Every entrepreneur or small business owner needs to stay on top of their skills. With that in mind, I'm always on the lookout for a good book that inspires me and recenters my outlook on our business and our priorities. This weekend I've been devouring 8 Lessons in Military Leadership for Entrepreneurs by Robert Kiyosaki.
At the onset, Robert Kiyosaki, aka Rich Dad from his popular book Rich Dad, Poor Dad points out the challenging odds entrepreneurs face: “nine out of 10 entrepreneurs fail in the first five years in business. For every 10 who survive, nine of those 10 fail in the second five years.” Rather than just a dry book about leadership qualities, 8 Lessons in Military Leadership for Entrepreneurs comes to life with Robert's lessons extracted from his military training and combat experience. He ties this back to his adjustment to civilian life after his time in the service and relates them to and his path to success to illustrate leadership qualities crucial to becoming one of the few that finds success in starting and growing a business.
One of the most resonant of the eight lessons is his mantra to ‘Always Be Caring'. Here caring is synonymous with respect. Providing respect and compassion for one's clients, customers and employees as a foundation of relationships and conversations, even the tough ones will be more productive and valuable for both parties. Listening with a caring ear on a sales call will give you the ability to provide better customer service. With caring as your foundation, rather than some misguided idea that you should be out to eat someone's lunch you might even be inspired to produce better products and services for your customers. Similarly, you are more likely to attract and retain devoted employees similarly motivated to do their very best for a caring organization.
I also found Robert's chapter on the ‘Need for Speed' a great reminder about the constant need for rapid innovation and adjustment. Robert discusses several different types of speed while driving home the point that a business is only as fast as its slowest component. Making all the decisions necessary to truly innovate and grow requires a ton of risk-taking. Robert is a firm believer that businesses fail often because of the fear of risk taking which holds leaders back from making decisions. He notes that traditional education techniques punish failure rather than rewarding the risk of the attempt. Important to remember whenever one is agonizing over a decision or tempted to put off decisions.
If you or someone you know, want to be inspired by on great leadership qualities you can bring to your business 8 Lessons in Military Leadership for Entrepreneurs is a great place to start. In a sea of business book stands out with important leadership skills gleaned from Roberts decorated service in the Marines and his ability to translate the skills learned there to business. Check it out at Amazon and prepare to be inspired.