Transformational Values and Virtues
Business is the ability to solve a problem or provide a solution that leads to the betterment of society; this endeavor will inevitably result in revenue.
There is a difference between focusing on a result and focusing on the fundamentals that make up the result. In basketball, the goal is to put the ball through the hoop to score points; however if players can’t dribble, pass, and shoot, the goal is never obtained. In business, there are also fundamentals, and interestingly they all begin with the letter “C”.
Capital and Character
You will need capital to start, sustain, and expand or continue your growth. Capital is available in abundance. People fail when they improperly present why someone should take a risk on a venture. Just because it makes sense to you, it means nothing. Capital must be wisely stewarded, so constantly reinvest and save. Your business plan should call for a percent of revenue to be put in reserve every month, which is your insurance against the inevitable storms.
The next required fundamental is true character — and the character of those you employ — this is the common thread of great businesses. Personalities and personal preferences are always different, but core character remains consistent. Character is humility and wisdom to understand what you don’t know, and to have the ability to look in the mirror and not lie to yourself. Bad character will show up in times of adversity, as the saying goes, “You discover the holes in your boat when you leave dry dock.”
The next three are so important to the survival and growth of any organization and yet they are missed consistently.
Compassion is first because being an entrepreneur is about solving problems, and compassion is an active desire to identify and alleviate another’s suffering. Passion is not enough and it can tend to be greedy – compassion will focus on resolution not simply gain.
Cooperation – it is not about who is right, but about what is right. Society and business cannot move forward debating who is right. Unfortunately, our country is run by politicians and their supporters who are more concerned about being right, than doing right. An entrepreneur knows that compromising personal agendas must happen at times in order to accomplish what is right, or what will lead to right in the future.
Collaboration is a tough fundamental to practice. Even competitive organizations will achieve more through collaboration. A shared goal or mission is best accomplished through a team effort.
Communication is the oil in the business. You are in the people business regardless of your product or service. We tend to communicate with our preference instead of how people would like to receive information. A successful communicator adjusts his or her presentation style to the method best suited to who they are communicating. The understanding of personalities and human wiring is critical for successful communication. A dictator communicates with one style; thus, no cooperation or collaboration is present. The secret to achieving communication, collaboration and cooperation is LEADERSHIP.
Now More Than Ever
Charity – If you are giving for a tax break or for recognition, then you are not giving from the heart. The true entrepreneur does not need a tax break — they give because it is what’s right. They realize they have been the recipients of friendships, talent and opportunity, and therefore sharing is the obvious response. The movement of social entrepreneurship is demonstrating how you can create a business for the purpose of supporting “charity.”
Courage is the ultimate virtue — in fact, it is the sum of all virtues and values. Nothing is ever accomplished without courage. The higher the reward, the greater the risk, which means it takes more courage to accomplish. Creating a business is a very courageous act.
If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on each of these core qualities what would your score be? If you wished to raise your level on any one virtue, what actions could you take to achieve that goal (we all have good intentions, it is good actions that really change us)?
Like the slats in a barrel, if one slat is missing or broken, everything in the barrel drains to the level of that slat. So with these virtues, each must be present and each must be growing along with the others.
If ever there was a time for and the need for virtue driven entrepreneurs, it is now.