Contrary to popular belief my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.
The problem with most failing businesses I’ve encountered is not that their owners don’t know enough about finance, marketing, management, and operations – they don’t, but those things are easy enough to learn – but that they spend their time and energy defending what they think they know. The greatest businesspeople I’ve met are determined to get it right no matter what the cost.
And by getting it right, I’m not just talking about the business.
I mean that there is something uplifting, some vision, some higher end in sight that “getting it right” would serve.
An ethical certainty, a moral principle, a universal truth.
Which is not to say that those I’m inclined to think of as extraordinary would necessarily communicate it that way. Many can’t. Even if they had the inclination they simply don’t have the words for it. But it’s still there all the same. You can see it in their eyes, feel it radiating from their bodies, hear it in the timbre of their voices.
On the other hand, notwithstanding the search for “something higher,” the best of the best I have known are extraordinarily grounded people; they are compulsive about detail, pragmatic, down-to-earth, in touch with the seamy reality of ordinary life. They know that a business doesn’t miss the mark by failing to achieve greatness in some lofty, principled way, but in the stuff that goes on in every nook and cranny of the business – on the telephone, between the customer and a salesperson, on the shipping dock, at the cash register.
And so the great ones I have known seem to possess an intuitive understanding that the only way to reach something higher is to focus their attention on the multitude of seemingly insignificant, unimportant and boring things that make up every business. (And that make up every life, for that matter!)
Those mundane and tedious little things that, when done exactly right, with the right kind of attention and intention, form in their aggregate a distinctive essence an evanescent quality that distinguishes every great business you’ve ever done business with from its more mediocre counterparts whose owners are satisfied to simply get through the day.
Yes, the simple truth about the greatest businesspeople I have known is that they have a genuine fascination for the truly astonishing impact little things done exactly right can have on the world.
It is to that fascination that this book is dedicated.
This book is a guide for those who see the development of an extraordinary business as a never-ending inquiry, an ongoing investigation, an active engagement with a world of forces, within us and without, that continually amaze and confound the true seekers amount us with awesome variety, unending surprises and untold complexity.
While it may seem obvious, this fascination with the development of an extraordinary business is not the same as a fascination with success.
Certainly not the success we normally think of. Some end point which, having reached it, enables one to say, “I did it!” Because my experience has taught me only too well that end points in the development of an extraordinary business are instantly replaced by beginning points.
So, this book is not about ending, but about beginnings, about the never-ending game, the delightful and exhilarating process, the continuous evolution of our senses of our consciousness – of our humanness – which only comes from being present in the moment, from being attentive to what’s going on.
I believe that our business can provide us with a mirror to see ourselves as we are, to see what we truly know and what we don’t know, to see ourselves honestly, directly, and immediately.
I believe that our business can become an exciting metaphor for
A wise person once said, “Know thyself.” To that honorable dictum I can only add for the businessperson on the path of discovery, good traveling and good luck.
To live through an impossible situation, you don’t need the reflexes of a Grand Prix driver, the muscles of a Hercules, the mind of an Einstein. You simply need to know what to do.”
And, I cannot stress enough how much this book spoke to me. I picked it up, not *super* enthused about it… I had put it on “hold” at the library and when I finally got it, I’ll admit that it didn’t look too promising.
This is where the old adage, “never judge a book by it’s cover” totally comes into play.
From the moment I read the first paragraph, I KNEW that this is the book I have been waiting for. I can only say that it *perfectly* put into words all the thoughts and feelings I had swirling around in my brain for MONTHS.
Today’s post is just a Part 1; Part 2 will go into more detail about what I learned. Not to worry, this won’t hash out into a five-part series like last time, but I will say that it’s going to be very interesting. I love learning new things about business!
So, this is the quick gist:
It’s all about this:
Creating a system that will make your business replicable.
What that means is, enabling your business to be repeatable by someone else. In other words, taking yourself out of your business and allowing others to do it. It’s creating a residual income where you are not the one performing the work.
Sound’s interesting, doesn’t it?