Sunday, April 12, 2009

What can a small business learn from a corporate anthropologist?

Have to say, I was intriqued as well. Dr. Andrea Simon is a corporate anthropologist with Simon Associates Management Consultants who is currently writing a book entitled "How You Get Stuck." Dr. Simon was recently interviewed by Karen E. Klein, an L.A.-based writer who covers small business issues and is the Smart Answers columnist for Business Week magazine.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs have always been known as risk-takers but even they get stuck and can't move forward to grow their businesses. Dr. Simon says that it always goes back to how the brain works. "The brain naturally fights change, our culture fights change plus most of us are not trained to work within a changing environment," she says.

Dr. Simon says that we have to replace our "no, but" responses with "yes, and," which is often easier said than done. She also says that clients often come to her when the "threesomes" hit -- they've lost a new biz pitch 3 times, or struck out some other way 3 times.

I wasn't able to find much in the way of articles written by Dr. Andrea Simon but I did find this blog post on Karen Klein's blog. The best piece of content is the Business Week blogcast that you MUST listen to if you are in business at all, large or small. Ms. Klein interviews Dr. Simon in about a 10-minute interview in which Dr. Simon suggests "shadowing your own clients as they can help improve your business." She also comments about how "flexibility is key for small businesses, but too often owners are slow to adapt." Simon has entrepreneurs shadow their clients and interview non-clients, in order to help them both face and implement change. "If you want change," she adds, "sometimes you have to create a crisis."

In my FastCoach practice, this is the biggest problem I'm uncovering right now. That while small businesses are set up to be nimble and flexible, business owners are just too slow to adapt. The same goes for freelancers or those people in career transition, spending tons of time looking for projects or jobs because they are resistant to change. It's because of exactly what Dr. Simon points out -- that change can be difficult because of how the brain often works for people due to our belief system that we've programmed into it. It makes us fight change rather than embrace it full on.

It's not that the brain is slow to think -- just the opposite. Most often entrepreneurs and small business owners are very fast thinkers, are highly successful and accomplish a great deal. But they can miss reaching a few rungs up the ladder of success when it is right in front of them! Because I possess both natural talent and experience in uncovering those things that get people stuck (and unstuck), my clients reach much higher levels faster than they would if they tried to move forward on their own.

When Dr. Simon's book is released, we'll post again but you really owe it to yourself to stop whatever you're doing right now and listen to the podcast. You are encouraged to take some notes while you listen and ponder what she said, and post a comment below or email me with your thoughts. If you've struck out 3 times or more, I'll be glad to start a dialogue with you on how we can together move your small business forward. Fast.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Scientific American MIND: Rapid thinking makes people happy.

"Accelerated thoughts may trigger the brain's novelty-loving reward system"

Intriguing article in the February 2009 issue of Scientific American MIND magazine about how rapid thinking and brainstorming can increase one's happiness, something that I've known all along from my studies about how the brain works. In addition to fast thinking, my experience from my coaching practice is that listening fast is also integral to one's optimism. If there is no one around for you to brainstorm or quickly problem solve with, you might actually speed up your iPod! (LOL, they go a little slow for me).

The important thing about fast thinking is that those around you generally understand and exchange with the fast person. On the flip side, the fast person has often slowed themselves in an effort to become methodical with their communication. That is necessary sometimes, but often times people have surrounded themselves with a cadre of others who think like they do but then feel challenged to be respectful, knowledgeable, consistant and thorough with their communication. And they often don't need to "slow" as it often drains and frustrates them when they do.

The optimism of fast thinking and its associated speed makes others wonder what the hidden messages are about the real conversation. But THIS type of brainstorming and fast thinking and learning has less in the way of hidden messages, than the slowed-down approach that our society often heralds. For me, it's exciting to keep pace with others and to create as many opportunities for fast exchanges and learning as possible. The ability to create these opportunities for my clients is what gives them their wings yet keeps them coming back. The connection I have with my clients is not only priceless but it's what gives them such new-found freedom. "Finally...!" I always hear them say, as if 100lbs was lifted from their mind.

If you're a fast thinker or enjoy period times of fast brainstorming, and you want to know how best to incorporate it into your business and life for sanity sake as well as your own personal happiness, call the person who is not only a fast thinker but a fast listener as well. There's a reason why I'm the "Business & Life Coach for Fast Thinking Adults." You'll be happy you made the call.

To your success,
Carroll King Schuller
Confidential FastCoach line: 804.288.0099
@fastcoach on Twitter
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