53 minute listen
Do Entrepreneur Owner-Managers fundamentally operate at the level of data and analysis, or do EOMs fundamentally operate at the level of feelings and emotions? That’s the question that Jim Collins famously posed to Brené Brown and I loved it so much I posed it to Lisa Allen, the Principal Stockholder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the third-generation family business, Ziegenfelder Corporation. Ziegenfelder, headquartered in the hills of Wheeling, West Virginia, is one of the leading makers of frozen ice pops (what most of us think of as popsicle treats although the actual Popsicle Company is owned by global corporate giant, Unilever). What could inspire a more positive emotion than a popsicle treat in the heat of the July summer? (Hell, if more popsicles were available to more high performing entrepreneurs, we’d probably save a lot of money on therapy, who knows?)
So, do high-performing EOMS fundamentally operate at the level of data and analysis, or feelings and emotions? Listen and learn. Others of us EOMs might learn a lot from her candid talk.
Listen to the interview here:
What I am Reading / Listening to
Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement (2021)
By Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein
I have read everything by Dan Kahneman that I can find—published and unpublished—and listened to every piece of audio I can find as well. He’s widely regarded along with his student, Dick Thaler, as the father of the field of Behavioral Economics (What other kind is there?). I view him as one of my all-time heroes and perhaps one of the top 2 or 3 gifted thinkers of our time. But clearly, Noise is a Camel (of that old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee).
Kahneman explains elsewhere that at his age of 87, he wanted to co-write and enjoy working with other authors when it came to ultimately creating Noise. And creating noise is what we got. It kills me to report this, but Noise is a boring, in many cases a misleading oversimplification of decision-making concepts that candidly, Kahneman already covers much better in much of his other work. What a messy piece of work, both the dry 1970s text-book like structure, and murky writing.
Skip Noise and read Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Making Under Risk (1979) (which was the basis for his theory which along with Amos Tversky was recognized by the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002); Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases (1982); Choices, Values, and Frames (2000); and Thinking Fast and Slow (2011).
Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Quote
“I think the most critical service provided by Bigelow to us during the process was their extremely important work in initially positioning our company for sale by showing us what we needed to do beyond business as usual, to demonstrate to buyers we were on an achievable path to dramatically grow earnings. Their very hard work and never-ending diligence in managing the sale process, brought us a result far better than we expected when we started down the path.”
-Kurt M. Swenson, former Fourth Generation Family Owner and Chairman of the Board, Swenson Granite Company, LLC
Contributed by Sophie A. Southworth
Every other week, for the past year and a half, a friend of mine and I spend our Thursday evenings in an online French class. We both studied the language together as kids and found ourselves motivated to refresh our skills. Truthfully, part of our initial motivation to sign up for the class was to plan a trip to France and to have a regular activity that would take us away from our computer screens and back into a classroom. One month into our new routine and the quarantine forced our class to pivot to Zoom. Luckily, our ever patient teacher (who lives locally) was already well-versed in online learning and made the transition for us very seamless. It never occurred to me to quit the class or to wait until we could be in person again and I am very grateful for that.
Apart from now having homework, which I notoriously procrastinate, our class is truly a joy every time. We spend the first hour talking about work, our weekends, dream trips we want to take, restaurants we love, family, a funny show, our morals, current events we are passionate about, and any dilemmas or challenges we may be having in our personal life. Very few topics are left uncovered. 99% of the time we are speaking in French, with our teacher taking notes on a verb tense used incorrectly or a pronoun misplaced so that he can walk us through the corrections and craft a lesson for the second hour of each class. It amazes me that a practice that seems so simple has allowed the three of us to get to know each other so well.
We stumble over our words occasionally, we pause for an awkward amount of time to recall the exact word we want, but we laugh a lot. Our teacher thinks we are funny (or so I think) and the bi-weekly, two-hour sessions fly by. I truly enjoy this class and love that it has become one of my most consistent hobbies. The energy that this class creates for me has become invaluable. The French language has always been a part of my life and there is no expiration date, no final exam, just hopefully a trip to France on the horizon.