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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Insights - 5 Fails Entrepreneurs May Regret

Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861,  ColonialTDC  photo  website Google+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business.  More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile

Monday, October 13, 2014

Agile leaders take care in what they say to others

Take care in what you say!

Many years ago a professor said something that altered my life.  Strange that in speaking with him recently he never realized the profound effect from a simple comment yelled at me when he was busy.  I have mentioned the comment in this blog previously and it can be found here.

In a recent discussion with a friend, I relayed the story of the professor.  I was amazed the professor did not even remember the comment and said, “I hope I said it nicer than that.”  While my friend and I were talking, he brought up a key point; profound changes in peoples’ lives can come from any onetime comment and the effects can be positive or negative.  That day in graduate school the comment was hard for me to take, but within a month, I made something positive from it.  I could have taken the comment and easily gone in a negative direction.  A different comment may have changed me more negatively or positively.

In managing people, we often forget the effect of our words on those around us.  It is easy to say something that can hurt or help, in addition, it may leave a positive or negative imprint on the future of an individual.  We often do not know how our message is received and likely forget what was said.

A simple statement or direction given to someone may have no meaning to you.  You may never remember saying it.  With this in mind, it is important that agile thinking also include taking care of what and how we convey a message to others.  The message may impact someone in a manner you never envisioned. 

Who would have thought that I still recall what was said to me 40 years ago.  I remember being angry and depressed because I did not get what I wanted.  My thoughts of being forced to do something I thought impossible did not help either.  Yet today, I hold those words to be sound advice and would pass them along to anyone.  Hard to believe!

The point of this discussion is that more agile thinkers realize they may impact others.  They try to build their team up and use them properly.  They encourage and teach them.  They make every effort to communicate more clearly. It is important to remember that those statements you make may affect someone in ways you never expected and you will never know it.  Try to encourage those you interact with and learn to help them to become better than they might be otherwise.  You may just create a friend for life!

Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861,  ColonialTDCphoto  websiteGoogle+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business.  More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Agile success generates great feelings

Yes, it is a bit like THIS!

Highs and lows are part of being an entrepreneur.  No matter how hard you try there will be failures and successes.  Finding ways to convert failures to successes generates a great sense of satisfaction.  The process can be arduous and create lots of stress, but it is an essential part of developing a business.

It is easy from the start of the endeavor to believe that the company will be wildly successful.  You go on the road and try to raise funds.  The road trip seems to take much longer than you imagined and the people you meet range from very nice to downright ugly in their interactions.  The deal structures for the financing may follow the same pattern of making you feel ill or bringing a huge smile.

Finding partners and getting deals completed can be a huge energy consuming effort.  You create marketing materials and send notes to businesses that seem to be a fit.  The logic of working together is obvious to you, but they seem to not agree.  They may come around or not, yet you must press on and keep trying to find the best partner for you.

Highs and lows come with the successes and lack thereof.  In fact, you may experience patterns of highs and low that track the stock market. Markets may relate to your financial stability or potential retirement funds.  Even investors have a tendency to change their risk profiles relative to whether markets are up or down.  One investment banker working on a current deal says: “When the ducks quack you feed them.”  He means that investors wax and wane relative to investment opportunity.  The highs and lows may not match your need and timings for obtaining cash investment.  This suggests it may be wise to consider raising cash when the markets are good for financings; even if you may not need it yet.  Trying to raise capital in down markets can generate deals that are much less than attractive to the business.

Keeping a positive attitude is important.  The attitude is needed to ride the wave of highs and lows you will feel as an entrepreneur.  You may become depressed when bad things happen, and elated when great things come your way.  Keep everything in perspective and retain an attitude that allows you to retain your focus and ability to concentrate on business.  Highs and lows can take that focus away or diminish it some. Lost focus can result in errors or less than well thought out actions.  It is great to be excited and it feels horrible when you are devastated, but you must continue to drive the business forward.  Try to keep the emotions in balance with your ability to Think Agile.


Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861,  ColonialTDC ,  photo  website,  Google+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business.  More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile

Sunday, July 6, 2014

CEOs walk a fine line when using a positive spin

That CEO said WHAT?

One of the many tasks a CEO performs is engaging and explaining the company to the investment community.  They may use a positive spin to present their data in the best manner.  Positive spin is a method were data, while factual, is presented in a manner to highlight the positive and down play any negative.  You may hear this term a great deal in politics as it is a means of trying to get public sentiment on the side of the politician.  Whether one is a CEO or a politician, there is a fine line between positive spin and over doing your story.  It does not take long before the public sees the spin for what is and they become less likely to believe future statements.

Investors expect to know the facts! It is not good practice to present incorrect information and it may even be fraudulent if you stretch the information too much.  Selling your story must be done while retaining your integrity and ensuring the listeners trust you.  It is reasonable to explore all the positives and negatives of an event and try to present them in a more positive light.  However, there is a balancing act required in order to prevent presenting a story that is not believable or seen as dishonest. 

Honesty is the best policy and CEOs must adhere to this when selling to others. Investors must trust the CEO and believe they are receiving the facts regardless of the event.  With this in mind, I am providing a joke found on Facebook because it relates to the topic and may lighten up your day.


A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale 'He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

'You talk?' he asks.                                                                                                                                

'Yep,' the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what's your story?'

The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so... I told the CIA.

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.'

'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running...

But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering nearsuspicious characters and listening in.

 I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.'

'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.'

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

'Ten dollars,' the guy says.

'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?'

 'Because he's is a Bullshitter. He's never been out of the yard'

I hope you got the take home message from this story.  I for one have listened to investor pitches that went over the line.  It did not take long before the CEO was considered to be like the talking Labrador throughout the investment community.  Occasionally, there is a fine line between selling to gain investment and stretching a story so far that the investor sees you as not factual and misleading.  So, Think Agile and prepare your presentations to remain positive but also HONEST AND FACTUAL.

Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861,  ColonialTDC ,  photo  website,  Google+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business.  More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile