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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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Driven to Construction

by Rick Baker
On Sep 4, 2012

3 forces drive entrepreneurs:

  1. a burning desire to achieve
  2. a burning desire to create and build things of value
  3. a need to be recognized as a different type of contributor

Entrepreneurs are driven to innovate and construct products and services; entrepreneurs are absorbed in creating new products and services, which must contain value for others. Invention on its own is not enough. Inventors are a different breed of cat. 

Entrepreneurial drive is a most-important source of economic growth. Entrepreneurial drive is a key to re-energizing economic growth and to sustaining economic growth.

The entrepreneurial dilemma...it is difficult to institutionalize the entrepreneurial way of doing business. In other words, the entrepreneur has it but has trouble passing it on to others. In fact, it seems impossible to generate an entrepreneurial spirit in someone who doesn't possess the 3 forces outlined above.

So, if you are an Entrepreneur and you are having difficulty spreading it to others then consider their internal drivers:

  1. Are they Achievers?
  2. Are they Builders?
  3. Do they stand out as Different?
Achievers: the existence of the drive is more important than its specific direction...it is much easier to focus or re-focus a strong drive to achieve than it is to create a strong drive to achieve.
Builders: the existence of the drive is more important than its object...it is much easier to focus or re-focus a strong drive to build than it is to create a strong drive to build.
Different: many entrepreneurs are odd characters, who are very comfortable with the fact they are not viewed as standard/normal/average people. They notice how others perceive them. They are motivated if not delighted by the fact they are viewed as a different type of contributor.


Entrepreneur Thinking

Thought Tweet #555

by Rick Baker
On Aug 31, 2012

Thought Tweet #555 Do you ask yourself what you want to be: a business owner?, an entrepreneur?, or a business leader?


The Thinking Behind The Tweet

What's the difference?

A business owner owns a business and works really hard to make sure everyone gets paid.

An entrepreneur owns a business and invents stuff or ideas and works really hard to make sure everyone gets paid.

A business leader guides, teaches, mentors, & coaches followers...and knows the difference between those 4 things.

Some Thoughts on Business Leadership

by Rick Baker
On Aug 28, 2012

What's the difference between business leaders and people who own or run businesses?

The best business leaders approach the role of leadership as a career, rather than a necessary aspect of owning or running a business.

Most business leaders have heard the admonition: work on your business rather than in your business. I believe Michael Gerber first coined that phrase in his classic series of E-Myth books. That's great advice for entrepreneurs [the "E" in "E-Myth"]. That's also great advice for business leaders.

But, for business leaders that's not enough advice.

Put another way: if you aspire to be an entrepreneur that's one thing; if you aspire to be a business leader that's a different thing.

Entrepreneurs are driven to invent/innovate/create and deliver products and services of value. Entrepreneurs may or may not be excellent business leaders. In fact, often entrepreneurs are far more idea-driven than people-focused and that reduces their ability to be good leaders.

Business Leaders are driven by a vision of change of one sort or another...changing the world one way or another. Success at achieving the vision of change, depends on the leader's ability to inspire other people to join forces and work together in harmony toward shared goals.

What's the difference?

In summary, Leaders:

  • Make learning a life-long practice: they recognize the importance of understanding self; they know one key to success rests in people's differences so they embrace and work to understand the differences in people
  • Are able to attract strong and talented followers: their ability to show disciplined behaviour coupled with their ability to understand and relate to other people is a magnetic combination
  • Are accountable for their actions and inspire accountability in followers: they show the wisdom captured in lead by example; they are able to provide clear instructions; they obtain buy-in from their followers
  • Guide, teach, mentor, and coach: they know the differences between these approaches; they also know the differences between these leadership techniques and the techniques employed by talented managers
  • Delegate so the work matches people strengths: they understand the importance of dealing from strength; they understand the importance of using one person's strength to offset another person's weakness...the essence of teamwork
  • Communicate openly, with candour and a standard of care: they know how to deliver tough messages when necessary; they know how to read people and anticipate situations so tough messages are rarely required
Of course, there is much more...but, this is a good start.

Entrepreneurial Dilemma

by Rick Baker
On Aug 16, 2012

The Entrepreneurial Dilemma: how to delegate [or institutionalize] the entrepreneur's deal-doing insight.

True entrepreneurs have deal-doing insight. They possess the natural strength of insight: a combination of wisdom, curiosity, and imagination that, without effort, identifies problems and their solutions. Deal-doing insight can be converted into fortunes. It can also be the cause of entrepreneurial 'aloneness'...a gap between the entrepreneur and all the other people in the organization.

Put another way, true entrepreneurs are a different breed of cat. They are driven to create, innovate, and deliver new things of value. They are inventors. Also, true entrepreneurs know how to sell the things they create. Otherwise, if they could not sell the things they create, they would be inventors not entrepreneurs.

So, true entrepreneurs - the best of the entrepreneurs:

  1. know how to create things of value and 
  2. know how to sell what they create.

Philip Delves Broughton1 presented an excellent example of this when he described Ron Popeil, the inventor [for example, Popiel Pocket Fisherman], infomercial personality, and master salesman:

"Popeil grew up selling at state and county fairs before making his fortune in infomercials. He wrote about selling not as a stand-alone business activity but as one piece of a process that begins with great ideas, includes patents, design, packaging, pricing, manufacturing, advertising, and publicity. The greatest salesman, by Popeil's definition, understands how all these steps are integrated because he is the inventor, manager, and seller. The moment selling becomes a separate business function you're sunk."

That last line describes a thought-key to sustained entrepreneurial-business success:The moment selling becomes a separate business function you're sunk.

Selling cannot become a stand-alone business function. To sustain business success, the true entrepreneur must be able to transfer deal-doing insight. That means the entrepreneur must be able to teach it or transfer it to someone who has the natural strength of deal-doing insight.

That raises [more than] 4 important questions:

  1. Can true entrepreneurs teach others how to possess deal-doing insight?
  2. If so, who can be taught? 
  3. How would one go about doing the teaching?
  4. How would one identify, attract, and hire a person who possesses deal-doing insight?
The quick answers are:
  1. Yes...but it requires time, focus, and complete dedication [and often true entrepreneurs are inclined to do what it takes]
  2. A rare few...people who are 'driven'
  3. One-on-one training, mentoring, and coaching.
  4. There are several essential steps:
  • First, deal-doing insight must be an ongoing priority at the organization [part of its fabric]. 
  • Second, a process must be designed and proven before people can be recruited. 
  • Third, a customized sales training program must be designed and proven [as alluded to in #3 above]. 
  • Fourth, a multi-prong recruiting program must be designed to fit the specific needs of the organization [again, part of its fabric].


  1. The quote was transcribed from the audio book 'The Art of The Sale', by Philip Delves Broughton (2012)
  2. True entrepreneurs can invent and sell things of value. The dilemma:  most true entrepreneurs are not able to transfer that combination of strength to other people. So, sooner or later, invention and selling become two separate functions...and, sooner or later, the business fails.

Manufacturing Sector Contracts: what you don't know...

by Rick Baker
On Aug 14, 2012
Manufacturing Sector Contracts: what you don't know...will hurt you. 
What's bad - manufacturers in Ontario continue to leave money on the contract-table and accept the burden of a transfer of risks. We have seen evidence of this on many occasions. 
What's worse - we've encountered a resistance to advice on how this problem can be remedied. Frequently, we have heard responses like "That's just the way it is" and "We can't do that in our industry". 
What's worst - a good number of Ontario manufacturers are no longer in business, at least in part due to their refusal to accept contracting advice. Poor contracting practices - narrow-focused negotiation and industry-sector-biased negotiating - and failure to borrow better practices from other sectors has contributed to the reduction of the Ontario manufacturing sector.
Ontario can and will do better.
There's no question - many Ontario manufacturing companies can do a better job of negotiating major contracts.
Here are some bullet points to consider...an objective 3rd-party view on contracting:
  • When you restrict your thinking to your industry sector, or even to industry in general, you leave money on the table or expose your company to extra risk
  • When you do not know and have confidence in your differential advantage you are negotiating on weak legs
  • When you believe you are negotiating from a position of weakness...then you are [so, terminate that thinking]
  • Borrow brilliance and better negotiating practices from other industry sectors and from commercial sectors...seek out different perspectives
  • When you approach RFPs with a limited-possibilities mindset you open the door to problems
  • Major companies utilize a variety of people to explore and test contracting boundaries...not just company executives and [in-house and 3rd-party] lawyers and accountants
  • Major companies combine thorough contracting processes with creative thinking processes
  • It's time to get back into auto-sector work...but, this time use enhanced negotiating practices
What do you think?


Borrowing Brilliance | Entrepreneur Thinking | Sales

Thought Tweet #536

by Rick Baker
On Aug 6, 2012

Thought Tweet #536 The ground is shifting more...and you are building...your business.


The Thinking Behind The Tweet

When the ground has a tendency to shift, for example in earthquake-prone areas, special measures must be taken during building design & construction.

Well, when it comes to building a business - the ground is shifting more than ever. So, you need to rethink business design & construction.


Entrepreneur Thinking | Thought Tweets

Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.