So You're Empowered, Authentic and Transparent. Are You Making Any Money?
I hate "buzz-words." They are the stock in trade of big corporations, not entrepreneurial endeavors. Somehow, it seems that words or phrases that were either never meant to be used in a particular business context, but because they sound lofty, get picked up by the consulting community (who often come out of large companies, where they lived by buzz-words). They hump the words like there's no tomorrow until those words become part of the business lexicon. And they intimate that if you're not ascribing to those "buzz-words," you're somehow lacking.
Words to put under your pillow at night so you can sleep better. Today, there are three such words: empower, authentic and transparent. And, according to experts, if you practice all three your business will be set.
The problem with "buzz-words" is they become words to hide behind
Unfortunately, while there are elements of importance behind the words, and "buzz-words" may help you feel like you're "in the mainstream," they won't necessarily contribute to your small business success. In fact, they may detract!
So let's take a look at each one and then let me provide some guidance for what they should mean to you, your small business and the results you strive for.
Except for the words "awesome" and "amazing," for which I believe some folks are paid by the number of times they can use them in a day, no other word gets used more, especially in entrepreneurial business than the word "empower." No self-respecting business advisor, consultant or coach (except yours truly, who totally eschews the term) would think of making a presentation without the word sprinkled freely throughout. Webster's defines it as "to give official authority or legal power to; to enable."
So, let me understand this. Folks need somebody to give them the authorization or enable them to start up or better manage their business? I don't think so. This does such a disservice to entrepreneurs. But it is in keeping with a society that is increasingly moving toward no one being responsible for their actions. To say nothing of the work environment in large companies, where, often, folks do feel powerless ( and this is where I think this originated).
However, for entrepreneurs, only you can empower you when it comes to your own business. You don't need anybody's permission or authority. So, here's what Yoda believes you should really focus on:
You control your destiny and are responsible for your actions.
It's why you took the steps toward entrepreneurship. In essence you empower yourself! Nobody else can do it for you. No matter how much they want to charge you. You want to be empowered. Look in the mirror and tell that person to do it!
Next, let's look at authentic.
Our trusty old Webster's defines authentic as "worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; conforming to an original; made or done the same way as an original; not false or imitation."
So what's this sound like? It sounds like mixed messages. Conform to the original, but don't be an imitation. Do you want to be authentic?
Here's a better way to look at it:
Be your own original. Let your personality and your values come through in your company. Be true to yourself and those values. Stand for something.
Now, that's authentic. The real you, the real company you create! Not some cheap imitation!
And finally, there's transparent.
Once again, Webster's definition is "free from pretense or deceit; readily understood; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices."
Well, for me, I like two other words that are far more direct and meaningful - integrity and honesty. Not as lofty sounding as transparent, but more to the point. Want to be transparent?
Conduct your business with the highest integrity possible dealing directly and honestly with employees, customers and suppliers alike.
"Buzz-words" like empower, authentic and transparent might be fashionable, but don't let them replace the critical meanings they should truly be conveying that will drive your success. You control your destiny; you and your company should stand for something, and integrity and honesty should be the essence of how you do business.
"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!
Have you found yourself blinded or confused by "buzz-words?" Please share that experience in your comments. It can help another entrepreneur.