There’s something they don’t tell you when you start a business: mindset is everything. And I didn’t have the right mindset necessary to run a business when I first got started. In fact, I went along for years before I finally figured out what I was doing wrong.
Instead of forging ahead in business with a CEO mindset, I held myself back with a full-fledged employee mindset. And it was awful.
The good news is that when I discovered what the problem was, I was able to take steps to transform my mindset and become more aware of my thought patterns. I broke free from the employee mindset and stepped into the CEO mindset (keeping the employee mindset around for action items.)
So the question is: Are you holding yourself back with an employee mindset or are you forging ahead with a CEO mindset? Let’s take a look at each mindset and see how it plays out in business.
What’s the CEO Mindset?
The CEO mindset is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that most CEOs possess. Take a few minutes to think about CEOs as a collective group. What traits, beliefs, and behaviors do they display?
When I think of CEOs, certain traits and practices come to mind. Things like strategic decision-making, allowing events to unfold before rushing into something, and listening to and asking for feedback all surface.
However, there’s one that stands out more from the crowd than the others. And this is the quality that’s most evident in the CEO Mindset. I believe the biggest factor in the CEO Mindset is the ability to see the big picture.
This is what really separates employees from CEOs. An employee is down in the trenches, where her view is obstructed. She usually can’t see past the end of her job. She knows that it benefits the company, but she doesn’t always see where the company is headed.
The CEO, on the other hand, knows exactly where the company is headed because she’s steering the ship. She has the ability to see the big picture and make long-term decisions that affect the whole organization.
So the CEO Mindset is about taking time out of your everyday business (and there are a lot of them) to take a step back and look at the long-term direction of your business. It’s about looking at the big picture and know what you’re working towards.
The CEO Mindset is very much about creating a direction and a path for your business. And while this isn’t exactly at odds with an employee mindset, having an employee mindset can make things a little more difficult.
“A CEO knows exactly where the company is headed because she’s steering the ship.”
What’s the Employee Mindset?
The employee mindset is all about focusing on the here and now, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, if you allow the employee mindset to be the driving force behind your business, you may end up with a slew of short-term plans and no business direction.
The employee mindset is really useful to have when it’s time to get down to business. If you have a client project that you need to finish or everyday business tasks that need to get done, putting on your employee cap and knocking those off your to-do list is fine. But be careful to always surface from your employee mindset.
Unlike the CEO mindset, the employee mindset doesn’t see very far. It excels most in making short-term plans and getting things done. It’s the action mindset, but action without long-term direction doesn’t do very well.
I remember another online entrepreneur asking what my 6-month plan was for my business. I “ummed” and “uhhed” my way through my answer, which was basically “book more clients”.
After our coffee chat was over, I realized – with great embarrassment – that I had no 6-month plan for my business. I had my head down and focused so much on my tasks that I didn’t take time to step into the CEO mindset and actually give my business a direction.
I was so stuck in the employee mindset that I had no idea where I wanted to be 6 months from that day.
“If you allow the employee mindset to be the driving force behind your business, you may end up with a slew of short-term plans and no business direction.”
The Dangers of the Employee Mindset
And that leads me to the dangers that are inherent in the employee mindset. If you spend too long in the employee mindset, you risk drifting along in your business with no real direction or sense of purpose.
You’ll be just like a ship without a rudder, being blown about on the sea until you blow into a port, whether or not you want to.
These are the people who wake up one day and think “My goodness, what have I done with my life?” They were so focused on the short-term that they forgot to ask “How will this affect me in the long term?”
Think about it – what would happen to Coca-Cola if their CEO stepped down, and they replaced him with an employee at one of their many factories? The only thing is that this employee-turned-CEO, never left his job at the factory. His job responsibilities never changed.
He’s CEO of Coca-Cola and there he is on the factory floor, focusing on meeting that day’s goals, not worrying about the future of the company. I’m guess that it wouldn’t take long for the company to start falling apart, or at least lose momentum.
So while employee mindset is an important part of your business, especially if you haven’t yet hired a VA or another contractor to help out, it’s important not to allow the employee mindset to be your only mindset.
How to Move from an Employee Mindset to a CEO Mindset
The journey from an Employee Mindset to a CEO Mindset isn’t always an instant one. In fact, I can almost guarantee that it won’t be.
However, there are some steps you can take to begin to experience the CEO mindset for yourself and to bring that more into your business, especially when you begin to make long-term plans.
Set Aside Time to Plan
This may sound incredibly simple, but it’s critical that you don’t skip this step, especially if you think you’re too busy to plan (like I did). You need to clear time in your calendar to plan and look at the long-term direction of your business.
If you’re using a planner, write down exactly when you’ll be planning. If you’re on Google Calendar, block off that time and mark yourself as busy. This is incredibly important to the success and health of your business.
And the good news is that there is no right and wrong frequency when it comes to these planning/check-in sessions. You can do monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly sessions where you look at what you’ve done, what you have coming up, and how that supports your long-term goals.
Ask “How Does This Help My Long-Term Goals?”
There are so many opportunities and activities that you can do to market yourself online and to grow your business. However, not all of them are aligned with your long-term goal.
So before you take on a new project or create a new stream of income, ask how that will help you reach your long-term goal. If the answer is it won’t, then shelve that idea and come back to it another time.
Utilize the Strengths of Each Mindset
The real key is to be able to balance both mindsets and use each when you need to. If you realize that you’re drifting in your business, it’s time to put on the CEO cap and lay down some long-term plans.
On the other hand, if you realize that all you’ve done is planned and not followed through with them, then grab your employee cap. It’s time to get down to business.
Do you find that you have an employee mindset or a CEO mindset? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re at it, be sure to give us a follow on Bloglovin’ to keep up with all of our latest posts!
WORD PROCESSOR PIONEER EVELYN BEREZIN DIES AGED 93
The woman who created and sold what many recognise as the world’s first word processor has died aged 93.
Evelyn Berezin called the device the Data Secretary when, in 1971, her company Redactron launched the product.
She grew Redactron from nine employees to close to 500 and was named one of the US’s top leaders by BusinessWeek magazine in the year she sold it, 1976.
She had earlier built one of the original computerised airline reservation systems.
The innovation – which matched customers and available seats – was tested by United Airlines in 1962.
According to the Computer History Museum, it had a one-second response time and worked for 11 years without any central system failures.
The technology vied with the rival Sabre system, developed by American Airlines, for being the first of its kind.
In addition, Ms Berezin helped pioneer other types of special-purpose computing including:
- an automated banking system
- a weapons-targeting calculator for the US Defense Department
- terminals for a horse-racing track that monitored how much money was being bet on each animal
In an interview in 2015, Ms Berezin explained that she had decided to set up her own business in the mid-60s after coming to the conclusion that her prospects were limited so long as she was employed by someone else.
She said that she had initially considered developing an electronic cash register but ultimately opted to create what would become known as a word processor instead.
She said: “6% of all the people in the United States who worked were secretaries.
“At the time we started, which was in 1968 to 1969, nobody really had any desk-type computers on which you could write a word-processing program that a secretary would use.
“I know that desktop computers seem obvious now but it wasn’t so then.”
At the time, the nearest equivalent was a machine by IBM called the MT/ST – a typewriter with magnetic tape recording and playback facilities.
IBM’s marketing referred to a “word processor”, but the machine relied on relay switches rather than computer chips, had been targeted at military equipment makers rather than the wider business market, and in Ms Berezin’s mind was “klutzy”.
“We were committed to building a computer to run our system and we knew that we had to use integrated circuits because it was the only way we could make it small enough and cheap enough and reliable enough to sell,” Ms Berezin said.
Her machine – which stood about 1m (3ft 3in) tall – featured a keyboard, cassette drives, control electronics and a printer.
It could record and play back what the user had typed, allowing it to be edited or reprinted.
The original model lacked a monitor, and soon faced competition from a rival, the Lexitron, which did.
But later versions of the Data Secretary did include a screen.
Sparks and water
The project nearly ended in disaster.
Ms Berezin had intended to buy the processors required from Intel, which had gone into business in 1968. But it said it was too busy dealing with orders for its memory chips.
The solution was that Redactron had to design some of the chips required itself and provide the schematics to two manufacturers.
There were further problems with a prototype when it was put on display in a New York hotel for reporters to see.
The issue was that in dry weather, it was prone to a build-up of static electricity, which caused sparks to fly between its circuits, preventing it from working.
“To our horror it was a dry day and the engineers were setting this non-working machine up for our big story,” Ms Berezin said.
“Ed Wolf [our head of engineering brought] a full pail of water and without a word to anyone throws the pail of water over the whole thick carpet in the room.
“The water sank into the carpet, which stayed damp for three or four hours, and the machine worked perfectly.”
The first production machine was delivered to a customer in September 1971. And over the following year, Redactron sold or rented more than 770 others, excluding demo units.
Over the following years, demand grew but the company’s finances came under strain, in part because of high interest rates and a recession that meant clients wanted to rent rather than buy its products.
“We were told by the bank to sell the company and they had somebody they knew who was interested,” said Ms Berezin.
“At the time, I was distraught about it.”
She went to work for the purchaser, the business equipment-maker Burroughs Corporation. But it proved to be an ill match.
“I was not one of them – I told them what I thought – a loud woman they did not know how to deal with,” she said.
“So, they disconnected and so did I.”
Ms Berezin left the company around 1980, after which she became involved in venture capital and sat on other companies’ boards before becoming involved with Stony Brook University.
The New York Times reported that a nephew had confirmed she had died on 8 December in Manhattan after turning down treatment for cancer.
One of the remaining Data Secretary word processors can be seen on display at the Computer History Museum in California.
TIM COOK WARNS OF ‘DATA-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX’ IN CALL FOR COMPREHENSIVE US PRIVACY LAWS
Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for new digital privacy laws in the United States, warning that the collection of huge amounts of personal data by companies is harming society.
Speaking at a privacy conference in Brussels, Cook gave an impassioned and forceful speech. He reiterated familiar talking points like Apple’s commitment to privacy (and, by implication, its rivals lack of commitment) while spelling out public concerns in recent years regarding data collection, surveillance, and manipulation.
Cook said that modern technology has led to the creation of a “data-industrial complex” in which private and everyday information is “weaponized against us with military efficiency.” He added that this mechanism doesn’t just affect individuals, but whole societies.
“Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies,” said Cook. “Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false. This crisis is real. It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy.” You can watch the full speech below:
Cook did not mention triggers for this crisis, but his comments clearly reference recent events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal data of millions of Facebook users was harvested by a consulting firm with the aim of swaying users’ political views. Similarly, while Cook never mentioned by name tech companies like Facebook and Google, it’s clear that these were targets in his criticism of indiscriminate data collection.
Cook has long advocated for strong standards in data privacy, but is now calling for federal regulation too. Alastair MacTaggart, a US privacy campaigner who spearheaded a landmark data privacy law in California said this was a “180-degree turn” for tech companies. “A year ago, they were pushing for self-regulation. But now, they want federal rules, but ones that are as weak as possible,” MacTaggart told Politico.
In his speech in Brussels, attended by policy experts and European Union lawmakers, Cook praised the EU’s “successful implementation” of its new data privacy law, GDPR. This forces companies collecting user information to use the highest possible privacy safeguards by default. It also gives the EU the ability to fine companies up to 4 percent of their global revenue if they misuse user data.
Said Cook: “It is time for the rest of the world […] to follow your lead. We at Apple are in full support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States.” He then went on to outline four key rights that should be enshrined in such legislation: the right to have personal data minimized; the right for users to know what data is collected on them; the right to access that data; and the right for that data to be kept securely.
He also preempted a common criticism in the US that such regulation is a barrier to innovation. “This notion isn’t just wrong, it’s destructive,” said the Apple chief. “Technology’s potential is and always must be rooted in the faith people have in it.”
JEFF BEZOS UNSEATS BILL GATES ON FORBES LIST OF RICHEST AMERICANS
For the first time in 24 years, Bill Gates is no longer the richest American on the Forbes 400 list.
Gates lost his standing this year to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is $160 billion, compared with Gates’ $97 billion. That makes the Microsoft founder the second richest American.
The shakeup isn’t an overnight surprise. In July 2017, Bezos became the richest person in the world, briefly, when his net worth hit just north of $90 billion. It happened again inwhen his net worth clocked in at $93.8 billion compared with Gates’ $88.7 billion. In July 2018, Bloomberg reported that Bezos overtook Gates on its , which pinned his net worth at $150 billion.
Bezos didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other tech figures on the list include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg coming in at No. 4, Oracle’s Larry Ellison at No. 5, and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin at No. 6 and No. 9, respectively.