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2012 DSA Annual Meeting Speech

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Are You Sipping The Kool-Aid?

Powerful suppositions exist within the management team of every organization regarding why results are the way they are, or why some avenues of revenues aren't deemed worthy of being attempted.  These suppositions are soothing, they help management explain or justify limitations or losses.  Often times they are somewhat true, though creativity could blow a hole in the suppositions, and sometimes they are merely a repetition of a faulty philosophy, learned over time and repeated until everyone believes it.  It's not hard to fall into this trap, and it always seems like the right answer.  

Countless times, these suppositions go unchallenged among the management team.  However, challenging the suppositions is one of the major tasks of a Board of Directors, or an Advisory Board member.  A good Board Director should challenge the executive management in their thinking.  They should serve the shareholders by helping the CEO.  But helping can also mean pushing back against a mantra, and keeping them honest, if applicable.  

Recently, I've been setting up Advisory Boards within private corporations.  I'm pleased to see the adoption of this by younger entrepreneurs.  They are excited by the challenge the Advisory Board can bring to them as owners.  In many cases, a young company that doesn't have the resources to hire an Advisory Board has still been able to convince industry statesmen and women to join their company as a non-paid Advisor.  This is wonderful.  I hope this trend will continue into the future.

It's easy to not be challenged.  It's easy to sip the Kool-Aid and continue to believe what these suppositions bring to your decision making.  Don't sip it.  It's a powerful cocktail of inaction.  

It's not only dangerous for your growing young company, but it is a hard habit to eliminate.  

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