Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Are you a business renegade?

Being a business renegade involves taking smart risks
By Sheila Norman-Culp

At work, given the choice of being a sheep, a drone, a weenie, a bully or a renegade, which would you choose?

Hmm, just what I thought.
That's why Christine Comaford-Lynch's new bestselling business advice book, "Rules for Renegades," (McGraw-Hill) appeals to the outlaw in all of us.

It also doesn't hurt that the author, an early Microsoft rebel, has probably earned and lost and re-earned more money that you or I will ever see in a lifetime.

She has founded five companies that have either been bought up or gone public, held operational positions at Microsoft, Lotus, Adobe and Apple, and been a strategic adviser to Oracle and Symantec. Now she operates Mighty Ventures, which helps Fortune 500 companies and others optimize their performance.

Just hearing about it is exhausting.
Still, who says you can't be a fabulous business titan? We asked the author for a crash course on bringing out one's inner renegade.

Q. How would you define a "renegade"?

A. A renegade is a person with a degree of passion and commitment that exceeds the norm. A renegade is not a rebel. A rebel trashes the system, is a loner, is all about not fitting in. A renegade acknowledges that there are systems and bureaucracies, and finds a way to optimally navigate them.

Q. Why is being a renegade so important?

A. Because renegades see stumbling blocks and resolve to make them into stepping stones. Renegades don't just talk about it; They do it!

Q. What stops us from being as daring as we need to be?

A. Fear is what stops us from being daring. Fear of rejection, fear of failure. This is why we must intentionally desensitize ourselves to rejection. Throw a rejection party. When people read all the ways I've been rejected and failed, and how I've turned these potential disasters around they see that nothing is ever the "end of the world."

Q. What's the difference between being a renegade and jumping off a financial cliff?

A. Renegades take smart risks. They don't ditch their day job to start a new venture -- they do it nights and weekends to see how it develops. Yes, I've maxed out my credit cards to cover payroll a few times. But I'd never invest my retirement dollars in a startup!

Q. What's your favorite "money" advice for entrepreneurs?

A. You need to follow Rule 8: Work Your Money Mojo. Read it carefully, download the cool resources on that relate to money, realize that you are a steward for money. Money is energy. It needs to be moving around, creating things, growing.

Q. Why do control freaks need to change?

A. Control freakism is about not being able to delegate. Not being able to delegate is about not trusting others. Not trusting others is about not being connected.

Q. What advice would you give to young workers?

A. You want everyone to know you as the person who "gets stuff done." A "GSD" is the most important credential a person can have. Second, network "palm up." When you meet someone, don't talk too much about yourself. Find out about them, what they care about, what they want, how you can be of service to them. Then help them get what they want. You'll end up getting what you want in time, too.

Q. What was your biggest mistake?

A. Thinking I needed a business partner. Bad idea. Each one was a disaster: they didn't work as hard as I did, didn't contribute as much to the company as I did, and were often difficult to part with.

Q. Why do you think you have succeeded?

A. I learned from Bill Gates to declare victory as you step onto the battlefield. You must decide to have self-confidence, even before you have evidence. We all have moments of fear, self-doubt, discouragement. Heck, if you don't, you just aren't taking risks!

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