Freeing the Human Spirit

The purpose of your business should be, to some extent, to improve the human condition. In the process, everyone should get a raise in funds and self-esteem. Everyone in some way or another should grow. In other words, your business activity should be an enriching experience. This isn't idealism. It's the only way the economics can work. Any firm that doesn't make economic headway has no management steerage.

Many of us were brought up by pressured parents in an authoritarian style. "Don't be late!" "Eat your food!" "Brush your teeth!" "Don't hit your brother!" Not surprisingly, we tend to come out with the same management style in later life, issuing orders in a similar vein: "Where were you?" "Finish that report!" "Refill the photocopier!"

Children don't like it. Adults don't like it either, which is why it doesn't work. Every adult resents being spoken to like a child.

Some managers reprimand people for being late regardless of the fact that the person is one of those who work late and over weekends when there is a panic. The victim feels unappreciated. His or her colleagues feel the manager is unfair. They think why should they bother? He doesn't care.

Managers get better results and much less stress by assuming that their staff are responsible adults and by addressing them as equals. There's more to management than showing respect and encouraging others to behave maturely, but making this small shift in attitude can have significant results. When you enable them to give to you, self-motivation and productivity increase. The management time required to monitor responsible people diminishes.

Responsibility is to all intents and purposes, respondability.

Raising Cash and Kind

■ he pioneering spirit that drove settlers west to the lush Silicon Valley is alive and well. The idea of heading off into uncharted territories and discovering unknown landscapes and mining untold riches sets our minds alight. So much so that too many people still take the pioneer spirit literally and try and do everything themselves.

Some are afraid the ordinary public won't understand what they are doing. But if that's the case, are they likely to rush to buy the final offering? Some feel they don't have to communicate with others or justify their actions. Yet, they are going to have to talk to others when the time comes to do the selling. Some are scared of their idea leaking out, but eventually they'll have to trust someone. To a certain extent, all these concerns are prudent, but carried to extremes they ultimately prove to be counterproductive.

Creating a program, selling it, and managing the resulting operation requires a combination of skills and resources that few individuals possess. Help comes in many forms and sometimes from unexpected sources, and money is only one aspect, although it is the most pressing one.

Contrary to many people's personal intuition there are IT engineers, business managers, and bankers out there who are prepared to help. Whether you are a one-man band, an isolated programmer, IT manager, part of a small team, or a student feeling your way for the first time, you need never be alone. There is help out there if you know where to look and are willing to accept it.

Andrew Carnegie knew this. Son of a weaver in Scotland, his family emigrated to the U.S. in 1848 when he was 12. Through a succession of jobs he eventually set up the Carnegie Steel

Company, which he went on to sell for over $10 billion at today's prices. One of his maxims was, "Why spend a hundred hours of your time doing something if you can persuade 100 people to do an hour each themselves?" He had a shrewd understanding of his fellow men and appreciated that what he was getting wasn't just help, but a network of people who wanted to spread the word about what they were doing (a bonus you would never reap if you'd spent 1,000 hours doing it alone).

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