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What if I fall to my death?

Sometimes risk just has to be IGNORED so that WANT can win.  I was going to say risk has to be “accepted,” but when it comes to life and death, even big failure, IGNORED is a better word.  Here’s a story to illustrate.

Yes, I’m up there – look closely!

I was honored by my wife and sons with a surprise birthday climbing trip to Ouray.  At climbing gyms, I know that the rope is secured by over-engineered, professionally installed anchors.  In Ouray, as my sons took turns “lead-climbing” to set the top rope using anchors bolted by strangers, I wondered, “were these anchors well-installed?” Then, I climbed because I wanted to, not because I was certain it was safe.*

That made me think more about risks taken by entrepreneurs.  Lots has been written about business risk – risk assessment, boldly taking risk, minimizing risk.  It’s clear to me though that…

The difference between those who start a business and those who don’t isn’t determination of risk, it’s determination.

Entrepreneurs simply decide that they want to climb.

* My guest for the next PROCO360 podcast, Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services and an avid climber, has a further theory I’ll share in Part 2 of this blog subject.

Example: Reminder of Why We Need Business Thinking in Government

My county sent me a license plate renewal for $188, and gave me the option of paying online for a $5.00 “convenience fee.”

I know, it’s just $5* but I don’t like wasting money – even more, I don’t like what I believe to be illogical, bureaucratic policies, so instead of paying $5, I took two minutes and 50 cents to mail a check.  Those of us in business know if the cost of paying online were free or close to free, the county would instantly have the money and reduce administrative processing costs.

This little anecdote offers suggests two points to consider:

  • Incentives do drive behavior, and not always in constructive ways. When customers aren’t behaving as we’d like, could we be incenting them to do so?
  • It’s election season – considering my “convenience fee” example, let’s put people in charge who have shown that they will govern with business thinking.

* By the way, pre-tax one may have had to earn $8.00, which compounded at 5% over 20 years is $21.23. That 2 minutes became $637/hour.

How to Blow Your Brand with One Email – example

Subject Line: “Can you Help me?”

I received an email from a good friend.  Of course, I opened it.

My friend is a real estate agent I know to be huge-hearted, lovable, good natured and trustworthy.  This email, I sadly admit, really disappointed me.  Here’s the text:

  Do you have two minutes to help me with a problem???

I’m taking a great class right now and we’re having a competition. I need to get at least ten referrals in the next month in order to win!!!  I was just curious, who do you know from church, work, who wants to buy a home, sell a home, or invest in Real Estate that I could call today?

Thanks for taking the time to think about it!

I get it.  He’s trying something new, maybe stretching his comfort zone.  But dang it, I used to be absolutely certain that he was 100% focused on serving others.  Now he’s asking for something that’s completely about HIM.  Here’s what I wrote back to him:

  (Name), you know me well enough to know I refer when it makes sense – and I have! The (his firstname) I’m used to is all about helping others, not making an ask as part of a competition.  Sorry buddy, this makes me uncomfortable.  Stay you – that’s who people love.

We sometimes make mistakes when trying something new – successful people all make mistakes along the way.

Here’s the lesson: even when trying something new, we must be very careful to protect who we are and the reputation we’ve built in how others see us.

Do you know how your gatekeeper makes you look?

Recently I received a response from a communications director that felt like this photo.

I had invited his CEO to be a guest of the PROCO360 podcast and the snooty gist of the response was that the CEO is a very important and busy man.  His time cannot be wasted, so I must first convince the gatekeeper of the merit of my invitation.  Only then might my request be added to many from the throngs of admirers.

PROCO360 is a labor of love.  I take satisfaction in NOT interviewing jerks which this CEO must be, so I sent a reply to the communications director that his CEO would not be a fit.

I later met the CEO who is a lover of Colorado and Colorado business, and he’s a nice guy.  We were having a great conversation and the PROCO360 show came up.  He said he loves the mission and he’d like to be a guest on the show.  I said, “that’s interesting – I’d ruled you OUT.”  As you’d expect, that made him curious, then profoundly apologetic.  We worked things out and he’ll be on the podcast.

Do you know how your gatekeeper is making you look?

Meet Pat.

Meet Pat.  He is braver than I am, and he’s having more fun.

We all know we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously and I think most of us dream of being less inhibited.

I met Pat at Hopp’s Auto Body and when I did, I asked him, “tell me about your hair.”  As it turns out, his mother-in-law said he’d never have a mohawk, so just to be a sport, he did, and he changes the paint color for variety.  Why?  “It’s just for fun.”

As a long-ago mascot for the Denver Broncos, I felt comfortable acting crazy because I was anonymous.  It was a blast!  In person I’m way more inhibited.  I wish I were as brave as Pat when it comes to living large by having fun and laughing at myself.  Pat’s a great reminder to work on that.  How about you?

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