“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again” – Ecclesiastes 11:1

Carol Bartz, Chairman, CEO and President of Auto Desk, Inc., one of the world’s leading software companies, overcame the threat of breast cancer to become a winner in the tough, men-dominated infotech industry. In her own 2002 inspirational article, she says that to sustain performance in good times or bad, she has found seven strategies that work for her.

(1) This Too Shall Pass. She says that everything runs in cycles. A down cycle will be followed by an up cycle, so it is important to get ready for the future by communicating with customers and doing what you can to keep the people in your organization energized. (2) Follow Your Passion. She agrees with the German philosopher Hegel that nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion. She has always believed that passion for life and work is the engine that pulls everything else along, and her passion is leadership. The following three questions can help you determine your passion. What’s really important for you? What do you love to do? And what factors make your day great?

(3) Leaders Help People Succeed. Whatever your place in an organization or career, you can work on leadership. There’s a real distinction between leading and managing. The latter often ends up being the allocation of resources against tasks, but the former focuses on people. Her definition of a leader is someone who helps people succeed at what needs to be done and this includes motivation, guidance, congratulations, correction, empathy, etc. (4) Think of Business and Family as Two Agendas. Instead of worrying about possible conflicts between family and business, managed them as different agendas and stay engaged and flexible because unforeseen situations require priority readjustments. Negotiate for acceptable conditions instead of balancing between two unreasonable demands.

(5) Take Care of Yourself. This is not being selfish but practical. If you are not fully functional yourself, you can not be effective for others. Take time, therefore, to make sure that you are OK. (6) Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters and It Shall Return a Thousand-fold. She stresses the importance of giving back, of helping people and institutions for the good things that came your way because there will always be a high return in this, somehow.

(7) Be a Good Ancestor. It is her main belief that one of the most important parts of work and life is about leaving a legacy. One of the legacies that she wants to leave is that of being a good ancestor. I want to leave my corner of the world a better place because I was here”.

Last week the topic of this column was ‘The Entrepreneur and Economic’ growth and we concluded that ‘If the country does well, we all do well. All entrepreneurs, blessed with projects, which have potential for exponential growth, owe it to the nation to get on the appropriate growth path. All private business and public departments and agencies, need to ensure that their social responsibility is alive and well and give the entrepreneurs the timely and sufficient help that they need’.

I shall now share with you the thoughts of two respondents to that column. Besley said:

‘Thanks for sharing your article. I think it would be useful to follow it up with another article… highlighting the problems…facing small entrepreneurs when they set about to launch business projects, and strategies that they should use to overcome those problems’.

Anika said: ‘Just a thought: It’s all well and good to provide support for entrepreneurs to develop their product but even the support mechanisms available do not pay enough attention to retention. Often, an entrepreneur can get assistance by way of a grant, training or even help with a business plan, but what are we doing to ensure that the business gets the support it needs beyond the start up phase? I see too many “good ideas” fall by the wayside because of poor management in the long term. I would love to see more systems in place…to help the entrepreneur take the idea to the next level.

You made an excellent point about sales and I’m sure when you look at the hotels that have 90%+ occupancy there’s a high level of repeat guests. Its one thing to sell a product but its another when the product sells itself. Once an entrepreneur has continual access to the tools he needs to perfect the product, the sale will simply introduce the product to the consumer. A tourist could check into a hotel with the finest amenities available, but if the service is bad, he would likely choose to go elsewhere on this same trip… Well, that’s my 2 cents!’

May I say that the CBET Shepherding Model is designed to do address this challenge. Please visit the website below. This model encourages the public and private sectors to invest grant, loan, seed capital and venture capital funding to nurture these fledgling enterprises to sustainable success. CBET will complement by coordinating the management inputs. An optimal Combination of Entrepreneur, Management and Money then becomes the key to sustainable success.

Investors, ‘Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters and It Shall Return a Thousand-fold’.