yet, this only scratches the surface of what can be known. In both situations, you have little control over outside influences they are exposed to when you’re not in charge of their time. You just have to hope that you have guided them well in the time you had. You have to have faith that they’ll make good decisions that represent both them and you well. When they don’t make good decisions, it can be hard to know if mistakes are a one-off due to lack of experience or knowledge, or due to an ingrained belief system. It’s also difficult to know whether there are potential serious impacts to others.

While it seems that it should be easier to teach an adult, I’m sure you’ve heard that little kids are like sponges. Getting anyone to a point where what they learn becomes automatic and applied with little push requires exhaustive repetition, visual prompts, and utilizing new, fun ways to teach the material. In fact, it can be argued that adults are even harder to teach than kids, as the saying goes, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” You’ll also find with both that they will mimic what they see over what they hear, including managing one’s emotions.

I’ve heard that the problems get more complex with teenagers. The same is true of companies that have grown. The problems have deeper impact and greater implications. There might be a bit of rebellion with a larger amount of freedom.

Kids and teenagers will make mistakes. It’s hard to know if you did an overall good job until kids are grown and managing their own lives (or businesses). Does this mean that companies that spawn entrepreneurs have done a great job? I guess it could be argued that if the company was so great the talent would stay, but we don’t expect that if we do a good job parenting our kids will stay. In fact, some may conclude that a full-grown adult child living at home who is not a caretaker has failed to learn how to live independently. They are still alive, though so at least baseline success has been achieved.

When a child grows into a self-actualized adult, they understand that they are loved and valued. With both kids and employees, in order to help them be contributors they have to be held accountable for their own actions. They have to be trusted at some point to make their own decisions. They have to be taught that there are highly desirable long-term gains and benefits to doing what is necessary over what is just pleasurable.

The more I look at this list, the more I’m convinced that women who rise to the challenge of parenting may also rise to the challenge of growing a company, and perhaps vice versa. Though, there are certainly enough differences as well, so I’m not going to conclude that’s true in all cases. Whether someone can be excellent at doing both simultaneously is certainly a different debate for a different day, but I’d certainly say there are enough examples to say it’s true. Time will tell, however.

What other similarities do you see between growing a company and raising a human?

Mister Rogers sings…You’re Growing

Watch Mister Rogers sings…You’re Growing – video dailymotion – Gordon Raisley on dailymotion

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Why is an Entrepreneurial Mindset a Hot Quality in Talent Today?

When I tell people that the career management course I teach at Cabrini University incorporates lessons on emotional intelligence and entrepreneurialism, people ask me what that means, though most of them recognize the problems when entrepreneurial mindsets are lacking among their teams. In my experience, advanced learning institutions want to promote entrepreneurial mindsets, but may think that promoting actual entrepreneurship is at odds with a liberal studies education.

Back in 2005, I made plans to earn an MBA in Entrepreneurship. I even had tuition reimbursement approved by my firm at the time. My plan was to earn the degree, make sure it paid off for my firm by helping them successfully launch new services and products, as was the trend there at the time, and then start my own coaching business.

Things didn’t work out as planned, but they worked out… for me. The firm, which was over 20 years old, didn’t survive long enough to have been able to leverage my MBA, and I wound up starting my company much, much sooner than if I had earned my MBA first.

Google is quite a trend-setter, as you probably know. Businesses used to be very risk-averse; investing in new ventures isn’t territory companies will enter without extreme due diligence and substantial data. However, if you’re blazing a trail, there’s no one before you to prove which path will lead you to the promise land, and deep due diligence takes time no one can afford at the pace of change today. It’s also risky to avoid innovation, or to have so much structure that it stifles innovation. Today, you’ll be easily surpassed by more agile organizations that aren’t afraid to try and fail. On the other hand, if you jump on a bandwagon that wasn’t built right or headed in the wrong direction, you also risk failure.

To quote Jim Rohn:

“It’s all risky… If you think trying is risky, wait until they hand you the bill for not trying.”

Google has become an interesting case study for various talent strategies, including the kinds of qualities and skills that they seek. It seems that they, along with other Silicon Valley unicorns, have proven that hiring entrepreneurial talent does not make your workforce one big flight risk. In fact, it helps you innovate at a competitive pace, as long as you have the culture to nurture the inclinations of this population.

When I see a job description stating that the company wants an entrepreneurial candidate, or that they have an entrepreneurial culture, I wonder what that actually means to them.

There is a definition for entrepreneurialism, but there are also varying perceptions about the related qualities and conditions that enable companies to fully leverage it.

By some Glassdoor reviews and first person accounts, it seems that entrepreneurial could be synonymous with self-managed. With other data to add context, sometimes you can tell that a company is growing at such a rapid pace that they have little structured training, supervision, and coaching. This scares me, because even effective, successful entrepreneurs need strong mentors.

The benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset can be:

  • Innovation
  • Resourcefulness
  • Accountability
  • Time management
  • Coachability
  • Tenacity/Grit
  • Troubleshooting
  • Multitasking
  • Combination of people and tech skills
  • Opportunity-seeking
  • Problem-solving
  • Experimental
  • Outcome-driven
  • Project management skills

The transferable value of being entrepreneurial to a corporation is a “do what it takes” attitude.

These people don’t complain that they can’t be effective because they don’t have the resources; they go to Plan B, or C, or D, etc.

They don’t sit around while IT fixes technical problems; they go back to the old ways things were done so that progress can continue.

They don’t ask for extensions or offer apologies – they deliver some functional solution on time and promise an even better one in the future.

They don’t wait to be instructed or told; they see what needs to be done and make sure it gets done, even if they have to delegate it to someone they don’t actually have any authority to direct.

They stay on top of almost everything, keeping the customer (and revenue) at the top of the list always.

They put in extra hours when needed, and proactively invest in extra training to acquire skills that are valuable.

They make it work.

If all of this sounds great to you, let’s get clear about what you have to offer talent like this if you don’t want them to jump ship – and they will if their impact or opportunity is limited.

You need to give the room to fail. They will want to try things that have never been tried before, things that have not yet been proven. Be conscious of how often you say no, and make sure that when you say yes, you give them your full support. Back them up when they fail. Take accountability for giving them the leeway, and partner with them to devise their next victory.

Just because they can institute their own structure and deliver on time doesn’t mean that they don’t want to learn from working closely with those who have achieved more than them. Don’t let them hang too long solo without checking in, recognizing progress, and guiding them in overcoming challenges. Entrepreneurial people still want to cut out errors and get to results sooner. If you have wisdom that can prevent trial and error, offer it generously.

Just because these folks manage to do a lot with a little doesn’t mean they will sustain a job where resources are chronically limited. They’ll want to see you making investments in new technology and training. If they don’t, they’ll see the risk for them in falling behind and will seek out new opportunities.

Trust these folks to come in, work smart, honor their natural rhythms and work at their own pace, as long as they deliver. If they fail to deliver, help them understand what actually went wrong as a coach, rather than as someone who enforces punitive controls to course correct.

Give them time to recharge. This population is at great risk of burn out, because they are so driven to solve problems quickly and deliver. Even if you offer unlimited vacation, you may need to make sure that this talent is taking adequate time to manage the important aspects of their personal life – their personal finances and relationships. Make sure that they have ample time to enjoy the things that stimulate their curiosity and creativity outside of work. Help them manage their holistic wellness.

Don’t assume that these people want to climb the corporate ladder into management, though they love having an impact. What makes them great could be what they do with their hands and minds, not what they do with their people. Make sure that there are multiple mobility options for these folks to continue being challenged and growing.

Some may say that not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurial life. While I’d certainly say that not everyone is prepared for this life, everyone can adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and though we all may need to shift into maintenance mode from time to time, true entrepreneurs will not be happy staying there for very long.

Is your company seeking “entrepreneurial talent” or promote an “entrepreneurial culture?” What do they mean by that?

Imagine Dragons – Whatever It Takes

Get Imagine Dragons’ new album Evolve, out now: http://smarturl.it/EvolveID Shop Imagine Dragons: http://smarturl.it/ImagineDragonsShop Catch Imagine Dragons on tour: http://imaginedragonsmusic.com/tour Follow Imagine Dragons: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImagineDragons/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Imaginedragons Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imaginedragons Directed by Matt Eastin and Aaron Hymes. Special thanks to the Bellagio Las Vegas and Cirque Du Soleil.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Every Mistake is an Opportunity to Grow

 

Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Young Entrepreneurs Academy CEO Roundtable (YEA!), where aspiring entrepreneurs were able to ask a CEO Panel some interesting questions. The insights of the CEOs was impressive – they were vulnerable and authentic, which inspired the kids of YEA, who came up with stellar questions!

Here are some of my favorite takeaways and insights:

Every mistake is an opportunity to grow.

Rev. Georgiette Morgan-Thomas of American Hats, LLC:
Staffing is the most difficult for us and it can be difficult to maintain the level of talent we’d like. Oftentimes, we get people looking for a job and what we need is someone who wants a profession, someone interested in making the product better. People aren’t willing to say I don’t know and be willing to learn a new skill. Turnover is very high. Things that appear to cut your labor costs aren’t always a good thing.

Her 5-year plan is to have more visits to their factory. Right now, they are conducting virtual tours and plan to do more in the near future. Because of this, she is now looking at the attitudes of her employees now that she has people visiting her factory.

She maintains a busy schedule by getting up at 3:30 AM to take the 5:15 AM Train from NYV to Philly. After a day of teaching hat trimming and design, she gets back home at about 10 PM. Her drive and passion keep her working through the weekend – she works Saturdays for 4-6 hours! She measures her success by the customers who come back, time and time again.

Howard Nelson Bear of Doggie Style Pets, the comp.bybusing service model and integrating into neighborhoods. Each store is customized for neighborhoods. The companies biggest challenge? Staffing! It’s hard to have a 5-year plan with as fast as things change.

Social responsibility has garnered brand loyalty and retention.

Rick Forman – says one of the biggest risks they face is deciding to pivot when you realize your original plan won’t work. Execution requires operating on all cylinders. You have to first have the secret sauce and the vision to bring a neighborhood alive.

Dumb is smart and smart is dumb.
You need to be curious.
Don’t be afraid to ask that question.
In order to be philanthropic, you have to make a profit.

Laura Kelly says that risk is making your stable successful in order to grow.
Entrepreneurs have many challenges and may find themselves getting taken in by shiny object syndrome. That’s what excites entrepreneurs – creation.

One of Laura’s goals is to have an instructor teaching kids in a thousand different locations. She works from home and doesn’t have a defined start/finish time. It’s a workday that just continues.

Some of the key takeaways from Laura were:

Successful people move forward in spite of fear. Fear is part of the price you pay.

A really strong team of experts is essential to growth.

Bill Mignucci – This too will pass. You’ll have that moment, and how you respond will define you. “I’ve been in the fetal position maybe even twice.” Fear doesn’t go away. It’s good to have a healthy dose of fear.

Some of the lessons learned from Bill:

Prioritization and defining and redefining your destination.

We aspire, and we may not achieve, but it’s key to keep your eye on the future. Growth is not just about economics, but about cause. Put in as much time as is healthy.

In his servant leadership model is flipped, he serves the employees rather than them supporting him. He does this to inspire them and to create a vision.

Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and what key takeaways have they shared with you?

Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger (Official Music Video)

Survivor’s official music video for ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. Click to listen to Survivor on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/SurvSpot?IQid=Surv… As featured on Ultimate Survivor. Click to buy the track or album via iTunes: http://smarturl.it/UltSurviTunes?IQid… Google Play: http://smarturl.it/SurvEOTTplay?IQid=… Amazon: http://smarturl.it/UltSurvAmz?IQid=Su… More from Survivor Burning Heart: https://youtu.be/Kc71KZG87X4 I Can’t Hold Back: https://youtu.be/GaMcsKtBDwE The Search IsOver: https://youtu.be/xELTfJ-ZVBc More great classic rock videos here: http://smarturl.it/ClassicRocks?IQid=…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.