A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Tales of a Hudson Valley Localist

by Ajax Greene  
How much does it cost to get knowledge?

I was recently reading an article describing how big companies often only hire top folks from Ivy League schools with the top MBA programs, because in theory this drives the best business results. This represents on average a $400,000 investment on the part of those potential future CEOs. Also recently, as part of my pro bono work as a judge for a global social enterprise business plan competition, I was advising a young CEO who had recently graduated from one of these top MBA programs. As smart and motivated as she is after that huge investment, there is so much she still does not get about leading a successful business.
How do we balance knowledge and wisdom?
This got me to thinking about how local independent businesses can compete. What if both knowledge and wisdom were available to you for free?
A recent study by the Stanford Business School found that nearly two-thirds of CEOs don’t receive executive coaching or leadership development. And almost half of senior executives in general aren’t receiving any, either. Paradoxically, nearly 100 percent said they would likecoaching to enhance their development, as both Business Week and Forbes reported in recent articles.
Business in 2013 and going forward is so complex that no one person can be a wildly creative marketer and an anal-retentive accountant in the same person. It turns out that to be knowledgeable and wise is complicated, and hard to be on your own.
We respect athletes who use coaches as part of their path to the Winner’s Circle, but somehow in the business world we don’t respect business owners who are smart enough to acknowledge their own imperfections, even though those business owners who actively do admit their shortcomings are generally far more successful.
Business is part science and part art. It’s part IQ and part EQ. Are you healthy enough to ask yourself “What challenges keep showing up in my business life, and what can I do about them?”
Owning a business is the loneliest job in the world. Who do you have in your life to offer you an impartial perspective? Your spouse/significant other cares but is probably not a business expert. Your friends and family care, but do you really want them in the depths of your psyche and business?
As a business owner (this includes you, solopreneur) you need to be building your self-awareness, identifying your personal vulnerabilities, and getting clarity around your actual-versus-perceived skill sets. This is how your business meets your highest and best ideals and dreams.
The world of business is ever changing and the pace of change gets more rapid every year. We can’t do it all, and by ourselves it’s hard to get perspective on what changes we need to focus on and what we can legitimately let slide.
And when we focus on a triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit, that just adds an additional, vitally important layer of complexity to our path.
Before you despair, we have a plan for you.
Supporting locally owned independent businesses is part of the core mission of Re>Think Local, and we provide a complimentary business advisory session to our members. In almost all cases, the benefit of one of these sessions more than makes up for the cost of membership. Not a member? It is worth joining for this benefit alone.
Meeting marketing challenges, solving people problems, navigating legal issues, figuring out how to make your business more sustainable—a fresh perspective can make all the difference.
Re>Think Local is also committed to sharing knowledge and wisdom with the community, speaking about localism and the new economy in talks tailored to specific audiences. BNI, women’s groups, library or community groups, senior groups, sustainability groups—wherever there is a need.
Yes, you are busy running your business. But if you are too busy to grow yourself, you might just end up as one of those statistics we all read about—the high rate of business failures. You and your business are worth receiving some support. For Re>Think Local members, we’re there for you. If you’d like to receive information about joining, give us a call. 845-790-8110