Over the course of the past week, two of my very dear friends Karl and Marx have blogged about how they will not let the negativity over US economy interfere with their business direction this year. Among the notable quotes:
“I may have slept through economics but I do know what my peers and customers are telling me. Between the news and the fear manipulation being done for the sake of votes Iâ€™m done listening to negativity. Now if you will excuse me, Iâ€™ve got a profitable business to focus on.”
“I don’t understand why the media want to talk us all into a recession. This morning I turned on CNBC. What’s the story? Target same-store sales are up. Walmart same-store sales are way up!!! Walmart’s dividend is 95 cents a share. That’s huge.”
Now, don’t let these guys fool you. They are not ignorant by any stretch of the imagination, they have both done very well with the basics of American capitalism in that they have both built successful businesses, they have both given jobs to a bunch of people thereby fueling more than just their own pockets, through their companies they have given a lot of businesses a chance with the latest technology without the surprise costs.
They are not saying that things aren’t going in the wrong direction.
They are not disputing that we lost 68,000 jobs on Friday.
They are saying that they have a business to run and that playing into the fear and propaganda is not something they want to engage in. They are not letting the pundits distract them from their mission.
Does that mean that just if you wish upon a star hard enough and if your heart is pure you won’t see your customers go out of business? Does it mean that Mark and Karl have been sprinkled with pixy dust or that prince charming kissed their articles of incorporation so their companies can life happily ever after? No.
Business leadership is a delicate combination of determination and awareness. Know what is going on around you and work hard towards your goals. They are not mutually exclusive traits. (see posts on “execution” – being a determined and driven idiot does not guarantee success) Determination and awareness need to be in balance and most importantly, they need to be ongoing.
Most people let their circumstances dictate their direction, they believe that because they are agile they will be able to adjust to anything that comes their way. Thats like saying that it’s OK to hit a wall at 60 mph because you have car insurance. Business success does not come as a result of tiny adjustments over the course of time – maybe business survival at best.
Business success comes from seeing an opportunity (or threat) before everyone else does, giving your customers/clients an insight into what is going on, presenting different options and showing that you are basing your recommendations both on your expertise and your awareness for what is going on.
So back to Karl Marx. Obviously successful guys. What are they seeing and saying that the others are not?