Entrepreneurs, Spontaneity, and Focus
Most entrepreneurs I've met are lots of fun. They usually have an idea a minute and the hardest thing to do is keep focused. I know - I am, and was since I was a kid, an entrepreneur.
My business days started with plays in our family garage with the neighborhood kids. I was the director, lead actor and producer. So, when we divided up the quarters that we charged the parents (no two for one deal...ever!) I got the most coins.
Now I have a different way of being an entrepreneur. I like to lead my employees from a more collaborative way, share the load and the profits. I guess growing up does give some better perspectives than it is all about me! I had to give up some of the "let's just do it" thinking, and find a way to narrow down my interests to the ones that could bring in the dough without lessening my interest in new, innovative projects.
Now how do you stay spontaneous and remain focused? That's a fine line, and one I think needs some defining. I believe you don't have to lose your creative edge to make a profit. You also don't have to close your heart to make a profit.
Let's start with spontaneity. Herb Kelleher, retired pundit from Southwest Airlines, was known for his "walking around the floor" style of management. He was also known as lots of fun at organizational parties. He had an air of just being himself that employees found very appealing.
Are you comfortable in your own skin? Are you able to talk with customers and your work force in a free and easy manner? Are you truly interested in what they have to say? Can you laugh at yourself? Are you able to admit mistakes and move on? How do you handle feedback?
Being spontaneous goes part-and-parcel with being authentic. It means being able to see yourself and those around you without blame, judgment, or attack.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. The social brain responds well to spontaneous, authentic people. What research shows is that if people hold back and pretend everything is fine, others respond with a feeling of being threatened. This sense of threat is registered in the brain and leads to mistrust and little, if any, cooperation.
Next, if there is spontaneous behavior and no focus, the lack of focus trumps the ‘let's just do it' behavior and not only does mistrust develop; there is an overriding fear of uncertainty.
While we can all handle some uncertainty and enjoy the excitement of change, without focus and a clear direction to go, this edge of uncertainty becomes debilitating.
Here is the balance point: be real, let that fun and energetic part of entrepreneurship show itself on a daily basis. And, this is a big AND, make sure you create a plan that has focus that you can tell to your customers and employees. Share bottom line business plans and accurate ideas of where you are planning to head and the rationale behind your thinking. No one will fault you if you steer in a different direction because of road blocks.
Just remember - spontaneous behavior without focus will only get you some good pats on the back, but not the buy in you want and need for your business to grow exponentially.