Yesterday’s Alberta election produced a dramatic change but more than anything else it resulted from change and the inability of the PC party in Alberta to manage change. One of the reasons so many experts maintain that failure is an integral part of succeeding as an entrepreneur is because we do learn from failure. We have to learn in order to recover so we take the time to analyze what we did wrong in order to avoid repeating the same mistake. Success masks our faults. It is rare for most of us to understand our weaknesses when we are getting results. Unfortunately for the electorate for a political party getting results means maintaining power as opposed to effective performance. When things are going well as they did for Alberta under the boom of the oil industry it was easy for politicians to look good and to develop some bad management practices. When a serious problem developed with falling oil revenues there was a huge need to adjust. We will never know whether the proposed budget was appropriate or not but remember when you have to provide customers, suppliers or employees with a bitter pill for the longer run good don’t turn around and immediately give them control to vote the new policy in or not.
My mantra for the individual in today’s dynamic world is that the number one skill you can learn is the ability to create and manage your own career, with managing being the key to sustain meaningful success. We face an unprecedented rate of change. Every one of us must have the ability to recreate ourselves in the face of this one certainty: change is a constant, by definition the only thing we can count on besides death and taxes. Despite the perception of many that entrepreneurship requires risk this need not mean reckless risk but instead should refer to managed risk. The PCs had the time and needed it to prove that their budget could work in an economy under duress rather than risking a quick election on the outside chance they would get another majority giving them even more time. So among the small business lessons from yesterday’s election results are the following:
1. Nothing lasts forever including good times in the oil industry
2. Sustained success requires a relentless commitment to adapt even after a long track record of doing so.
3. Managed risk produces results while reckless risk invites failure
4. Knowing your weaknesses in good times and bad will sustain your success
5. A change in leadership does not guarantee renewal of an organization
I’ m sure there are more.
Fred Dawkins is a serial entrepreneur and the author of a series entitled The Entrepreneurial Edge. The third book in that series Ageless Entrepreneur is available from booksellers across North America on May 9th 2015