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Preparing to speak to over a thousand educators this morning in Sacramento, CA on building an Entrepreneurial mindset…one quote stands out that should make us all think twice about how we approach professional development as well as the educational development of the next generation:

Andrew Carnegie, in the Early 1900s, wrote (concerning the development of our educational institutions here in the US…)

“We need compliant workers…willing to work for less than the value their productivity creates… …The best way is to build an educational industry designed to teach workers just enough to get them to cooperate.”    No wonder it’s so hard to hire good people!

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

Don’t forget to sign up for tomorrow’s webinar – Leveraging the Discovery Process! See yesterday’s post for the link to sign up.

We’re back from a week in Nashville – all 9 of us attended this years Nashville Home school conference where I presented two sessions, one on building an entrepreneurial mindset and a second on starting businesses (topics I also recently presented at a Dallas Texas Home School Conference)…Some highlights from my time in TN:

1. I had an enlightening conversation with a family from China.  The father’s perspectives on innovation, the US economy, and future business developments in China were very interesting and insightful.

2. I also spoke with another person responsible for the development of China’s junior achievement program and instrumental in introducing Peter Senge, author of the Fifth Discipline, to many businesses in his country.

3. One session I attended provided excellent steps on avoiding procrastination – something everyone needs to take to heart if they want their business to grow.

4. Another session focused on building systems.  He talked about the importance of systematizing every aspect of our business and building disciplines around productivity, finances, and even interpersonal relationships.

5. Finally, I enjoyed visiting the pool each night with my children – along with many other families attending the conference.

© 2011, David Stelzl

I’m just leaving Dallas this afternoon after a great meeting with over  2000  home school parents and young people.  This morning I presented ideas to help people develop entrepreneurial thinking and leadership – to be less risk averse and more innovative.  A few points are worth noting here:

  • Most of our schooling prepared us for corporate America, not high risk/ high reward positions like sales and small business entrepreneurship.  Think about it – when was the last time you received high grades for being creative?  Most of my instructors requested the work be done a certain way…where is innovation in all of this.  Imagine if the teachers told us computers had to stay in data centers.  Where would iPads and Smartphones be?
  • Creativity is the key to success. Coming up with new ways to do things and solving problems no one else can solve.  What are you doing to build creativity.  I listed several things that are known destroyers of creativity…Late night television and not enough sleep are low hanging fruit, but there are many things all of do that simply keep us from thinking outside of the box.
  • Wanting the safety of high bases and lower commissions is another lie – no position is safe, and those who aim to be high producers, and work at it, will be.  Be great and take the higher leveraged pay plan.

I also spoke to young people on starting businesses in the afternoon.  It’s easy to start one, hard to keep one.  One factor is learning the four things buyers buy – learning to discover critical needs within the companies you serve and then developing lasting answers for these companies.  If you can make a company more profitable, you’ll have customers.  Become a problem solver and stop selling commodity products at commodity discounts.  We explored areas of need, examples of young people producing, selling, and profiting in their teen years, and talked about the need to learn while you’re young.  Learning the hard lessons of business while supporting a family is not the best way…most of us know that.  Imagine if your kids could know what you know about business before they hit age 18?

© 2011, David Stelzl