Friday, January 15, 2010

Are You A Rock or Sponge?

Therapists have a saying and it goes something like this: "When people come to us with a problem, the real problem is never what our patients' think." In other words, alcohol isn't your real problem, it is something that is leading you to drink. A therapists job is to pull back the layers and locate the real problem, and then the patient can work on solving that problem.
I thought of this the other day when talking to a local entrepreneur. This entrepreneur has been in business for about 15 years and she attended a peer group to gain new insights into herself and her business. After attending, she came to the conclusion that "I've seen everything in 15 years and none of these people can help me."
Houston: we've found the real problem.
John Wooden, the great basketball coach, has a famous saying, "It's what you learn after you know everything that really matters."
Entrepreneurs are certainly independent. Many fled the corporate world because they didn't want to answer to THE MAN each day. Those traits are great for running a company, but can also hold these owners back.
Most of the successful business owners I know are sponges, soaking in everything they can. They don't put up a wall and convince themselves they "know it all." They use what they can and are always open to new ideas, no matter who might provide them.
One of the best ideas for Jack Stack, owner of SRC Holdings in Springfield, Mo., came from the janitor. That idea and many others helped Stack turn around the near-bankrupt firm around.
There's not much hope for this entrepreneur, but there is hope for you. The lesson: put your ego to the side for a minute. You don't have to take the janitors advice, but you should at least listen. Your future may depend on it.
--Ron Ameln, SBM