Just in Time Learning vs. Just in Case Learning

Entrepreneurs and especially wantrapreneurs are addicted to learning. When classes and books are consumed because the knowledge will be valuable "someday," it's just-in-case learning.

Courses taken that we execute on and produce right away are just-in-time learning. We learn and do simultaneously.

The problem is just-in-case learning can become counter-productive.

There is nothing wrong with learning purely for the love of learning. It's a great gift.

However, if the idea is to start and grow something, every minute spent reading and taking in new information, if not used immediately, is a waste of the most precious resource, time. When starting out time needs to be spent producing.

Producing can be creating leads, setting up systems, creating content or otherwise doing work that gets us closer to revenue generating activities.

If you're about to start a new training ask yourself if this is something you can implement right away. If it's not, but you still want to do it because you'll enjoy the experience, then, by all means, do the training.

But know that when you're doing just-in-case learning, put it in the fun and entertainment bucket because listening to videos is leisure.

Doing exercises and sharing the results (just-in-time training) is work. And it's work that propels starting something great.


Your Million Dollar Race Horse

What if you had a million dollar race horse? Would you feed it mediocre food? Would you let it skip random exercise days? Would you let it oversleep and then get drunk a few times a week? Of course, you wouldn't.

Do you let yourself do these things?

Why do we treat ourselves so much worse than we treat pets or possessions?




* Thanks to "Evolved Enterprise" by Yanik Silver for the inspiration.

Global Social Entrepreneurs Lab

GGE: Ep 4 - Global Social Entrepreneurs Lab

Today we get to know Danielle Carruthers.

She is the founder of Global Social Entrepreneurs Lab and TheSedge.org. The great thing about what Danielle does is bring people together. She knows how to tap the wisdom of crowds to find great solutions to world changing problems.

Good Body Products Does It Good

GGE: Ep 2 - Good Body Products does it Good

We put so much attention on what goes into our body and yet so little to what goes on it.

Good Body Products in Guilford Vermont has built an amazing business that uses only locally grown ingredients to create wonderful items that go on your body.

Just as importantly the business provides a great life for the founders, a wonderful couple, and thier family. Listen to Trish Thomas tell how she and her husband Chris balance work, life and family.

Sustainable Companies Stocks Outperform the Competition

Companies striving for sustainable outcomes outperform their competition in nearly every financial measure. And most importantly in this case, stock performance. Canadian publisher Corporate Knights recently published its 8th annual list of "100 Most Sustainable Companies." According to the Corporate Knights Global 100 website:

The graph below measures the monthly total return of the Global 100 and the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) in USD from February 1, 2005 to November 30, 2011.  Over this period, the Global 100 returned 42.54% compared to 29.52% for the MSCI ACWI.


There are a host of activities and decisions that lead to a company becoming more sustainable. They are embedded in the culture and the inner workings of every organization on this path. However, a commitment to long term thinking and a passion for efficiency are critical. The same tools that are used in quality management systems and Lean Six Sigma are the ones that are used in achieving greater sustainability.

In the end, sustainability is about eliminating waste (whether that is wasted human potential or wasted natural resources) while meeting all stakeholder needs and expectations. By being ever more efficient in meeting needs we eliminate waste as a by product. If we combine that discipline with an eye towards sustainability, the two are a killer combination.

Better products, better communities, better planet, and better financial performance.

To see a great summary of the index you can read an excellent article by journalist Marc Gunther here. To see a how the number one ranked company, Novo Nordisk achieved such great results go here.

To see the entire methodology and listing, go to the website of the Global 100 Index here: http://global100.org/index.php

Eric Lowitt, Author of "The Future of Value"

Cover for The Future of ValueIn today's podcast we hear a great story from Eric Lowitt about how he is following his dreams and helping move sustainability forward in the business sector. I can't wait to get my hands on his new book "The Future of Value" when it comes out in late September. Eric has a passion for sustainability that is unstoppable. He also has that rare set of business experience and real world school of hard knocks that makes his story great. We'll hear what seperates his book from the others and what his clients are doing to become more sustainable.

Eric has done what so many entrepreneurs would love to do. He has taken his passion, written a book, and is now out there doing the work he loves. It is good for his customers, good for the economy and good for Eric. A true win-win-win. Best of all, he is just a great personable guy.

Please pardon the poor editing and less than perfect sound quality. I was trying some new equipment. Regardless, the content is top notch.

Chris Fowler, Founder and Executive Director at SyracuseFirst

My first podcast of the new series "Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship" is up on iTunes. The series will consist of interviews with social entrepreneurs and sustainability leaders that are doing real work in the real world. Today we interview social entrepreneur Chris Fowler, Founder and Executive Director of SyracuseFirst. Chris was on the fast track to a challenging and wonderful career that was taking him all across the country. He had such a love for his hometown and its great local traditions though that it kept calling him back. He took the lessons learned from his travels and combined them with his passion for social justice and sustainability to create a great organization that is doing amazing things in this community.

Employees forego pay for carbon neutrality

Think employees only care about money and time-off. Think again. New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins Colorado is most famous for its wonderful Fat Tire Amber beer. But it is also one of the leading companies in the world for creating a sustainable business. But the story of how it went to clean renewable energy deserves a page in HR manuals as well.

The owners of the business are committed to the environment and wanted to run on completely renewable clean energy. This is done through wind power and the on-site waste-water treatment operation.

In 1998 the 32% employee owned company brought the idea of going to wind power to a company vote. At the time it meant a 30% higher cost of electricity, most likely meaning the loss of significant end-of year bonuses for the employees. Despite knowing that their bonuses were going to suffer, the vote was unanimous to go to the clean energy solution. And not surprisingly, because of these high moral decisions, turnover is low and productivity is high because people feel like they are contributing to something bigger in the world.

To see how New Belgium produces some of its own power through it's waste-water treatment, check out this video.

New Belgium Brewing from whatis waste on Vimeo.

Sustainability Vision

If you think sustainability is important in our human systems, then you have some vision of what your company should be doing about it. Whether you are a line worker, middle manager or senior executive, your vision has some relationship to current reality. Here is a graphic I absconded from the excellent book "The Sustainability Champions Guidebook" by Bob Willard. It will help you see not only where your company is now, but what hurdles are in the way and what helpers might be available to you.

Sustainability Vision

Taking Green Business to the Bank

Want to make your company more profitable with each transaction AND worth more during your exit? Then make it truly green and the money will follow. As of January 2008, a 0.15 oz tube of Burt's Bee's lip balm cost $3.00. The same size tube of Chapstick cost 1.69. Sure, Burt's production costs were about 25% higher, but the cost at the cash register more than made up the difference.

At the time that Burt's had revenues of $164 million, the company sold to Clorox for $913 million. At a time when many businesses will sell for 2-3 times net profit, Burt's sold for nearly six times revenue.

The Body Shop was sold to L'Oreal for nearly $1.1 Billion in 2006. Far ahead of the market cap of similar companies.

The evidence is clear. Profits are higher while doing business and the exit strategy pays better to the founders if your company is truly green and responsible. And you are doing better for the world at the same time.

Starting a business? Make it truly green and socially responsible. You'll sleep better at night and make more money in the process.