Carol Sanford

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Top Five Errors of Responsible Entrepreneurs and the Acumen Needed to Avoid Them – Part 5

January 10th, 2013 · No Comments

Yesterday we looked at the fourth of five errors made by Responsible Entrepreneurs: distancing yourself from customers by relying on market research.

Error Five: Borrowing and Tacking the Ethical and Sustainability Practices of Other Businesses Onto Yours

Why is this an error? When your business borrows plans and practices from other businesses, you can have no idea whether they will make better communities, ecosystems, and economies, and you lose a critical source of innovation and motivation. [Read more →]

Top Five Errors of Responsible Entrepreneurs and the Acumen Needed to Avoid Them – Part 4

January 9th, 2013 · No Comments

This morning we looked at Error Three: choosing the wrong initiatives or the wrong ways to work on them.

Error Four: Using Market Research to Know and Design for Your Customers

Why is this an error? You fool yourself into thinking you know your market and lose the most critical opportunity for success—real, caring connections to your customers. [Read more →]

Top Five Errors of Responsible Entrepreneurs and the Acumen Needed to Avoid Them – Part 3

January 9th, 2013 · No Comments

Yesterday we looked at the first two of Five Top Errors entrepreneurs make as they build and grow their businesses: paying too much attention to trends and competition; and misplaced measurements that cause loss of customer loyalty.

Error Three: Taking On the Wrong Initiatives or Working On Them the Wrong Way

Why is this an error? It is one of the most wasteful uses of resources, a lot like gambling or hoping to learn from mistakes as the worst case. [Read more →]

Top Five Errors of Responsible Entrepreneurs and the Acumen Needed to Avoid Them – Part 2

January 8th, 2013 · No Comments

My last post looked at the first of five serious errors that responsible entrepreneurs make: following trends and placing too much emphasis on competitiveness.

Error Two: Measuring How You’re Doing at the Wrong Place in the Work Stream.

Why is this an error? It promotes navel-gazing internal thinking, which leads to failure to detect customer dissatisfaction and loss of customer loyalty. [Read more →]

Top Five Errors of Responsible Entrepreneurs and the Acumen Needed to Avoid Them – Part 1

January 8th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Whether you are building a new business or growing an established one, it is important to know what factors can limit your success. Often actions we take for what seem to be the best of reasons turn out to be errors. Over time, these errors can spread into our decision-making processes and implementation. There are hundreds of different mistakes that are easy to make, but five stand out as the biggest strategic errors. Each has a multiplier impact on business, and beyond direct effects, may undermine a business as a whole.

Error One: Too Much Time and Emphasis on Trends and Competitive Assessments

Why is this an error? It promotes commodity offerings and diminishes the innovation that is core to your business’s entrepreneurial culture. [Read more →]

Three New Year’s Resolutions for The Responsible Entrepreneur

December 31st, 2012 · No Comments

We as individuals love our New Year’s resolutions, those steps we promise ourselves we’ll take to improve our health, relationships, and prosperity. But research shows that most resolutions are forgotten within two weeks. It also confirms that when our friends make the same or similar resolutions, we stick with ours longer and do a better job. For this reason, organizations—particularly entrepreneurial businesses—are the perfect places to take on New Year’s resolutions. I propose three that will have the same good effects as personal resolutions by making big contributions toward your business’s growth, our democratic processes and institutions, and Life of Earth.

1.  Take early and concerted action to do what makes all of your venture’s stakeholders more vital and viable.

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to make tradeoffs, opting to produce benefits only for their own organizations, planning to do more for others later. But there is no later when it comes to doing what is right and beneficial for all. Think about it. What if we considered only ourselves when we made decisions that affected our families and friends, assuring them that we would make it up to them later? We can see immediately how selfish this is and that it would instantly set in motion a breakdown in reciprocity, undoing our essential, primary bonds. [Read more →]

Nine Books for Responsible Entrepreneurs to Read in 2013: to change how you think about business

December 19th, 2012 · 3 Comments

Learn more about The Responsible Entrepreneur on a free tele seminar on Jan. 10th 2013. Sign up here to participate or listen to the recorded call. It will focus on the six strategic questions that must be answered and how they must be, to succeed in business and have the platform to change the world. .

Building an Entrepreneurial Mind through Reading:

My list includes books on understanding yourself as an entrepreneur, your customers thinking and how the market works beyond what is visible.  None are written for business audiences exclusively, but have significant thinking to contribute. Only two are new, but the old ones lay a ground missing from some more popular ones. They are often focused on how to think about about very complex situations and how to be more systemic in thinking.

 

1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini We have been so brainwashed by the behaviorist we not longer understand how we can create influence.  Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book. [Read more →]

18 Core Questions for Entrepreneurs (The first six)

December 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

Free Responsible Entrepreneur Teleseminar:To provide more information about the institute and the Responsible Entrepreneur Workshops coming in 2013, I am offering a teleseminar on Dec. 5, 2012, at 4 pm Pacific Time. If you sign up here, you can listen to the recording even if you cannot attend. This teleseminar and the 2013 workshops are appropriate for both entrepreneurs who own their own businesses and intrapreneurs who are seeking to change the game using business platforms that others have created.

The Responsible Entrepreneur Institute

Writing, educating and working for and with Responsible Entrepreneurs

There are several ways to join The Responsible Entrepreneur Institute program in order to radically improve:

  • Your business’s financial effectiveness (earning, margins and cash flow)
  • Your own strategic leadership and ability to align your organization
  • Spirit, will and execution in your organization or operations
  • Embedding of responsibility as a way of doing business

All of the programs in this TRE Institute series connect you to the 18 Spheres of Business Success, a proven business geometry framework that provides a systemic way to understand the whole of a business from the perspective of The Responsible Entrepreneur. Each program level offers an increasingly deeper experience and personalization, along with increasing amounts of one-on-one time. Each includes personal development leading to increasing levels of personal and professional growth. All levels are progressive and build on or deepen one another. They are also holographic—you can start with any one of them.

The program, as a whole of all levels, is a multiple year process, building effectiveness within all 18 spheres, but significant changes begin to occur within 3-6 months. These include increased understanding of subjects covered, as well as applications you can bring to your business immediately.

Introduction to the 6 Strategic Questions

 

Systemic Performance Indices Corporate Direction Competitive Pursuits
 

How do we ensure and measure financial effectiveness, responsibly?

 

 

 

 

How do we chose the best direction and differentiate ourselves, responsibly?

 

How do we determine the right initiatives and their chance of success, responsibly?

Capacity Portfolio Management & Differentiation Marketing Premises
How do we ensure success with partnerships, mergers, investors, acquisitions, and divestitures, responsibly?  

How do we develop and manage a portfolio of offerings for the right set of customers, responsibly?

 

What is the best business model and market strategies for our type of business and our commitment to responsibility?

Free Responsible Entrepreneur Teleseminar:To provide more information about the institute and the Responsible Entrepreneur Workshops coming in 2013, I am offering a teleseminar on Dec. 5, 2012, at 4 pm Pacific Time. If you sign up here, you can listen to the recording even if you cannot attend. This teleseminar and the 2013 workshops are appropriate for both entrepreneurs who own their own businesses and intrapreneurs who are seeking to change the game using business platforms that others have created.

 

Game-Changing Entrepreneurs: Beyond “Doing the Right Thing and Doing Good”

November 26th, 2012 · No Comments

All entrepreneurs spark a better future—their own and sometimes all of ours. The ideas they start with offer opportunities to develop new potential and to do it in their own ways. But not all entrepreneurial intentions or paths are the same; nor do they bring about the same degree of meaningful change.

There are at least two different paths that are intended to serve more than just an individual founder or leader. Some entrepreneurs see their businesses as the means to create higher orders of possibility for the work of business, itself.  The path they take most often is that of the role-model entrepreneur, providing exemplars for new ways to do business that break from the traditional model.

For example, a business led by a role-model entrepreneur may demonstrate a radically new way to treat a workforce or it may show how it’s possible to better account for Earth resources in terms or impact or ways for communities where facilities and operations exist to take their impacts into consideration. New products or services are the likeliest, successful results of this kind of entrepreneurship.

Such endeavors are created from the heartfelt belief that they are the right way to do things. Some leaders are willing to stand up for the new way, speaking and writing about it, but leaving it to others to consider what they will do with the example offered. For this reason, the role-model approach may be too slow and too late to create the kinds of change that are urgently needed now. More must be done.

The second path is the way of the game-changer entrepreneur, whose intention is to go beyond becoming a role model and building a business with integrity simply because this is the better way. Although this is indeed a worthy effort, for those entrepreneurs who see even further into the future, becoming role models and trusting others to follow is not enough to bring about the changes we need to foster now.

The game changer’s path is to build and grow a business with the intention to make fundamental changes beyond the business, itself, and the values embedded in its way of operating. The game-changer understands that business can be a way to intervene or become a catalyst for fundamental changes in the patterns and practices of government, industry (its own and sometimes others), societal norms, cultural agreements, and many other aspects of the ways in which nations operate for the wellbeing of all.

The game changer is a new, big-promise entrepreneur, The Responsible Entrepreneur, a new breed who make promises, often in very public forums, to make things work better for all. In two recent articles, I introduced four archetypes or approaches to take entrepreneurs’ good intentions and develop from them the game-changer path. The first of these is published at the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The second—“How Big is Your Promise?”—is at CSRwire. The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game-Changing Archetypes, my latest book, will be out in 2013.

To spread the word about game changing as an essential component of the entrepreneurial role, I have founded The Responsible Entrepreneur Institute. The institute will offer workshops online, as teleseminars, and in person. It will publish a unique blog for entrepreneurs who aspire to elevate their promises to the level of game changing. The first set of workshops will combine both virtual and in person sessions in Seattle, beginning early in the year.

Free Responsible Entrepreneur Teleseminar

To provide more information about the institute and the Responsible Entrepreneur Workshops coming in 2013, I am offering a teleseminar on Dec. 5, 2012, at 4 pm Pacific Time. If you sign up here, you can listen to the recording even if you cannot attend. This teleseminar and the 2013 workshops are appropriate for both entrepreneurs who own their own businesses and intrapreneurs who are seeking to change the game using business platforms that others have created.

Managing People Responsibly for Innovation

September 25th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Women in Innovation 2012 just took place in Seattle. I loved it. I loved speaking and leading a panel. I loved all but one thing: One person on one panel had such an outdated view of business leadership that I couldn’t figure out how she got there or which teachers had advised her.

Her sin? She kept referring to “her people” and admonishing us to “get rid of the bad seeds as quickly as possible.” This was her advice to an auditorium filled with young women—very young in some cases—who wanted to know how to innovate. From the standpoint of managing people, she failed on the innovation front.

It is time I write about responsible management and innovation. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. It seems difficult to explain but also terribly important because some business leaders in their thirties are thinking like the old leaders of the previous era. My worst fear? I saw some of the young entrepreneurs in the audience taking notes.

Last year Inc. magazine asked me for my advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs. My answer was “do not copy the outdated—if they were ever relevant—or popular practices of old line business.” The previous and present eras I speak of are actually two worldviews. I call them Fixed Performance and Dynamic Developmental. They need to be a concern for parents, teachers, leaders in business and government, and anyone who works with any living thing. [Read more →]