Tag Archives: Courage

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


Are You a Trusted CEO?

Trust is important to all leaders, including CEOs of privately held businesses.

Trust on the National Level

In Michael K. Farr’s book, Restoring Our American Dream, he spends a good deal of print on the importance of trust.  He drives home his point by exploring how trust is eroded and the challenge of earning trust, especially after it has eroded.  In specific, he addresses what went wrong with the financial meltdown of 2008 and what is needed to get the U.S. financially back on track.

His macro lessons are applicable to any organization, any business, any CEO.  Have you considered the importance of owning the trust of your organization?  Without it, your business is crippled, not capable of achieving anything near its potential.  So, if you have lost the trust of key employees, what can you do? Continue reading

Can you hear them now?

The CEO is ultimately responsible for the creation of efficient processes for the business.


I find myself on an airplane a few times each year, and I’m always critically observing the many processes involved in air travel.  Everything from my online purchase of the ticket to the claiming of my luggage.  And it always occurs to me that my clients are examining my processes in a similar, critical manner.

If you gave each of your customers/clients a grade card to fill out, how would they rate your company at each touch point in their relationship with you?  Why not at least create the grade card, listing all those processes that involve interaction with your customer?  Then, if you have the courage, start handing them out and asking for feedback.

Leaning into the Hill

Downhill skiing and staying in control

Ron Clark (aka "Bust 'Em Up") leans into the hill

One of the most difficult concepts for a downhill ski instructor to imbed in the thinking of a student is to lean into the hill.  The steeper the trail, the more counterintuitive is that command.  As one is accelerating down the slope, instinct is to lean back in the boots, to put on the brakes.  The truth is, if you keep your weight forward, you’ll have greater control than if you lean back.

There are parallels in business.  In a tough economy, the tendency is to hesitate, to resist.  But leaning into the real world situation, and continuing the forward momentum, really does put you into a greater state of control.  Similarly, when you’re facing what appears to be a major threat, lean into it.  Maybe your bank is asking a lot more questions about your balance sheet and your ability to cover your debt payments.  Maybe a major competitor is rumored to be moving into your area.  Or maybe the rumor mill has it that a key employee is looking to move on.  In all these cases, you can achieve a greater degree of control by leaning into the challenge rather than avoiding or hesitating to act.

You can’t control the environment in which you operate, but you can control your own decisions and actions.  It’s not a matter of taking excessive risk; it’s a matter of maintaining the confidence to make tough decisions in the face of uncertainty.  It’s your commitment to keep your enterprise moving forward – and under control – regardless of the steepness of the hill.