Remember, agenda’s are flawed, it’s true, there has yet to be an agenda that didn’t have a negative impact on any group or organization. For every special interest group, the chosen ones, power brokers, no matter what you call them, that’s are where the flaws live. Very rarely does the interests or good of others come to mind by those with an agenda, even if they believe their agenda favors everyone.
Agenda’s typically come from a person, or person’s, who want a specific thing to happen, or a desired outcome, they truly believe this is the way to achieve it. Agenda’s tend to be self serving, they come from a sense of power to drive the wants and needs of an individual.
The flaws are human in nature, they are power hungry, and normally short sighted, unless the agenda is determined through a process that sees it is good for everyone. Every group and organization wrestles with this demon, there is no permanent cure.
Tactics and strategy are the clothes of the agenda, we hide behind them, as we do in our personal life and our work life. Everyone has an agenda, we dress it up to prevent the truth from being revealed. Agenda’s are what makes us human, it’s what makes our business human.
If we claim to question the status quo, but never the motives of an agenda, what good is in the agenda, we set ourselves up to fail. But failing is good right, yet another set of clothes to hide the truth. We justify everything, even our agenda’s, so remember, agenda’s are flawed.
I recently spoke to a group of business owners, entrepreneurs, and something became as obvious as the nose on my face. Now I speak with a lot passion, very matter of factually, and sometimes I’m in your grill, I am as honest as I can be, I’m also extremely transparent. I put myself in front of the truck, willing to be hit by it.
I study the future of business, I spend much of my studying human behavior, and I’ve discovered, people don’t want to hear the truth. I’m generalizing of course, but denial is a powerful thing, if I just look the other way, it’s not there, and it’s not happening.
I’m pretty hard on business owners, and entrepreneurs, mostly because they think of themselves far too much. Again, I’m generalizing, not all of them do, but in general they do, in fact, we all do, it’s the wiring of human behavior.
Flicking the switch is not easy, admitting you don’t know, what you don’t know, takes great humility, and most of us are really bad at being humble. In order to have the fortitude to flick the switch, you will have to come to terms with humility, the humble have more friends, and tend to be more charismatic. You can’t be an authority on everything and build a 1,000 true fans, the fan base has to embrace you and your work to an extreme level. Authority & arrogance don’t attract fans, and they rarely build large communities and followings.
I have never spoken at an event and not offend at least one person, I almost always get under someone’s skin. I even warn everyone before I start, I will offend someone here today, I apologize in advance, but I only know how to speak the truth. The truth is based on my research, studying human behavior, and the natural gravities of human behavior. I don’t like the truth either, but it is what it is.
I am amazed the power fear has over biz owners and entrepreneurs. It’s real for them, typically, the worst thing that will happen to them, usually….you get to start over! You will never fully flick the switch unless you overcome the fear of failing along the way, you will always gravitate to making sure you don’t feel the pain of it. Hence, you get in the way of your business and the learning.
I too have the same problems most of you have, I to get in the way, sometimes I think I know something and learn quickly that I don’t. Sometimes, it’s embarrassing. I am not perfect, I don’t know everything, and frankly, would I want to….well maybe : ) I am figuring things out on the fly sometimes, sometimes I ask you the reader to provide input, I’m always assessing and researching, why? So I can relate the truth as accurately as possible to you, share what I find and what I see coming. I do it because I can’t not do it, it’s what I do, I want to help cure the blindness most business owners & entrepreneurs have, I want to be a resource that helps you win and make the living you would prefer to have. So I challenge you……
Learn to embrace the truth, learn to be willing to admit you don’t know, learn to be humble, and be willing to fail along the way. Flicking the switch is about a journey, not a destination. Are you ready yet?
- The Future Of Business – Flick The Switch! (owengreaves.com)
- The Future Of Business – “Everyone” Is Not Your Customer! (owengreaves.com)
We think of the future a lot don’t we, it feels so far away and yet it’s right there, right now, right in front of you. When we were about to escape high school, we had great plans, we talked about all the fun things we were going to do, the great things we were going to accomplish. It was all so exciting and fresh, it was something new, it wasn’t school…..or was it. Some keep going to school, others stop learning, many of you just accepted what happened, we often call it the school of hard knocks. The later is also known as a dream squasher, it tests our strength, our willingness to persist, it reveals the depth of our desire, but most give up to soon.
I am a Baby Boomer, I grew up believing everything would turn out just fine, the industrial age system wouldn’t fail us, so I thought. For the most part everything has turned out fine in my little world, but yet, here I sit suffering in my sadness. My sadness comes from my own disappointments, that I haven’t done more, that I haven’t helped as many people as I thought I would, I feel that I haven’t made the world a better place. I have felt most of my life, judged, not included, and worse yet, I have always felt like an outsider. Sounds like I need counseling doesn’t it? I believe we all go through these emotional states at some point in our lives, we are all very much alike, we just execute differently.
It’s taken many years for me to see the world differently, in fact, it’s taken 55+ years of study, hard knocks, bad decisions, raising a family, holding high level positions, and learning to love the unlovable. I am the sum of all that I have experienced, all that the world has thrown at me, and yet, I still have hope, I still have much to do and to achieve. I was told by my Father, just as you probably were, the world is not a friendly place, it doesn’t care about you, so you have to be in control, take charge of your future. Some of us believed our Fathers, we took it to heart only to find out the world is different. My Fathers world is not my world, in fact, I don’t have control of the world, and never will have, but I do have control over how I respond to it. And that my friends is the secret to a great life, and a great future in business should you chose to.
You see, the future of business needs a world that doesn’t keep score on individuals, and that’s where the rules can be broken, because the world doesn’t care, we just think it does. You see, most think the world will come them, give them what they want, whenever they want it, or at least believe that’s how it should be. If it was, there would be no need for Lotteries, we all eventually would be rich beyond our wildest dreams. Somehow, we have built a world unwilling to wait, unwilling to work, the world now expects, it’s an entitlement theology. We have taken what we already have for granted.
We sell ourselves short far too often, we don’t believe in ourselves enough, we all say we don’t care what other people think, yet we wait to be picked. There it is, the problem becomes obvious. We attach our happiness on things, on whether or not people approve, and if we get picked. We all on some level are waiting to be picked, it’s what happens when you submit a resume, when you play sports, even when you pick your friends. The future of business doesn’t play by this rule, that’s the beauty of it, you get to decide how you will respond to this broken idea of being picked. As Seth Godin says, don’t wait to be picked, pick yourself.
You get to decide your preferred future, your preferred business of the future, chose to respond by picking you first, then your business has a far better chance of making a difference in the world. If you are in business or even have a Blog, we are waiting to be picked, waiting for someone to buy our products / services, waiting to like our blog posts, hoping someone will like what we have to say or offer. It’s a catch 22 isn’t it? How do we escape this seemingly inescapable, vicious circle? The secret is in how you respond to it, you still get to decide, you still get to pick you.
You now have the power to build your preferred future, your preferred business of the future. The question you really want to answer is, is your preferred future or business going to change the world, make it a better place. Forget about being famous or rich, focus on small random acts of kindness, provide service with caring behind it, do something that helps others first before yourself. It’s been said, if you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want. It sounds corny, it sounds and feels uncomfortable, it’s called humility, and that’s always uncomfortable.
Humility is another key to success, it is the heart of small town rules in business, it’s why we build barns for our neighbors.
I’m a little long winded today, but it’s on my heart because so many are struggling. We give away our power to others, hoping we’ll get picked, take your power and us it for good, pick yourself, stop giving it away and create your preferred business of the future. Build a human business.
What Makes Your Business Unique?
Some always asks this question, it’s a way of measuring whether that someone should do business with you or not. I was on a Forum this week and someone posted the thread title exactly as this post.
Let’s do this, let’s say you own a business with a saturated market, you and thousands like you sell and support the exact same product & service. You have the same inventory, you have almost identical costs. You can’t just say you have the world’s best support and get away with it. So what is more important, uniqueness, or solving a problem? Do people do business with you because you are different (unique), or because you actually solve a problem?
Is it a chicken & egg thing? I frequent a restaurant here in my community, it’s unique only in that they do something to the food. They have tables, waiters & waitresses, menu’s, alcohol, friendly staff, and good service. How do they make it? I mean there are literally hundreds of restaurants in my community, why should I eat at this location? Because they are unique? I don’t go there because they are different.
They do solve a problem for me, but I can get my problem solved anywhere, so why do I keep going back to this establishment. It’s simple really, and it should be for you. The common denominator for me is not uniqueness or a problem being solved, it’s because of the relationship I have with the owners. Ya, the food they serve is different, it’s an acquired taste for this old man, the food is fabulous. I know we don’t think of hunger as a problem that needs to be solved in this country, but if we were in a 3rd world country with a food shortage, that would be different. They would be solving my problem of hunger…if I could get in, or could afford to eat there.
All businesses should do one thing extremely well, and that is to make sure, no matter what the cost, your customers don’t have a reason to speak poorly about you and your business. How are you doing with that, and how do you measure your success & failure, better yet, how quickly do you fix the brokenness?
While sifting through the Forums posts on this topic, someone posted a funny, in reference to the question of uniqueness. They said, we’ve got a dragon : ) that is kinda cool isn’t it. I would probably come see you if you had a dragon.
So, is it more important to be different, does being different bring you business? It might if you solve a problem in a cool unique way, in a way no one has ever done before. But it still has to solve a problem, it can’t just be a novelty, or an amusing thing.
I do believe it’s a combination of being unique, solving a problem, while maintaining and or building on the relationship with your clients. It’s a small town rule thing, everyone wants to be treated special, with respect, and most of all, they want to know you care before they do. So which is it, uniqueness, solving a problem, or is it the relationship? By today’s standards, not yesterdays. And just what are those standards anyway?
What do you think is more important, uniqueness or solving a problem?
Most of us have routines, I have a regular habit of stopping into the same place for my morning coffee, no it’s not Starbucks or Tim Horton’s. It’s the Roasted Grape, the coffee is amazing and the food is even better. People think I own the place I’m there so often, or have shares in the business….I don’t.
One morning I stopped in for coffee, there was a networking group meeting at the time, I knew at least half of the people there. I sat off to the side drinking my coffee when I heard my name, they asked me to join them, I asked…are you sure? I know me, I’ll talk if you give me the floor : )
After the session was over, a number of people approached me to chat, that’s why we go to these types of events right? I tend to ask more question when I sit at these round tables, mostly to make people think, because that’s what I do. Much of my work is reviewing business plans, asking a thousand questions, consulting, and public speaking. Sometimes, 4 – 5 times a year I will hold a workshop on the future of business – the open and free business model.
After chatting with a number of people, I posed the concept of, I think your local Chamber of Commerce should adopt the Tribe Model. I was asked the big question of course, what would that would that look like to you? I had to stop myself, I didn’t want to just blurt out a bunch of thoughts without actually thinking it through more. I’m not even sure I have it clear in my head right now, but I want to get it down and ask you what you think of the idea?
The biggest difference between a tribe and a community is….PASSION! The leaders and the members of the tribe have a high level of passion for something, it could be anything, as long as it benefits the tribe. It could even be a cause. Communities are more of a “gathering place”, they’re kind of stagnant and are formed from common interests of community members, or the squeaky wheels. Great tribes are always in motion, communities are not, they tend to be pretty static and have a hierarchy that operates from the top down.
Communities are like churches to me, they think in terms of programs and projects rather than being in a constant state of flux. Flux merely means flow, and that flow is always forward thinking.
We should look for tribes within communities, but don’t assume the community is a tribe. Great tribes tend to be formed by people with expertise, desire and passion, but don’t put to much emphasis on expertise.
These are a few initial thoughts, it’s very high level, but you know who the people are within your communities that are passionate about something in the business community. The Chamber should let these passionate people build, rather than try to control them. But that would mean chaos, and very few are willing to let chaos happen, why, it feels to out of control.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this concept, or your ideas on how your local chamber could adopt a more open and free model, one where the members are in a constant state of flux. It would mean a radical new way of thinking about chamber.
- Searching, Seeking And Belonging (owengreaves.com)
- The Future Of Business – It Will Get Harder & Harder To Get Attention & Build Trust (owengreaves.com)