Start Your Engines: The Last BBA Lecture (Part 1: The Foundation of Business)
In an interesting twist of the college schedule, I had the privilege of giving the BBA seniors in my capstone course their last-ever lecture in college. Knowing this, I decided to recap the most important things they learned in business school. (Part 2; Part 3)
Part 1: The Foundation of Business
The world of work hinges on exactly one thing: doing the work! Unless you actually roll up your sleeves and get done what needs to be done, nothing else matters. In this, you must all become masters of GyShiDo — getting your shit done. Of the seven principles in GyShiDo, three stand out as being of paramount importance:
No bullshit — Whatever it is that you do, be honest with people. Don’t make excuses, don’t play the blame game, and keep things as transparent as possible.
Follow up — Woody Allen was famous for saying that 80% of life/success is showing up. Included in that is following up and making sure that you stay on top of things. Be there not just at the kickoff, but in the follow up. Success is when opportunity and preparedness meet, but follow up is what makes sure that the opportunity sticks around long enough to connect with whatever you prepared.
Don’t be an asshole — ‘Nuff said.
Given that you must get things done, the next decision is what to get done, and this means getting down to the foundation of the products/services that your company offers. Make sure you know:
- What it is
- Who does/has/uses it
- Why, Where, When, and How people do/have/use it
In this, it’s important to remember that the challenge of business is to create value not from solving problems, per se, but from finding the right problem and then solving it. The biggest challenges aren’t about solving problems, but rather about drilling down to what the actual problem is and [as Bertrand Russell would say] stating it in a way that allows for a solution. By doing this, you end up creating your market (rather than catering to an existing one), which is also one of the foundations of disruptive innovation. Though a subtle difference, finding the problem instead of solving it is also the difference between thinking outside the proverbial box and engaging in boxless thinking.
If you establish your business upon a foundation of GyShiDo, deep understanding, and problem-finding, you will have put the roots of success in your company. The next task is to build the core of the business (Part 2).