Reinventing Yourself And Your Company

Jim Blasingame Steve Chandler is one of our go-to-guys when we talk about getting motivated and getting the most out of ourselves. He is the author of 100 Ways To Motivate Yourself (100,000 copies in print. No chopped liver on my show), and his new book, Reinventing Yourself. During one of Steve's visits we discussed the concept of personal reinvention.

If you are a small business owner there is an excellent chance that you have reinvented yourself at least once in your life. And I will hazard to guess that there was a moment, an event, a conversation, a pink slip, whatever, that caused you to start your reinvention journey.

Steve says that when you are presented with a circumstance that is life changing, you can either choose to be a victim, or choose to be an owner. I don't have to tell you what a victim is. But when Steve talks about being an owner, he means taking ownership of your circumstances. You have to take ownership before you can begin the reinvention process.

Here's the part that I think surprises folks: As a small business owner, once you begin the reinvention process, you can't stop. You mustn't stop. The small business world is new every day. Sometimes every hour. Consequently, small business owners have two choices: reinvention or extinction.

Along with Steve Chandler there is another Steve who has been making me think about this reinvention thing. Our friend and Brain Trust Member, Steve Martin, says in his new book, Creative Approaches For The Cost Effective Organization, that there are "five generations of corporate intellectual growth:

1. Work. The entrepreneurial stage of establishing your business model.

2. Sell. Focus is on growing sales volume and market share.

3. Cut. Now that the top line is established, focus on efficiencies to drive the bottom line.

4. Buy. The company now has the ability to acquire essential assets to reach the next level of critical mass.

5. Think. Virtually all actions are proactive because the company's intellectual and financial resources are focused on knowing the next best step, not guessing.

Essentially, this is the reinvention process for your company. If you are successful, your business will reinvent itself along these generational lines almost in a "natural law" fashion.

Here's the bad news: There is no corresponding "natural law" to make sure that your personal reinvention matches up with, and parallels that of your company.

Here's the challenge: Each generation of your company's intellectual growth requires a different kind of manager. If you want to be there when your company crosses the finish line (however you define finish line), make sure that, in terms of personal reinvention, you don't get too far behind or too far ahead of your company. I've seen this happen both ways, and either way can be unfortunate.

The company's growth track is determined by some things you control, but it is largely affected by things over which you have limited, if any control, like market forces. Since you are more in control of your personal progress, while you are managing your business, don't forget to manage your own growth.

"Reinventing yourself" doesn't mean you go from being a surveyor to being a surgeon. It means you go from knowing nothing about how an earthquake, or a military coup on the other side of the planet will affect your business six months from now, to being pretty good at identifying possible threats to your company's success. It means going from having no clue about how a new technological advancement works, to becoming an expert on how to conduct that capability in-house.

Write this on a rock... Reinvention or extinction. The choice is yours.

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Category: Work-Life, Balance
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