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Category : Character

shark tank small business advice

By Bob Callander

Traps Entrepreneurs Must Avoid #3

Trap #3 – Arrogance

The business textbooks are strewn with dead or dying bodies of the once all powerful, now struggling, and long forgotten…Penn Central, Kodak, TWA, Howard Johnson and AOL, to name a few.  These companies became too sure of themselves, unwilling to change, too comfortable with success and certain that they, rather than market forces, were in charge.  Arrogance got in the way of creativity and adaptability, the very forces that carried them to their pinnacles.

Successful entrepreneurs often credit a “stay hungry” attitude as the key to their growing profitability.  While that’s fine, don’t forget to “stay humble” too.

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By The Leasing Group

Kindness is a Choice

The internet is thick with memorable quotes from wise, successful and recognizable business leaders.  They’re easy to find too.  For a quick look, Google search:

 

  • 5 quotes from Mark Cuban to inspire entrepreneurs
  • 25 business lessons from Jack Welch
  • Warren Buffett’s 15 most memorable quotes
  • Jeff Bozos’ 7 secrets of success

 

Much of this wisdom is a bit too obvious and not very original.  But one business quote recently captured my attention…

It’s harder to be kind than clever.  Cleverness is a gift, but kindness is a choice.”

 

As an entrepreneur who never received the gift of cleverness, I was relieved to find out I wasn’t to blame.  Simply put, my gene pool came up short.

 

More importantly, this quote gave me an opportunity to see kindness in a new light, as a choice.  Just imagine all the choices we make every day.

 

Kindness doesn’t require a high IQ, an exceptional work ethic or a quick wit.  Neither does it reside only with the high-achievers and creative thinkers.  It doesn’t care about our race, our residence, who we know, how much we know or what car we drive.  Kindness doesn’t discriminate in any way.

 

No matter our birth, our circumstances, or our fortunes and misfortunes, we can choose to be kind, or not.  It’s up to us.  There are no excuses.

 

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By The Leasing Group

Malcolm’s Greatest Achievement

Malcolm’s life changed the day he strolled into a Barnes & Noble looking for something to read.  On that fateful day, he met Kathy Rackley near the “Best Seller” shelf with an arm-full of books.  Thinking she might be able to help him select something interesting, Malcolm struck up a conversation. Kathy did more than help.  She offered him an invitation.  Two weeks later she introduced Malcolm as the newest member of her book club…a club of all middle-aged women, each one older than Malcolm’s mother.

 

Recently, this African-American University of Georgia football star spoke openly about his new passion for reading with a USA TODAY sports reporter. Specifically, the reporter asked Malcolm to talk about his greatest achievement, the one thing that made him most proud.  Malcolm’s response was characteristically honest.

 

“That’s easy.  I just finished the Hunger Games books in just two days.”

 

“But what about last season’s touchdown catches for the Georgia Bulldogs,” asked the reporter?

 

“I’ve been a very fortunate athlete and I love football.  But football has always come easy for me.  Learning to read was really hard.  I guess as a kid I spent too much time playing outside.”

 

What is your greatest achievement in life?  Is it what you were born to do?  Or, like Malcolm Mitchell, did it require more courage, more hard work and more determination than you ever thought possible?

 

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By The Leasing Group

The Extra Mile – Land of Opportunity

The English Dictionary defines “going the extra mile” as…”doing more than expected or required to achieve something, expecting nothing extra in return.”

 

Who doesn’t love having an “extra mile” person on the team?  We might even think of ourselves as “extra mile” people from time to time.

 

So, why is going the extra mile such a rare occurrence?  Maybe it’s because extra mile effort is simply too demanding.  Maybe it’s because going the extra mile requires extreme thoughtfulness, superior creativity, unrelenting determination, personal sacrifice and self discipline.

 

Extra mile people are those who solve customer problems without waiting to be asked.  They look for ways to serve and then follow through when others have long since left the building.  Their hands shoot up when called to volunteer and they don’t leave until the job is completely done.  They do what’s necessary, not just what’s required, even on their own time.

 

Going beyond the expected can be a very lonely place and few accept the challenge.  But the “extra mile” is a magical place too, a place filled with opportunity for those with the courage and determination to go there.

 

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small business advice

By The Leasing Group

“Character Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

Really!  I was surprised to hear this from my banker friend, but he seemed so certain.

 

He went on…

I’m serious.  Today’s bank examiners don’t have much interest in a borrower’s character.  They only focus on the numbers.  Look, I’ve been a community banker for over thirty years.  I know my customers.  I know their families, their birthdays, their golf handicaps, if they honor their commitments, their favorite restaurants, even where they go to church.  Most of them have never missed a loan payment, even in bad times.”

 

I was immediately reminded of the “Five C’s” every bank lender learns in his or her first week of training.  Capacity, collateral, conditions, capital, and of course…character.

 

Capacity is a measure of the borrower’s ability to take on additional debt.  Collateral represents the assets used to secure the debt.  Conditions are the loan terms, such as interest rate and repayment schedule.  Capital is the money provided by the borrower; sometimes known as the down payment.  All four of these “C’s” are very easily quantified.

 

Character, is different.  Measuring character is like trying to nail Jello to a wall.  It’s hard to do.  Character refers to a borrower’s reputation.  Honesty, reliability, integrity, and responsibility aren’t found anywhere on a balance sheet or income statement, but they’re just as real.

 

Maybe those who make today’s rules should first spend time behind the lending desk.   They might learn that a borrower’s character is more important than ever.

 

Four C’s are okay, but Five C’s are better.

 

By The Leasing Group

“Know it alls” Not Wanted Here

Jack Welch retired as General Electric’s Chairman and CEO in 2001 after a twenty year run, over which GE enjoyed unparalleled profitability and diversified growth.  During his tenure Welch was notoriously known for pruning the company of 10% of its lowest performing managers each year.  Investors and peers alike considered his bold honesty and decisive courage his greatest leadership qualities. 

Today Welch continues to write, teach and advise managers on the subject of leadership.  Below are the most destructive qualities he finds in POOR leaders: 

  1. A “know it all” attitude coupled with failure to listen to other points of view.
  2. Distant and detached behavior, often remote and un-engaging.
  3. Insensitive, hurtful and bullying comments directed to subordinates.
  4. A reluctance to make difficult decisions for fear of making mistakes.

On the flipside, Welch points to the shared traits of SUCCESSFUL leaders, qualities worth learning.  This list includes good listening skills, sensitivity, personal engagement, courage without arrogance and continuous self awareness. 

I’ve never seen or heard Welch include an Ivy League education, a high IQ, charismatic speaking ability, uncompromising personal ambition, overflowing self-confidence, or a blue-blood pedigree?  These qualities seem conspicuous by their absence.

shark tank small business advice
Traps Entrepreneurs Must Avoid #3
small business advice louisville
Kindness is a Choice
buisness advice lexington
Malcolm’s Greatest Achievement
business leasing company
The Extra Mile – Land of Opportunity
small business advice
“Character Doesn’t Matter Anymore”