Scott Jeffrey's "5 Powerful Decisions to Transform Your Business" (tweaked for the writing life)


I've been keeping one eye on Scott Jeffrey's Enlightened Business blog lately, and last week I saw something that blew my mind a little. These "5 Powerful Decisions to Transform Your Business" will radically change my 2010 business plan. (And YES, you need a business plan if you're in the business of writing! My dad always said. "Plan your work, work your plan." We'll return to that topic at the end of the year.) Scott's original post makes great sense for any company, but here's my tweak on it, applying the same principles to the soul proprietorship that is the corporate body for most working authors.

#1 Decide to focus on your best customers.
This is that "laser like focus" Colleen talks about, and it goes beyond cultivating a readership. It also speaks to the relationships we build with our publishers.

#2 Decide to focus on building a highly functional team.
Three essential teammates for writers: A smart, aggressive, like-minded agent. A smart, supportive, and collegial critique group. Domestic allies who understand what you do. Team-building with those key people is a whole 'nother post. Watch this space.

#3 Decide to grow from within.
Scott's post talks about a "corporate culture" that aligns core values. For a company of one, that means being the industry you want to work in. Organized. Optimistic. Perseverant. That's not what you do; that's who you are. Seriously sit down and consider your artistic philosophy, then embrace and embody it without apology or compromise. To thine own self be true -- all other ground is quicksand.

#4 Decide to be the best at something.
"This decision requires sacrifice and focus," says Jeffreys. Boy howdy. Does it ever. Malcolm Gladwell hypothesizes that you're the master of a craft after 10,000 hours of practice. And you've really got to LOVE doing something if you're going to put in that kind of mileage. What is it about this work that gives you that little chill of yes? Dialogue? Sense of place? Untying a Gordian knot of a plot? I think that frisson becomes an affinity at about 3,000 hours. After 6,000 hours, the affinity becomes a knack. Somewhere around 9,000 hours, that knack becomes a strength. And once you become a master, that strength becomes your brand.

#5 Decide on a more compelling future for your organization to rally around.
The publishing industry has undergone a seismic shift in the last 12 months. We're in the wild, wild west now, my darlings. Anything is possible, so why not envision something wonderful? What is the real essence of what we all want for this industry? For me, it largely comes down to fair pay for good art. Writers have to envision that future and earn it.

My first step in that direction: a solid business plan. I can't wait to sit down on Dec 26 to work on mine with my annual "Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan" breakfast of coffee and Christmas cookies. These five transformative rules have seriously adjusted my thought process and just might make 2010 my best year ever.

We live by decision. It's that simple. Large and small choices shape an office environment, a day, a career, and ultimately a life. That's the terrifying, thrilling possibility for transformation in every moment.

Comments

This is just brilliant. I set goals for each year, but this may just win me over to real business planning.
Anonymous said…
Wow! Just brilliant (the breakfast, too). I'm printing this out, and doing this along with you. Hugs, Diane
Nancy J. Parra said…
Brilliant! Thanks~

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