Business Is Not Karate / New! Top 3 Observations

I have a new “feature” for you. I recently shared some observations with a colleague and he suggested that I share them in my weekly missive. So, below my blog are my top 3 observations of the week.

boy-1262810_1920Business Is Not Karate

I studied karate when I was in high school and college. My instructors were “content experts” and correctly didn’t ask for student input. It was a militaristic, hierarchical system, and it worked well. In that arrangement, there’s only one way to throw a certain punch or kick, and the teacher tries to help you do it that way without variation.

Once students learn all the component techniques, they can practice fighting using those methods creatively in a sequence of their choosing. But up until that point and in every class, the “master” is fully in charge and neither asks for nor accepts input.

In business, like in karate, some techniques are fundamental to success. I cover some of these in my book “Never Kick a Cow Chip on a Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want to Be.” I see entrepreneurial organizations that have brilliant market-pleasing ideas but don’t know some of the basics (not punching and kicking, but cash management, planning, accountability techniques, etc.), and they lose the fight that they could’ve won.

You’d no more put someone into a mixed martial arts competition without training than you’d put me into a flamenco dance contest. Yet homegrown entrepreneurial organizations get into fights they can’t win because they never learned how to correctly punch and kick!

Juxtaposed, I see some larger organizations that know the basics of business but use a rigid approach in a street fight and get their ass kicked by a quicker, more creative opponent.

Few entrepreneurs end up running large, successful companies. Few large-company professional managers succeed in entrepreneurial environments. One isn’t better than the other, but they’re different. And if you can smash a few atoms and get both skills in one person — or at least get them to coexist in the same organization — you have a great opportunity for success!

My top 3 observations of the week:

  • Fragile egos, not brilliance, prevent many people in leadership roles from asking for help.
  • Seth Godin is still smart. Here is an interview he did with Tim Ferriss. It will be worth your while to listen.
  • People who whine about getting to middle age piss me off. They have three problems: they don’t exercise, they aren’t learning and they act their age.

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