Understanding Risk

Many people confuse being an entrepreneur with being someone with an idea that no one has thought of.

In one episode of AMC’s award-winning drama Mad Men, Don Draper learns that the company he works with is being sold right under his nose. He runs back to the office to alert his partners and to urge them to consider stepping in to re-purchase it. He informs one of the founding partners, Bert Cooper, that he needs to wake up as he has important news to deliver. Cooper, in his mid-70s, reacts calmly by essentially saying, we all have contracts and that they can do as they please. Draper grows frustrated, basically saying, “So that’s it? You’re losing your business, and you don’t care?” He adds that old men love building golden tombs and sealing the rest of us in with them. Cooper then tells him:

“Young men love risks ’cause they cannot imagine the consequences.” 

But not all risks are the same. Take Steve Jobs. Many thought he was a risk-taker, but he was actually very risk averse. He wanted to do other things that people thought would not succeed. He wasn’t trying to get technology before anyone. Jobs watched other companies introduce a portable music player and, in his mind, do it poorly and not profitably. He then decided that a portable music player, for instance, would transform the music industry when everybody else was saying, “Well, other companies are making mp3 players and they stink.” It wasn’t like Jobs invented it. It is just that he pushed the notion by making them great so he could transform the experience. That’s not being risky, that’s being smart. 

Many people confuse being an entrepreneur with being someone with an idea that no one has thought of. At times, this does happen. In that case, the risks are high. Most successful entrepreneurs take existing ideas and make them better — which limits the risk. We as leaders cannot look at all risks through the same lens as Bert Cooper.  He was near the end of his professional life; therefore, the thought of buying back his company seemed risky. To Draper, though, there was no risk — not because of age — instead because of his experience and understanding of the profession. He knew how to do the job. How can that be risky? 

We as leaders need to examine all potential risks through a different lens. Let’s determine the real consequences and let’s never let age be a factor. 


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Fredrick Taylor's Rules

Taylor’s scientific management theory, also called classical management, emphasizes efficiency.

In 1890, there was a huge cocktail party in Pittsburgh with all of the movers and shakers of the city, including Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie held court in the corner of the room, smoking a cigar when Frederick Taylor, the man who was becoming famous as an expert on organizing work, came up to him to say hello. “Young man,” Carnegie said, squinting dubiously at the consultant, “if you can tell me something about management that is worth hearing, I will send you a check for $10K.”

Now, $10K was a great deal of money in 1890. Conversations stopped as the people nearby turned to hear what Taylor would say. “Mr. Carnegie,” Taylor said, “I would advise you to make a list of the 10 most important things you can do. And then, start doing No. 1.”

And, the story goes, a week later Taylor received a check for $10K. What Taylor told Carnegie was simple, clear, concise and doable. Taylor’s scientific management theory, also called classical management, emphasizes efficiency. It had several principles that are still relevant today: 

Break Down Assignments into Subtasks

Rather than assigning an entire project to one individual and allowing he or she the proper time to complete it, managers break down larger tasks into smaller parts. These subtasks are meant to make the process more organized and efficient, as multiple employees work on one assignment — each taking care of their own piece.

Delegate Responsibilities and Train Workers

Executives measure the most efficient way to do a given task, then delegate the subtasks only to employees with the proper skills and abilities. Those workers are then trained by management.

Workers' roles tend to be specific and fixed, and their tasks basic and repetitive. Often, employees feel insignificant, completing the same chore hours on end. But to Taylor, each worker plays a crucial role in the company's success.

Monitor Performance

Supervisors ensure each worker below them is doing their job efficiently; and if a more productive practice is discovered, workers are re-trained to implement those methods into their work.

Because employees must repeat the same mundane tasks, incentives are high. Workers are motivated to deliver quality work because they are financially rewarded based on their performance. The more efficient the worker is, the higher their pay will be.

Allocate Work Between Managers and Employees

Most companies have various levels of workers, from supervisors to part-timers. Typically, the more experience and drive you have, the more likely you are to land an executive position. This is how much of the business world operates.

Taylor believed in being specific, being detailed so that everyone understand their job.  He was a big believer in “Do your Job,” before the Patriots’ Bill Belichick made it famous. But like Belichick, Taylor wanted no grey areas in everyone understanding their specific roles. 

The advice from Taylor proves once again Carnegie made smart decisions. 


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Thank You, Daily Coach Readers

We love what we do, but we know your engagement is what makes us a vibrant community. 

“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise.”  — Sam Walton. 

In September of 2013, George Clooney invited 14 of his most-trusted friends to a dinner party. No one knew the reasons for Clooney’s gathering, but when he asks his friends to be somewhere, they show up. 

When the group arrived, Clooney escorted them into the dining room, where name tags on each table let the guests know their assigned seats. On them were individual suitcases. Clooney asked all of them to stand behind their chair, then began his welcoming talk.

“Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life,” he said. “I came to L.A. I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you, and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you’.”

When each guest opened the suitcase, they were amazed to find $1M in twenty-dollar bills. Clooney then said: ‘I know we’ve all been through some hard times, some of you are still going through it. 'You don't have to worry about your kids, you don't have to worry about, you know, school, you don't have to worry about paying your mortgage." Clooney also paid off their taxes for the year. 

A few of the 14 tried to decline the incredible gesture, but Clooney would not have it.  He was grateful for their friendship and their role in his enormous success — and giving them this huge amount of money was Clooney's way of showing his gratitude. 

As leaders, we cannot all be as charitable as Clooney; however, we can show our gratitude in other ways to those who work with us and those who help us achieve our success. It’s important to recognize their impact on helping us reach our goals. A sincere heartfelt “Thank You” can go a long way.

Here are 3 easy ways to express gratitude:

  1. Hand-written notes to those who have helped you in the past and the present. Take time to personalize your gratitude with genuine words of appreciation. Make a list of those who need to understand your appreciation and start sending thanks.   

  2. Celebrate small victories. The best way to show gratitude is not when something big happens, but when something small or mundane occurs. Every success, small or large, needs an expression of gratitude.

  3. Show unexpected thanks to those who might not work with you each day, yet play an essential role within the organization. The person who handles the office cleaning needs to feel your sense of gratitude as much as your close colleague.

Today, all of us here at The Daily Coach celebrate our first anniversary and want to thank every member of our community for your daily support. We love what we do, but we know your engagement is what makes us a vibrant community. Our fantastic growth is a tribute to your loyal readership, your daily support, and your assistance in spreading the word. 

All of us here at The Daily Coach send our sincere gratitude to you, the reader.


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Sunday Thinking

We make time for those things that we think are important.

Note: You are receiving this email because you subscribe to The Daily Coach

The weekly Sunday Thinking newsletter is quick-hit content that aims to provide a booster shot to your thought process as you end and start your week.


“Be more intentional about who you want to become. Have vision beyond your current circumstances. Imagine your best future self, and start acting like that person today.” 

— Brendon Burchard, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way


I. The Change Playbook

Everything is open to change. Redefine what the journey is.

  1. Change the Known.

  2. Change the Boundaries.

  3. Change the Game.


II. Lead Yourself First

As a leader you must:

  • Manage your time.

  • Practice saying No.

  • Build a culture of trust.

  • Attack the day with a beginner’s mindset.

  • Maintain an attitude of continuous improvement.

  • Start each day with a “What’s Most Important” list.

  • Master the art of negotiation. Life is a series of negotiations.


III. Must Win Battles

  • Communication

  • Leadership

  • Engagement

  • Realignment


IV. Question

What am I most excited about today?


V. This Week I Will

  1. Slow down.

  2. Live with intent.

  3. Practice being curious.

  4. Question my assumptions.

  5. Notice when my mind wanders.


The Last Words…

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” 
― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God


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The Daily Coach Week In Review — (Week of July 5)

The top Daily Coach content from this week in your Inbox, Twitter & Instagram

With the hustle and bustle of our lives, this edition serves to provide you with a recap of the top #DailyCoach content from this week in your Inbox, Twitter & Instagram.


💭 FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Stay true to your personal standards. Do not sacrifice them to appease your critics. If you are not careful, you can develop an addiction to the applause.


📈 MOST READ:

1. 'That Will Never Work.' Leadership Lessons from Netflix

You have to trust yourself, try things, and be OK with failing.

2. Sunday Thinking

Eliminate procrastination as a lifestyle.

3. What 'Hamilton' Can Teach Us as Leaders

We must continuously evaluate our teaching methods. We must continuously evaluate how our students learn.

4. 'Butch Cassidy' and Keeping Change

We might not rob banks, but we now must find new ways to get things done. 

5. What's the Most-Populated Continent?

We all get complacent at times, settling for comfortable and familiar instead of maverick and transcendent.


🐦 TWEET OF THE WEEK:


📸 INSTAGRAM OF THE WEEK:

“It is what it is. But, it will be what you make it.” - #PatSummitt
July 2, 2020

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