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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

E is for Empowering

"Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence."
- Vince Lombardi's words from his first team meeting with the Green Bay Packers.

E is for empowering. 

Entrepreneurs empower others. 

I got a whiff of this long before I became a leader or an entrepreneur.  I loved watching NFL Films and how they would run down the "best of all" players at key positions.  I discovered after a few viewings that Bart Starr and some other key players had all played on the same team- the Green Bay Packers.  They all played on the team coached by Vince Lombardi.  There had to be something about Lombardi that caused these men to excel at this gridiron sport.


Vince Lombardi called on his players to take ownership of their actions.  He urged them to take every action into consideration in regards to what it meant for the team and its collective goal.  He offered his men the focal point of excellence, shared what it took to achieve such a lofty goal and allowed them to seek it out as their own.  Much like John Wooden is to college basketball, Vince Lombardi is to professional football.

The entrepreneur can learn how to empower others like Lombardi.  He or she simply needs to understand motivation and messaging.  The motivator has a message and that message must be motivational.  You lose good people when you fail to motivate them to go on beyond their current status.  Motivation takes one beyond the state of mediocrity.  Mentor and coach your people to deliver results that help the team win, not just the individual.

Engraved in Ebony
Richard Allen

Richard Allen is best known as the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination, the first independent African American denomination in the United States.  However, this former slave served as a social reformer, an educator, and a businessman.  In the city known as the "City of Brotherly Love," Richard Allen left a lasting impression on Philadelphia through the Free African Society as well as the establishment of the AME Christian denomination.

Friday, February 18, 2011

E is for Eloquent

Entrepreneurs have the gift of gab mixed with a little charisma.  If an entrepreneur expects to succeed, then speaking and speaking about the business are at the top of the success strategy list somewhere.

No, the entrepreneur doesn't have to be able to deliver an address like Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King.  The entrepreneur needs to find his or her voice, though.  That's the proverbial "calling card" for many in their industry or field.  They are known for what they talk about. 

If you are versed in it, you most probably have a vested interest in it.  Share your insights and interest with others.  Are you launching something new? Or, did you just start a new partnership with a local agency or corporation? Speak up and speak out about it.  Let other know.  Make an impression on others with your wealth of well-placed words.

Go to Toastmasters or take a speech communications class at a local community college or the Learning Annex.  If you are a writer or poet, even a songwriter, do something at a local open mic night.  You just might surprise yourself once you get up and get in front of people.  Who knows? Your next big client may come out of that commencement speech that you provide to the 2011 class of graduating sixth graders.  You never really know.

Engraved in Ebony
A.G. Gaston
"Find a need and fill it."- A.G. Gaston

Insurance. Funeral homes. Construction.  A.G. Gaston was one of the most successful businessmen in Alabama.  His humble beginnings in a rural log cabin didn't hinder him from amassing a fortune from his dedication to sound business and financial practices.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

E is for Endurance

Entrepreneurs have to endure.  They have to stick it out, even when it seems like quitting time.  Even when everyone says throw in the towel.  The entrepreneur has to endure.

Enduring is part of what makes an entrepreneur successful.  Look at Donald Trump.  If he had not endured the real estate dips and tabloid rumors, he probably never would have made it to the level of The Apprentice.  I see individuals like Trump as examples of enduring the good with the bad, allowing one to keep going despite the noise of the crowd of onlookers.

Seek to endure as you grow your business.  You sustain your business by what you withstand and weather as a business leader.

Engraved in Ebony

Booker T. Washington: Black Leadership in the Age of Jim Crow
April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915
Educator, Businessman, Leader
Booker T. Washington proved that a many could rise to a position of honor from humble beginnings.  He made an impact on the education of Black America, establishing the Tuskegee Institute, and he demonstrated that raising funds for Black education could be done in some and unconventional ways.  Washington believed in and demonstrated hard work and sacrifice.  In Up from Slavery, Washington retold his own story in a manner that influenced and impacted young minds for generations.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

E is for Expertise

"Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out." Ronald Reagan

The Wit & Wisdom of Ronald Reagan

As an entrepreneur, you have to get beyond your skills.  You limit your capacity if the business is limited to you and you alone.  That's suicide, not success.
Glengarry Glen Ross

Let me get both raw and real with the person who is a do-it-yourself go-getter full of get-up-and-go from here to eternity.  You'll "b" all that you can be: bummed out,burnt out and blown out.
Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork

You need to develop your team to act like a team. Then, once they are up and running, you can use some of those words that President Reagan threw out there in that quote: delegate, authority, policy and the best people.  You may need to first see the best in people if you are never bringing out their best. 

The Reagan Diaries
  • Collaborate with others... Get together and get it worked out together.  Make things happen.
  • Connect with others... Don't wait for them to approach you.  Get over yourself and make a connection.
  • Co-author with others... Create a "team" blog with another CEO or entrepreneur.  Write a book together.  Start with an op-ed article for the local press.  Conduct a joint training and show others you are working collectively with your resources.
  • Communicate with others... email, newsletter, press releases, etc.  Write up a blurb and blog about it.  Make it something special that people will be captivated by.  Get their attention and keep it.

Business By The Book: Complete Guide of Biblical Principles for the Workplace


Engraved in Ebony:
Father Divine

God, Harlem U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story

Father Divine (circa 1876 – September 10, 1965), also known as Reverend M.J. Divine, was an African American spiritual leader and business influence in North America from around 1907 until his death in 1965.  He was Major Jealous Divine, the "Messenger" of the International Peace Movement.  He oversaw a lucrative enterprise that included hotels, eateries, and clothing shops in New York, Los Angeles, and other locations.  He was a spiritual, political and business influence during his time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

E is for Exceptional

ex·cep·tion·al (k-spsh-nl)
1. Being an exception; uncommon.2. Well above average; extraordinary

Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda
Every entrepreneur should be exceptional.  If the entrepreneur is going to succeed rather than survive, there needs to be some exceptional qualities present and on display even before he or she clears a profit.  If no such qualities exist within the entrepreneur, then it is like fighting a losing battle. Defeat and destruction are inevitable, leaving no real winner from the venture.

The Art of War

You have to operate somewhere above average as an entrepreneur.  Otherwise, you will run into some major obstacles along the way.  Rejection awaits the hopeful and prayerful consultant or writer.  Betrayal may set in before the ink is dry on a partnership agreement or an LLC.  You need to see the value in being an exceptional entrepreneur.


Engraved in Ebony:

Historic Print (S): [Hiram Rhoades Revels, Afro-American senator, three-quarter length portrait, seated by s

Hiram Rhoades (Rhodes?) Revels (1827-1901)
He was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress, serving as the senate representative of Mississippi in 1870 and 1871.  He was an ordained A.M.E. minister. Revels served as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College alos known as Alcorn State University) and  taught philosophy. In 1873, Revels served as Mississippi's secretary of state ad interim.

A Short History of Reconstruction


Sunday, February 6, 2011

E is for Expressive

Fiddler on the Roof (2-Disc Collector's Edition)
Every single entrepreneur should be expressive.  Each one has to share about his or her wares with others.  Otherwise, who will know that they are even in business?

Entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of living in a vacuum. The entrepreneur may not be a "people person," but he or she surely needs to develop a way to interact and engage people if he or she plans to stay in business long.  An entrepreneur's survival is dependent upon the ability to sell others on what he or she provides as a service or product.

Learning how to network will go a long way.  I don't mean selling to the point where people duck and dodge you at the local chamber of commerce gatherings every time that you come around.  Salespeople are too pushy in my opinion.  You want to learn how to schmooze with smoothness.  You want to make talking about your business flow naturally in every conversation.Porgy and Bess Poster Movie 11x17 Sidney Poitier Dorothy Dandridge Sammy Davis Jr. Pearl Bailey

I think back of the famous plays like Porgy and Bess and Fiddler on the Roof.  You learned about what those men did for a living in that fishing town as they sang It take a long pull to get there  in "Porgy and Bess."  The same with the matchmaker as the girls sang in hopes of the matchmaker making them a match and finding them a catch.  When I went to a baseball game last season, I heard the concession vendor calling out to fans and rattling off how he hot dogs and peanuts with a melodic-like tone.  That's what the entrepreneur must do.  The entrepreneur must speak up and express how the product or service will benefit others.  The entrepreneur has to express it with heart and feeling, seeking to win others over to believing it just as much as the entrepreneur does himself.