What do you see?

glassesThe immortal Yogi Berra once said that you should be careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.  Vision is critical to a strategic approach.  And as John Flett explained in his LinkedIn post the other day, imagination is fundamental to vision.  The longer we do any one thing, the more likely it is that we have established habits.  These habits are hard to break.

On my newly established Faithbusiness Blog I discussed the implications for the Catholic Church.  The Church has habits developed over 2,000 years.  A number of those habits are less than helpful, but two millennium of habit doesn’t just go away.  In fact once any habit is established, the only way to get rid of it is to replace it.

In managing an operation, “habit” is another word for “tactic”.  Many tactics develop unconsciously.  It is important to be purposeful about our tactics.  If we are being purposeful about out tactics- that’s called being strategic.

To be strategic, we have to have the vision to see the possibilities, we need imagination.

Age and Entrepreneurship

A couple of days ago, Dean Owen posted on LinkedIn on the subject of the optimum age for entrepreneurship.  Like Dean, I am fast approaching my 50’s now and am often blown away by what I see young people doing. I am impressed, but, unlike Dean, rarely surprised.

Greatness has been coming from youth throughout human history.  Twenty-three hundred years ago one of the earliest folks to be referred to as great ascended to the throne of Macedon at only 20 years old.  Whether Alexander was deserving the moniker “Great” is sometimes debated, but there is no doubt that he was an innovative and risk-taking leader, who by the way, had actually ruled as young as perhaps 16 as “acting-king” while his father was away conducting war.

Much more recently, one of our most famous founding fathers had actually been retired for a couple decades by the time of the revolution, having sold his business at barely 40 years old.  Benjamin Franklin struck out on his own as a printer at the ripe old age of 17, but had run his brother’s business during the elder’s imprisonment several years earlier than that.

Gates, Dell, and Zuckerberg aside, the man who still holds more patents than anyone else and who founded the mega-company GE, Thomas Edison, started his first business (the Grand Trunk Herald) at 15.  And yes he was selling fruit & newspapers even earlier than that.  So clearly it isn’t unusual for America’s greatest entrepreneurs to start young.

It was Franklin who famously said that experience is the best teacher, but a fool learns from no other.  If the young are studious, they can learn from the experience of others.  Yes, entrepreneurship is hard, and this works in the favor of the young.  They have energy and a high risk tolerance (substantially because they have little to lose) and they don’t know they can’t do it.

Since the 1950’s the youth culture has been strengthening in this country and consumerism is growing.  These factors too are working in the favor of young entrepreneurs.  But before we get carried away assuming that the young are the only ones that can do something new, we should remember that the same Ben Franklin that launched his printing business in his teens invented bifocals when he was 76.  Far more recently, David Duffield became a founder of Peoplesoft in his mid-forties and after that had sold to Oracle he founded another enterprise software company (Workday) in his mid-sixties.  And who can forget Colonel Sanders?

I don’t think that age should get as much attention as it does.  Young, old, or “middle aged”, entrepreneurship can be done successfully.  Individual temperament not age is the intangible, but resources matter more (whether it is human or capital).  And of course nothing matters more than the product.

UP Aerospace Rocket Flight Tests Four Technology Payloads

Spaceloft-9 rocket provided four minutes of microgravity after launch from Spaceport America on NASA Flight Opportunities Program flight Oct. 23.

Source: www.nasa.gov

Tragic news this week completely (and rightfully) overshadowed the successful launch of UP Aerospace’s SL-9 sounding rocket.  It should never be forgotten that space flight is hard, and dangerous.  It has nonetheless been the source of significant human progress and benefit.

See on Scoop.itNon-profit Management

8 Vital Marketing And Sales Tools For The New Entrepreneur To Feel Complete

ffRegardless of the field or industry, every practitioner, artist, consultant and professional requires a capable set of tools to get their jobs done efficiently. Whether it’s a pen, shovel or piece of software, tools enable us to remain relevant, gain a competitive advantage and serve clients well. They cannot be […]

Source: www.forbes.com

Excellent suggestions for small organizations…. These all valuable and scalable software solutions, for small organizations that don’t plan to be small for long….

ffRegardless of the field or industry, every practitioner, artist, consultant and professional requires a capable set of tools to get their jobs done efficiently. Whether it’s a pen, shovel or piece of software, tools enable us to remain relevant, gain a competitive advantage and serve clients well. They cannot be […]

Source: www.forbes.com

Excellent suggestions for small organizations…. These all valuable and scalable software solutions, for small organizations that don’t plan to be small for long….

The Customer is Still King

This just in,…. again: According to Gallup, treating your customers well is good for business.

My previous post discussed the idea that relationship is a timeless need for humans. A relationship with customers (regardless of industry or definition of customer) is the foundation of success. Treat them well and they will return the favor.

New Rules, Same as the Old Rules

The saying goes: The more things change, the more they stay the same. To be fair there is a cyclical nature to “progress”. There are ups and downs, periods of growth and retrenchment. What has changed over the recent decades is that technology and media put us in the middle of a constant discussion of what’s new. There is plenty that is new, but is new doesn’t just replace what was old. And in the most fundamental aspect of business and society, nothing has changed.

There was an interesting observation about the integration of technology into culture made on the NEXT blog. The idea that technology is not a subject unto itself, but an aspect of society is valuable. I was worried for a while that thought leaders were encouraging us to think the opposite. Thinkers seem to be moving off this idea of technology for technology sake (though the enthusiasm for the very latest is still pervasive in society). Bottom line is that “technology” is a poor descriptor. While the rate of technological advance is constantly accelerating, humans have been applying technology since before we were fully upright. When we first used a stone to smash open a nut, we’ve been using tools. All the digital tools that sweep onto the scene daily are a mere continuation of this foundational element of humanity.

This need to explore is one of the three fundamental elements of humanity that a good long form post on The Futurist describes. The article principal suggestion is that relationship will be important in the future. It’s good to know that plenty is staying the same.

The other two elements are a need for relationship and a need to make sense of the world. Again, these are unchanging attributes of humanity. Technology should help us fulfill these needs, but it won’t change the need, and it can’t replace humans. Whatever organization we run, we should remember the fundamental truths of humanity and at the core, meet the needs that are unchanging.

Marketing Can No Longer Rely on the Funnel | Harvard Business Review

See on Scoop.itCatholic Parish Management

One of the central concepts of marketing and sales is the funnel — through which companies are supposed to systematically move prospects from awareness through consideration to purchase.

But consumers are now more informed, connected, and empowered than ever. Does the funnel still work in a digital, social, mobile age?

 

We asked some of the leading marketers in the world — from companies like Google, Intuit, Sephora, SAP, Twitter, and Visa — to assess the relevance of the marketing funnel.  What we found says as much about the future of business as it does about the future of marketing….

BillHeiden‘s insight:

The funnel isn’t dead, but it is no longer king….

See on blogs.hbr.org