(Time to read this Blog is about 3 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:
    “Hire the best lawyer, accountant, technology experts, web designers and business advisors you can find.  Surround yourself with professionals.  Sex is usually best with an enthusiastic amateur, but everything else in life is better done by a pro.”
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. Quick Biz Tip:
    The importance of regular conversations.    
    A recent Gallup ( a research company) survey of 67,000 employees around the world found that the most effective way to make employees feel connected and engaged is to have a ‘meaningful’ 15 to 20-minute conversation with each direct report, every week, to discuss goals (commitments), projects, priorities, challenges, customers and their well-being…and to offer support and recognition. 
  3. ‘Hybrid work’ update.  Workers who come into the office at least part of the week typically receive 25% more career development / mentoring time than their completely remote counterparts. This is a compelling value for your career-minded team members.
  4. How could you make a difference in your community?
    Sheleah McPherson owns Leah’s laundromat in Kansas City, KS.  Being a former educator, she decided to add an Early Childhood Literacy Center in her laundromat, where kids can read, play and learn while their parents tackle the week’s laundry chore. To make this happen, Shelah partnered with the Kansas City Public Schools and Public Library. 
    To quote Sheleah, “I wanted to enrich our neighbourhood!”  How could you enrich your neighbourhood?
  5. The Cranky Corner: Are you getting ‘ghosted’ by new hires who don’t show up?  How many times have you gone through the hiring process, set up a new employee on the schedule, made an announcement about their arrival and prepared their onboarding, only to have them not show up on Monday morning?  You’re not alone.
    A recent study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business states that 37%  of small business owners have hired people who didn’t show up on day #1,  or stopped coming into work, without any notification, shortly after starting.  Many job candidates accepted a job but then stopped responding to emails before they even started that new job.
    Whatever happened to basic manners and integrity?   Who raised these young people? 

Now, to this week’s important topic:


Are the very qualities that got you where you are today preventing you and your business from moving forward?

The people who start and grow businesses from the ground up are generally fearless initiative takers.  Nothing stops them. They do it all and, if they’re good at it, they succeed…for a while.

Eventually, the business grows to the point that it has supervisors and managers.  But, typically, the boss keeps taking the initiative, keeps giving people a job and then taking it away from them a little bit at a time.  And the very initiative-taking that built the business, now limits its growth and drives good people away. 

Here’s the thing. Initiative doesn’t exist in the air. It exists in people. And when we take it, we take it away from people.  Good people leave in frustration and the rest stay and take “I don’t give a damn” pills.  I see this happening all the time with clients. 

One of the biggest challenges as the business grows is for the founder / boss to make that important transition from being a ‘player’ to being a ‘coach’.  Players take initiative…coaches give initiative.  That’s how it works. 

So, do you see yourself as a player or a coach?  In sports, the difference is clear.  Players play and coaches coach.  You never see a football coach run out on the field in the middle of a game, take the ball from a player and run down the field himself.  Why?  Because there are clear rules about coaching and playing and there’s a referee who will blow their whistle if coaches try to be players.  Sadly, in business, there are no clear rules on coaching and playing…and there’s no referee.  So, bosses (coaches) often grab the ball and run with it while the players stand on the sidelines.  As the people in charge of the rules, the bosses are also the ones with the whistle …and they never blow that whistle on themselves! 

Being a great player and being a great coach are two very different things.  In sports, we’ve all seen great coaches who were unremarkable as players and great players who were ineffective as coaches. They’re completely different skill sets.

Why do so many business owners struggle with this transition from player to coach?  They’re wired to be ‘doers’.  For their entire career they’ve defined success and relevance by their ability to score goals.  Preferably the winning goal…preferably in overtime.  

To make the transition from player to coach, you must find a new way to feel good about yourself.  It’s about getting to the point where you can proudly say, “Today I didn’t personally score a goal, but I coached our team to score enough goals to win.” 

To rate your ‘coaching ability’ in just 2 minutes, Click here to download our Biz Tool #A-9.   

Making the transition.  Give your people specific tasks and projects.  Make sure they have the training, ability, resources and empowerment to succeed and that they understand why the task or project is important.  Ask them the magic question, “By when can we agree that this will be completed?” and then negotiate a commitment.  This creates urgency and accountability. 

Document their commitment and follow up at appropriate intervals to see how it’s going.  The world is run by those who follow up.  Let them know that you’re there to help and guide (coach) them, but at all times they will they keep ‘ownership’ of the task or project.   

In addition to tasks or projects with specific deadlines, give them ongoing responsibilities and then let them do their job.  Every once in a while, ask “How’s it going?”   Look for opportunities to praise and thank…and look for opportunities to coach, without taking the initiative away. You’ll be amazed at how your good people will become ‘great’, and how non-performers will become obvious. 

to praise and thank…and look for opportunities to coach, without taking the initiative away. You’ll be amazed at how your good people will become ‘great’, and how non-performers will become obvious. 

For insights on ‘How to delegate, get more done and grow your people without losing control’,  Click here to download our Biz Tool #B-26.   

So, what will you do to make the important transition from ‘player’ to ‘coach’?  Remember, if there is a heaven, there’s an express lane for coaches. They grow their business by growing the people in it…and that’s a wonderful thing.

If you’d like help making the important transition from ‘player’ to ‘coach’ in your business, perhaps we should chat.  I’m easy to find at donald@donaldcooper.com

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

2 Responses to Are the very qualities that got you where you are today preventing you and your business from moving forward?
  1. I saw Donald speak 15+ years ago. I have been on his mailing list since and regularly dip into his gems of wisdom. I get value out of almost everything that he posts however short or long the post is. I do not have a business that I can invite him to speak at, nor do I work with people that I can try to influence to invite him to speak to theirs. However, I can broadcast to anyone who does, that this guy is worth every cent. He speaks the real deal. Fertiliser for everything I do!

    • I completely agree with you Ian. I’ve met Donald in person and he is as credible in person as his emailed gems of business knowledge are. Its the depth of knowledge that you just cannot get from ChatGPT etc.

      Anyone who owns a business or is working in a business needs to get a weekly dose of Donald at least, it will take their business higher.


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