Category Archives: Human Resource Management

Hunting in a Farmer’s World

I just read John Dini’s latest book, Hunting in a Farmer’s World – Celebrating the Mind of an Entrepreneur. If you are a business owner or leader and you pick this book up, you won’t put it down.

John draws a line of distinction between what he calls “hunters” and “farmers”. He treads along that dangerous slope of stereotyping, but with good cause. It allows him to explain in a compelling manner some of the reasons why certain private businesses struggle, while others blossom. Let me share with you just a few reasons why I am not really summarizing the book here, but rather encouraging you to read it for yourself.

He provides a mirror for the business owner to reflect on whether they own a job, a lifestyle business, or a legacy business.

He deals effectively with that nagging question, “How much should my company be making?”

He provides thought-provoking insight into the philosophical quandary, “What is rich?”

He even touches on the alternatives for selling a business, and some rules of thumb for estimating the value of a business.

Most importantly, John highlights the significant behavioral style differences between a “hunter” and a “farmer”, and how those differences can be successfully combined in a business organization.

A summary, by me or anybody else, does not do this book justice.

Full disclosure – John is a colleague of mine in The Alternative Board® network. More important disclosure – You don’t have to be a colleague of John’s to fully appreciate this very practical, experiential, straightforward, soon-to-be classic, on the mind of the entrepreneur.

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Driving or Being Driven?

The CEO who understands motivation is more likely to be successful as both a leader and individual performer.

Understanding Intrinsic Motivation

“I don’t know why, but I have no motivation right now to do anything with my business!”  I occasionally hear these words or something very similar from CEO clients.  Where does the motivation go?  How does a business owner get that “Mo” back?

Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, offers some research and some suggestions, specifically regarding intrinsic motivation.  He emphasizes that for those “right brain undertakings – those that demand flexible problem-solving, inventiveness, or conceptual understanding –“, extrinsic motivation doesn’t really work.  It has to come from within.  “Those right brain undertakings” account for a heavy portion of the most important work performed by a business owner/CEO.

This leads to the question of what fosters intrinsic motivation in most humans.  Pink’s conclusion is that it depends on “three nutrients”:

  1. Autonomy over task, time, technique and team
  2. A belief that Mastery is possible – that one can really get better at doing something
  3. Purpose – a belief that what they are doing really matters

Understanding this as CEO might lead to your becoming a great manager.  A deliberate examination of how each is affecting your own current motivation might also open a path to self-invigoration.

Understanding Why

Have you ever thought about how important your understanding of motivation is to your success as a CEO?  Consider…

Effective selling requires understanding why a particular customer is “shopping”.

Effective marketing demands effectively communicating why your company does what it does.

Effective leadership requires your understanding why your partners and employees get out of bed to come to work in the morning.

Most important of all, why do you put so much energy into your company?  And how clearly have you communicated this purpose to your audiences?

The better grip you can get on why, the better CEO you will be.  Suggested reading: Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Robot or Athlete?

Many CEO soft skills require practice, just like dancing

Which one is the professional?

You lead a business and, in that role, you employ many natural skills.  However, the job probably requires some skills that don’t come so naturally to you, but which you can hone through practice.  But what does this have to do with the photo displayed here? Continue reading

Independence Day

The business owner understands "independence" differently than the employee.

Oscar Celebrates Independence Day

Let me first wish you a Happy Holiday, whether or not you’re reading this on July 4th.  But I want to use this space to share a very brief reflection on the different interpretations of that word “independence”.  Specifically, through the eyes of the one who does not own a business, followed by the perspective of the business owner.  Here goes.

The independence of owning a business means… Continue reading

Three Magic Questions

Most business owners I’ve known and worked with have been challenged at some point to “grow” their employees.  They want more responsible employees who think as well as act.  Employees who bring them solutions in addition to problems.

The formula for developing such employees is not complicated.  My friend and professional peer, Jeff Whittle, has captured it in his article Three Magic Questions.  It won’t take you 3 minutes to click and read.  And it may become your first step in resolving one of your most frustrating human resource issues.

Unique Job, Lonely Role

CEO accountabilities are unique within the enterprise

A CEO

As CEO, or business owner, or company president, you occupy a unique and a lonely position. Not surprisingly, your job description is a one-of-a-kind, whether you have actually written it or not. You are accountable for certain high level responsibilities, because only you can perform them. It is these responsibilities that should be your guide to priorities, to how you spend your company time.

Here are the universal accountabilities for someone running a private business, regardless of the size of that business. Continue reading