by Michael Kline, The Entreprenologist
7 Steps to this, 5 pillars of that, 3 most life-changing what-evers, and let us not forget 8 Minute Abs… who buys this stuff and why?! Is any of it believable? Does any of it work? I certainly have never tried the 8 Minute Abs workout. For personal and business development however, I have the books and the training tapes and I follow the blogs from gurus like Seth Godin, Anthony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, E-Myth, Verne Harnish (Gazelle Coaching), Steven Covey (7 Habits), and dozens of others. I do think that yes, most of it really works, most of it is totally true and applicable to the real world, and most of it is worth every penny they charge for their material. I also think most of it isn’t really anything that new.
I’ve been teaching business development in one fashion or another since 1992. We now enjoy in our workforce, employees that we not even born then who are convinced they know far more than I do, and when it comes to the 8 Minute Abs Workout, or how to use any I-Gizmo, I concede. Sounding like your father? (I know – shoot me now)! I’m glad our youth are smarter than me – it’s progress, but I’ve learned a few things in the last twenty years that only experience can teach.
I’ve experienced that knowledge isn’t wisdom. I’ve experienced that knowing something intellectually is not the same as being motivated to do it. Wisdom seldom changes. We need to stop looking for the new short cut to happiness and study the tried and true principles that have always worked.
There is nothing new. What appears new is the same wisdom with more modern language, more current examples and sexier metaphors; if the new program/system/method is of any quality, the meaning and the intent is all the same as the old stuff. Earl Nightingale, the father of the self-help training industry said most everything Anthony Robbins says today. I got a promotional email from Robin Sharma and a blog post by Seth Godin this week both talking about lessons we learned from Stephen Covey in the late 1980’s. In 1976, Stephen Covey studied self-help literature for the previous 200 years and brought us back to principle-based teachings that had been abandoned in this country for prior fifty years. His research was new; his wisdom was ancient. For this reason, I still use Stephen Covey’s principle-based lessons in my work today; it never gets old and there are no better or more current answers, especially relating to EQ vs. IQ. The growing importance of EQ (emotional intelligence) will have to wait for another column, but Covey covers the basics very nicely.
I’ve experienced that we do better when we stop working so much on technique and work more on character and principles. With the proper foundation, the techniques and methodology fall into place more easily. In business, we must have technique, but we must always be coming from a desire to be of service. I don’t mean to be trained in what to say to customers, although that’s important – I mean to have a sense of service in our hearts; to be passionate about the experiences our customers desire and passionate about our role in making that experience possible.
In my experience, we read these motivational and educational books and go to the seminars, and then it’s near impossible to implement the ideas into real life. Most business owners or managers do not have the time to figure out how to distill the wisdom of the best ideas into a workable plan they can actually execute. Further, if you had the workable plan, who has the focus, discipline and time to follow through and get their employees on the same page?
I have taken the concepts from the best of these gurus and distilled them into a plan I call the Five Steps to Freedom. It contains a little attitude of Tony Robbins (a little Tony goes a long way), the fatherly advice of Brian Tracy, the systems of Michael Gerber (of the E-Myth), made modern and more sophisticated by Verne Harnish, polished with the principles of Stephen Covey in mind, and some Wayne Dyer wisdom of the ages. This is all ancient wisdom, modernized, translated into super-simple lingo that applies to small business and orchestrated into a fill-in-the-blank checklist ready to use in your company.
Even with the availability of all the wisdom, the training and the tools to make it doable, the reality is most business owners will never change. They will continue to work slavishly in their business instead of working on their business, because change is seen as the hardest work of all. Getting what you want is easy. Knowing what you want is hard. Change is easy if you decide you want it.
Michael Kline is a local retailer, success coach and trainer. He may be reached through his website, www.klineseminars.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.