Jun 022011
 
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If You Want Success, Learn To Navigate For Yourself

We’ve all heard the expression “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else”. Let’s take that to the next level: If you don’t know where you’re going and you don’t take charge of charting your own course, you probably won’t end up going anywhere.

Take a look around at the successful entrepreneurs, CEOs and other people that you know or know of. How many of them are current or former pilots or avid sailors? Ted Turner, Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg come to mind, but the list is much longer. What does one have to do with the other?

In all my time as an entrepreneur and now increasingly as I have started doing more coaching, research and writing on the topic of human “greatness” and peak performance, one trend I have noticed in those who succeed in all sorts of endeavors is that they take control of their own destiny. They leave the “employee mentality” behind, they determine and describe in a detailed way all that they are trying to accomplish, and then they chart a course to get there. When they chart that course, they know that there will be obstacles and they know that they will likely be off-course a good portion of the time, but they also know that it is far better to have an imperfect path charted than to have nothing at all and just hope for the best.

At its essence, this mentality boils down to taking control and taking ownership of your life, your ventures and your future. You must become the “pilot” of your life – even if you don’t literally become a pilot, you must take the leadership, responsibility and control of where you take all aspects of your life. And like those mentioned above, you must do so realizing that life hardly ever goes exactly according to plan; you will need to monitor your progress and course-adjust on a regular basis. You must also learn to react calmly in the face of changes and danger – only by overcoming your fears will you be able to reach your goals. The knowledge and confidence inherent in having a course charted and having developed contingency plans will help considerably in maintaining calm and “pressing on”.

Be bold. Take charge. Overcome your fears and other limitations. Become the “pilot” of your life and all your ventures and watch how the results you achieve improve markedly.

Oh, and by the way, punching coordinates or a street addresss into a GPS is not navigating – it does not teach you to think through the route you want to take, consider alternatives, take note of the landmarks you should expect to see, react with calmness to changes in the roads, etc. While GPS is a wonderful technology and, like any other technology, should be used to support you as you chart your course and embark on your journey in business and in other aspects of life, you should not become so reliant on it that you learn not to plan, think for yourself and stay aware en route. It’s like my father said to me back in the day, when he saw me using a calculator for my homework – it looks like a nice toy, but make sure it doesn’t keep you from learning the basics of math, the foundation upon which you will build all your other learning.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Paul Morin
paul@CompanyFounder.com
www.CompanyFounder.com
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Nov 102010
 
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Make no mistake about it, no matter how many “cooks” you have running around, there can be only one head chef.  It’s somewhat amazing how many partners go into a business and split the ownership 50% / 50% — such an approach is almost certainly doomed to failure, particularly if both partners are very entrepreneurial.  Entrepreneurs by their nature tend to want to be in charge – they are control oriented – it just comes with the territory.  You cannot have two chiefs.  I have heard of situations where there are three “co-Presidents”, in a company of less than fifty people – this makes no sense.  If you are in business with one or more partners, its’ very important that you agree up front who is in charge – someone must have the final say.  Otherwise you will end up in many deadlocked situations that will absolutely kill your efficiency and halt your progress.  Whether or not this “control” (who runs the show) is reflected in the ownership structure of the venture, make sure that it is agreed to contractually and well-understood by all from the very start.  If you don’t, you are asking for serious problems.

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Jul 202010
 
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A smaller percent of something is better than 100% of nothing. This is an issue that comes up all the time.  Entrepreneurs tend to be control oriented, and rightly at least in part, as they want to be well rewarded for the risks they take and the effort they put into their ventures.  Too often though, this translates into being obsessively focused on maintaining 100% or close to 100% of the ownership of their venture.  Leverage (financial and operational) is important in building many ventures to a meaningful scale, and without bringing other people/partners in, it is very difficult to gain any sort of leverage.  If it’s all you, then you are extremely limited by the amount of time that you and you alone can commit – it doesn’t look like there will be more than 24 hours in a day anytime soon.  That being said, not everyone needs or wants equity, so this is not an argument for giving away the store at the drop of a hat, rather it is an argument to not be so obsessed with maintaining 100% ownership that you forego opportunities to get other talented, competent performers onboard, where needed.  You should be careful to whom you grant or sell equity, but don’t be so paranoid that you unnecessarily limit your ability to attract talent and grow the business..

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