Want to learn how to become an entrepreneur and avoid disaster?
Then don’t ignore what I learned as a 24 year old US Army Tank Platoon Leader. Successful entrepreneurs will read this article and quickly adopt these strategies to avoid disaster in their businesses.
But first a little background…These characteristics were actually in our Tank Platoon Leader handbook. I read them and put them into action not only then but now as well. So keep reading.
In 1984, The United States Military Academy at West Point studied over 200 battles both successful and unsuccessful and concluded that there was surprising consistency among successful combat leaders regardless of historical period, country or the conditions (like desert, jungle, etc).
In no case did the unit in combat overcome the deficiencies of its leader. HINT: As an entrepreneur – YOU are the leader…(end sidebar). In almost all cases THE LEADER was able to overcame startling obstacles like unclear orders, superior enemy numbers, lack of physical and moral strength in the unit, bad luck, equipment issues, poor timing, weather conditions, and his own anxiety.
Lesson – As an Entrepreneurial Leader YOUR business can’t overcome your deficiencies…like lack of marketing skills, poor communication skills, etc. So don’t ignore them…master them. Mastering them leads to confidence. Your confidence and your level of skills as an entrepreneur can overcome many obstacles that any business will encounter.
But let’s jump back to this study and see how you can take these points and drive them home for your own success.
There were five personal characteristics that were present in every case and if these five characteristics were not present then disaster happened. Disaster! So don’t ignore these and work them into your entrepreneurial brain.
Here is a quick checklist to go by:
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The 5 Personal Characteristics of Successful Combat Leaders
1. Terrain sense.
Understand terrain; match tactics and weaponry with the terrain at hand. Improves the most through experience.
Just like it would make no sense to drive a tank into a swamp making a powerful weapon system virtually useless (they don’t swim real well, ya know)…it would make little sense to launch a business today and ignore social media. So if you are on social media and you are always “pitching” you are are lacking “terrain sense”. You are not taking into account the platform or “terrain”. So think about that as you develop your business.
2. Single-minded tenacity.
Typical of all successful leaders was NOT an inflexible pursuit of a plan or even an objective, but rather an imaginative, driving intensity to accomplish the mission using everything. Surrender was not an option. The platoon leader sees the mission through and never gives up.
The #1 quality I always talk about is tenacity. Never giving up…that is the key to becoming successful. Flexibility is also key so that you don’t stay on a course that is not working. Identify and and adjust your plan on the go. Adjust fast and accomplish the mission.
Giving up is what kills most dreams. Be tenacious. Hang on and never let go of your dreams even when you want to quit.Your enemy can be your own doubts…your own fears…overwhelm them with action!
3. Practiced, practical judgment.
Common sense and constant practice allow the platoon leader to prioritize effectively, enabling him to separate critical tasks from the noncritical and preventing him from being overwhelmed by the demands of the information-rich battlefield.
Many people try to learn how to become an entrepreneur and throw all their common sense out the window. It is as if they have lost their brains. Don’t do that.
Keep things simple and do what makes you money. For instance promoting and making your product or service known is way more important than creating the ultimate business plan, budgeting, or doing the books. All those are important tasks, but if you have ZERO sales, you have zero income. So always promote first! It only makes sense. Trust yourself. You have been successful in some area of your life. Use that same judgement.
4. Ferocious audacity.
The willingness to take reasoned but enormous risks, was always present. Frequently, successful platoon leaders would say it was the only thing they could do. In retrospect, their actions seemed inspired desperation. IMPORTANT: Self-doubt was a rare thing and was usually a kind of anxiousness, almost never regarding previous decisions, and never revealed to even the closest subordinates.
To me audacity is boldness. It is what attracted me to becoming a tank platoon leader. I saw the attitude of tankers as audacious (meaning: showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks) but not blind risk like running out in the open and getting everyone killed. Tank battles move fast and you have to be ready to jump at the chance to seize the opportunity to win.
Taking risks is part of learning how to become an entrepreneur. But take well thought out risks. We all have doubts but never let people see you sweat. I don’t ever remember a General Officer revealing to me his deepest fears. (I would have been like WTF!).
Self-doubt is in all of us…just DO NOT reveal it to your team, employees, etc. Self-doubt doesn’t make you “human” to your people. It makes them go find another leader. Focus on your core business skills and acquiring more clients and less on your own fears.
5. Physical confidence.
Leaders can maintain their ability to meet the demanding requirements of leadership only if they are in top physical condition.
Being in good physical condition creates a strong-confidence. Makes you more attractive and enhances your overall well-being. Strive to get back into shape if you have let yourself go. Do baby steps. But regardless you can’t be successful if you don’t have your health. How could you be? You won’t be around to enjoy it.
FYI – I have NEVER met a person who learned how to become an entrepreneur without learning how to talk to people. If you have any type of business then you have to master this one critical skill. Avoiding this is wimpy.
All businesses have prospects. If you are average on the phone…then you will have to get a lot more prospects. Forget this…Just learn one simple trick to connecting with any prospect. Most people don’t do this and they leave A LOT of money on the table. Don’t be one of those people. Learn The #1 Trick To Calling Prospects Rejection Free.
Go get ’em High Speed!Steve Swartz Skype:retiredat33 Twitter: @Steve_Swartz http://www.Facebook.com/MilitaryToMillions email: firstname.lastname@example.org