Become an entrepreneur. Take risks, use your initiative.

"Yes, son Iím a self-made man."
Thatís what I like about you, Dad. You take the blame for everything."

Make things happen. Get personally involved in the action. If youíre an employer, encourage employee initiative.

Lacerate red tape. Red tape is symbolic of the worst type of bureaucracy in both the private and public sectors. Nothing strangles initiative, creativity and innovation more effectively.


Heard about the man who had an addiction to red tape?
He joined the civil service.

Implement an open door policy. Invite all employees at all levels to pop in and kick new ideas around.

Establish an "open book management system". Give your employees unimpeded access to financial information. Encourage them to monitor the progress of the plans they suggest. Give them a stake in the financial success of the business.


You know why civil servants never talk about their work?
Because they never do any.

Lead, donít manage. Lead, donít boss.

  • If you think you have influence, just try ordering somebody elseís dog around.

Keep your employees aware of the risks, of what they can gain and of how they can make the difference. Businesses -- even big businesses - now want people with entrepreneurial flair. You need to acquire at least four skills before you can consider yourself a business leader in the mould of an entrepreneur ...

  • become business literate. Get to know everything there is to know about the business youíre in;

  • develop conceptual skills that allow you to think systematically and creatively.

  • Cultivate decision-making skills that allow you to resolve problems quickly, often with access to only incomplete information, and

  • develop people skills so that you can recruit and motivate the right type of people for your type of business.

No business can survive without making profits. So become a self-contained profit centre. Watch your bottom line. Nurture the desire to make money. Think and earn profits.

Keep pushing the profit button. Draw up a budget. Take into account every factor that impinges on the cost of your product or service.

Calculate exactly how much each person costs the company in terms of wages and salaries, office or factory rental, medical aid, pension, stationery, telephones, etc. Then ask them to calculate the profit on their jobs. A minimum of three times cost is an acceptable norm. For example if a secretary costs you R10 000 a month in total - including 13th cheque, office space, salary, etc - she should be providing you with value worth R30 000 a month.

Smash the logistics jam. Letís face it, there will never be an organisation that is completely without boundaries. You canít eliminate all boundaries. But you can make them permeable so that they allow information, ideas, resources and energy to flow freely throughout your company. To make the boundaries in your company more porous, set each of your employees the task of redefining his or her role in producing a result.

Work on results. Replace the titles on everyoneís business cards with a description of what each individual does in customersí terms. Change from descriptive titles to prescriptive statements.

And donít stop there.

Make everyone in your organisation responsible for producing a measurable result, whether heís the office cleaner who has undertaken to keep the premises clean, or the managing director whoís responsible for producing long-term profits.

Get each person to define their result. Then ask them to write down exactly what functions they should perform to produce that result.

Outsource. Buy in high levels of specialist expertise. Save on the cost of ownership. Outsourcing certain functions costs you less and gives you more.

"An economy built around lots and lots of minnows rather than a few dinosaurs is infinitely better," says Frankfurt-based Max Worcester. In fact, 96 percent of German GDP comes from small and medium-sized companies.

Outsource as much as possible. Farm out tasks to save on the costs of ownership and the substantial costs related to the employment of people required to do the work. Outsourcing gives you access to specialist expertise while containing costs, improving quality and enhancing efficiency.

Surround yourself with experts.


"Yes, Iíll give you a job. You can start by cleaning the floor."
 "But Iím a university graduate."
Get a broom and Iíll show you how then.

Use beginners as experts. Use break-it thinking.

Beware of the typical expert of yesteryear. They can hinder more than help. They have tendency to fit a NEW IDEA into an existing model or framework. They put new problems into the same old context in order to understand them. They tend to define what is new, in terms of what is old, what is unknown in terms of what is known.

Set up a network. What you know is important. Who you know is more important. Surround yourself with on-tap expertise: keep an up-to-date contact book of Guys Who Really Know (GWRK). Set aside time to purge your contact book at least once a month. Use the phone, send faxes or post letters to keep your list current. Donít ignore any opportunity to add to your list of potentially useful people. Spend at least 10% of your time making new contacts. Look for them everywhere you go: conferences, conventions, social functions and sports events, etc. Donít overlook secretaries and assistants.

"Charlie, why donít you play golf with Ted anymore?" asked the wife.
"Would you play golf with a chap who moved the ball with his foot when you werenít watching?" he said.
"Well, no," admitted the wife.
"And neither will Ted," replied the dejected husband.

Classify your contacts under six main headings:

  • potential employers;

  • customers;

  • potential customers;

  • suppliers and

  • potential suppliers

Get networking and keep networking. Itís an informal way to reach knowledgeable people.

Nourish yourself

"A bow kept forever taut will break."

Make your diary into a scrapbook of fun. Write down in detail exactly how youíre going to nourish yourself with enjoyment over the next month. Take time off to unwind and do the non-business related things you want to do. Donít do anything if thatís what it takes to recharge your batteries.

Action points 

  1. Within the next 10 days, you need to know everything there is to know about your business. How are you going to accomplish this rather formidable task?
  2. Identify bureaucratic areas that are impeding your results. Whatís holding up the process?
  3. How/where can you outsource? How can you become a tighter profit centre?
  4. Examine your business card. What description does it have? Cross it out. Write a more suitable one relating to customersí terms.
  5. List your support team members. How should their titles be changed?
  6. Write down an IDEAL LIST OF EXPERTS that you would like to be able to tap into at any time. Next to the area of expertise, write a list of names that spring to mind. EXPERTISE NAMES

1.   Where are you going?
2. How are you going to get there?
3. What will you need to do?
4. What are you lacking?
5. Who is in your way?
6. Who are you aiming at?
7. Who do you need to assist you?
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