(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:

  1. My biz quote of the week:
    “Business is like riding a bicycle.  If you’re coasting, you’re going down hill.  You can’t coast up hill.  For that, you have to do the work.”
    …Donald Cooper  
  1. Take cyber security seriously in your business: The FBI reports a 300% increase in cybercrimes since the start of the Covid crisis. 43% of these cyber attacks are on small businesses.  Two of the most common types of attacks are:
    a) hacking your customer database to highjack personal info that can be used for criminal purposes and,
    b) locking you out of your systems until you pay a ransom.
    Check with your technology expert to make sure you’re doing what’s needed to stay safe.
  1. Who are your 5%? A good friend of mine, and retired senior pilot who represented 525 Air Canada pilots, recently told me that the same 5% of the pilots caused 95% of the problems and took 95% of his time…year after year.  So, who are the 5% in your business or department…and what are you doing to get them on side, or get them to move on?    

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 employees and then managers and supervisors. 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.  I’m in their office discussing challenges and opportunities, and every 20 minutes or so, one of their managers or supervisors sticks their head in the boss’s office door and asks, “Boss, how’s it going?” and you know the whole business is screwed up.

“How’s it going?” is what bosses should be asking their team members, because they, the team, have the “its”.  They have the projects, the initiatives and the empowerment that will move the business forward…and the boss simply wants to know how the “its” are going. 

One of the biggest challenges as any business grows is for the founder to make that important transition from being a ‘player’ to being a ‘coach’.  Players take initiative…coaches give initiative.  That’s how it works.  To rate your ‘coaching ability’ in just 2 minutes, Click here to download our Biz Tool #A-9.   

Give your people specific tasks and projects.  Make sure they have the training and resources 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?” that creates urgency and accountability.  Document their completion 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 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. That’s the trick.  And remember, your way isn’t the only way.

You’ll be amazed at how your good people will become ‘great’, and how non-performers will become obvious.  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 build their business by growing people …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 easily reached at donald@donaldcooper.com  

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly…and do at least 3 important or kind things each day!       

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.

One Response to Are the very qualities that got you where you are today preventing you and your business from moving forward?
  1. This is such a great article. A good reminder for me. Thanks Donald for your writing. Hope all is well!


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