CategoryLeading/Managing

Managing Businesses that Rely on Creative Activities

This post introduces an essay with ideas on coordinating different types of work.

Aside from the entrepreneurial artist (e.g. Andy Warhol) or writer (e.g. James Patterson) or inventor (e.g. Dean Kamen), most individuals that live off of their ideas operate within some type of organization. How do we corral “creative” activities like writing and research within manageable businesses?

Click here to read the essay.

Managing Yourself

This post introduces an essay with ideas and resources on personal productivity. It is the third in a three-part series on entrepreneurship. 

Like other business owners, I learned along the way and grew into my role as a CEO. Possibly the biggest lesson has been the importance of rigorously, even ruthlessly, managing my time and energy.

In practice, we tend towards self-indulgence and do the things we like to do, or want to do in the moment, rather than those things that help us achieve our goals. Having clear priorities and a sensible approach to managing time has helped me tremendously, and will help you, too.

Click here to read the essay.

Ideas for Managers

This post introduces an essay with advice on managing a business, setting expectations and working with teams. It is the second in a three-part series on entrepreneurship. 

Starting Forisk Consulting was not part of a long-term goal. Rather, it came together serendipitously. When the phone started ringing with questions relevant to my forestry research, the two ingredients required for starting a business presented themselves: a product or service to offer and clients willing to pay for it. 

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about managing. I also absorbed more about insurance, taxes and postage meters than a person needs to know for the afterlife. In this second essay on entrepreneurship, I summarize lessons on managing a business and teams.

Click here to read the essay.

Ideas for Entrepreneurs

This post introduces an essay with advice on starting a business. It is the first in a three-part series

Forisk is not my first business. In elementary school, after reading all of the Encyclopedia Brown mystery books from the local library, I started a detective agency with my younger brother. We had one client and we helped her find a lost dog. She paid us in milk and cookies. They were delicious. 

Over the years, there have been other businesses, in addition to lemon aide stands and lawn mowing. Sometimes the businesses worked out, and sometimes they didn’t. You learn and try again. For this question-and-answer essay, I share a few thoughts on starting a business based on my experiences and what I’ve learned from mentors. 

Click here to read the essay.

What is the Question?

This post introduces a recent essay on mobilizing teams and making decisions during difficult times.

When faced with ambiguity and uncertainty, we seek solid ground for making decisions. For novel and contentious issues, following our “gut” or simple frameworks may prove insufficient. What can we do to filter distraction and organize thinking in ways that move us forward? 

When uncertain, define an answerable question. Then answer it and take action.

In difficult situations, I often start by clearly defining the question. Good questions clarify our context, risks and options. Through shaping “positive” questions we build a process for developing new information and next steps. These questions help us distinguish the important, relevant and actionable from the unsubstantiated and uncontrollable, while balancing the desire for insight with the need for action.

Click here to read the essay.