Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Key Qualities for Changing Times
By Victoria Munro
Today’s economy presents new opportunities and challenges for business owners. With so many ‘unknowns,’ there’s a temptation to succumb to fear and freeze, or hunker down in a wait-and-see mode. There’s good reason for this apprehension, but whether we thrive or dive in the months and years ahead will depend to a large extent on the attitudes we choose to adopt. Below are six key qualities you’ll need to not only keep your balance, but to succeed and soar in the future.
1. Flexibility – It’s defined as a ready capability to adapt to new, different or changing requirements. Many of us are in business for ourselves because we value flexibility and enjoy what it affords us. But as the world around us continues to change with increasing speed, we need to constantly adapt. We must learn new skills, test different ways of doing business, broaden our horizons and perhaps try things we’ve never done before.
2. Creativity – Innovative thinking and resourcefulness have always been priceless assets, but they're vital for today’s entrepreneur. In his new book, How Successful People Think, John C. Maxwell writes, “Creativity is pure gold, no matter what you do for a living. Creativity is all about having ideas—lots of them. You will only have ideas if you value them.” We’ll gain a lot by taking time out alone to think. Albert Einstein is reputed to have spent many hours in his ‘thinking chair.’ He’s famous for saying, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” And the more we know, the more creative we can be. To gain new and creative ideas we need knowledge and we need think time.
3. Resilience – According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resilience is an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. It’s being able to bounce back when we meet unexpected troubles and to respond well to change. In his thought-provoking bestseller, The Age of the Unthinkable, author Joshua Cooper Ramo cites resilience as the number-one quality we’ll all need in the future. Entrepreneurs have always had to be resilient. In his latest book, How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, Jim Collins asserts that “Success is falling down and getting up one more time without end.”
4. Humor – Lighten up and laugh! The physiological benefits of laughter are well documented. In my own experience, maintaining a healthy sense of humor has often brought joy and fresh perspectives to challenging and stressful circumstances.
In their book, Your Seventh Sense, How to Think Like A Comedian, authors Karyn Ruth White and Jay Arthur address the seeming paradox of humor in tough situations. “People have trouble conceptualizing the idea that tragedy and comedy are inextricably bound together. We are brought up in an either/or society. We tend to be linear. But life isn’t linear, it’s circular and convoluted. Life refuses to be pigeonholed. Have you ever been in the middle of a situation that was very serious and, in the middle of it, you found something hilarious to laugh about? Laughing is one of the greatest human release valves for pent up stress, anxiety and fear.” Karyn Ruth shared a joke* to illustrate.
5. Integrity – That quality of being undivided, holding fast to certain values, a commitment to uncompromising honesty, and sincerity will be key. In our changing, shifting society, we must remain true to ourselves. We need to know what our core values are—those non-negotiables important to us. These act as our north star, keeping us on course, even through stormy seas. They provide a baseline and guide for decision-making and problem solving as we move ahead in life and grow our businesses.
6. Interdependence – Today, more than ever we need to be part of a collaborative community where we can give and receive. We’ll thrive on the energizing encouragement, solid support, creative ideas and practical help from others. We need one another—as Ken Blanchard says, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” We don’t have to do this alone. Align yourself with a group of like-minded business owners, form a mastermind group, or join a Make-it-Fly Advisory Board.
*“When I die I want to go like my grandfather did, peacefully in his sleep, not screaming like the other passengers in his car.” Page 12, Your Seventh Sense, How To Think Like a Comedian.
© 2005-2008 Victoria Munro.
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About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
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small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
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