Losing! Business Lessons From Charlie Sheen
It's gripping stuff. Like a spectacular fireworks display or a slow motion car crash. The very public, erratic behavior of Charlie Sheen has been on our TVs just about every night for weeks now. And we're unable to turn away. It's just too oddly compelling.
And of course – me being me – I can't just point and watch. There's something happening here that's worth observing, considering, and analyzing. Sheen's choices don't just make for a wild ride. They make for a pretty compelling cautionary tale. Especially for business owners. I always encourage small business owners to be willing to take a few risks, and try new things.
But you must measure those risks carefully before leaping (like a tiger?) off the cliff.
Let me break it down for you:
- The Ol' Bird In Hand Thing:
Seems to me that Sheen is trying to reinvent himself as something of “The Next Hugh Hefner” or “The Next Howard Stern”. Which is fine. Tweaking your brand is not a bad idea…unless you already have a great one going! Sheen was making millions – per episode – in a job that garnered him not only money but a modicum of success and stability. He blew that all away because he was unwilling, or some say unable, to control his erratic behavior. The lesson here is if you want to reinvent yourself, make sure that you're not fixing something that just ain't broken.
- Seek Wise Counsel:
Like Tom Cruise before him, Sheen's public blowout began right after he lost his longtime PR handler. How many of us have been cranked up with what we think is a great idea…only to be brought down to earth by a friend who has a clearer head and less biased perspective. If you are about to do something new or risky, always make sure you run it by someone who's judgement you trust. Even if you don't like what they have to say, hear them out and think hard about their advice. They could be saving your business!
- Don't Make Impeded Decisions:
Charlie may think that he's just fine while high, but his actions clearly show the opposite. Obviously, it's key to be totally in your right mind any time you make key business- and life-changing decisions. But remember, impeded decision-making doesn't just come from the effects of drugs and alcohol. Other things like anger, sleepiness, sickness, stress, and distraction influence our ability to think clearly and rationally. And one of those decisions is “stay off TV” unless you're thinking is totally unimpaired!
- Nix The Dirty Laundry:
This one seems obvious. It'd be too easy to dismiss Sheen's propensity for describing his love life and personal drug habits as just a one-off, very unique celebrity delusion. But it's not. I have seen too many cringe-worthy business emails from my students and peers in my day. If you miss a deadline, apologize to your clientele, but don't tell them it's because you're going through a divorce. And whatever you do, don't ever talk trash about a former business associate to a current business associate! Its often more than sufficient to call whatever issue you had with that former partner an “unexpected circumstance” and move on. Resist the urge to spill your guts in a business setting. Save that for your spouse or your therapist!
What's your opinion? What else can we learn from Charlie Sheen, good or bad? Share them by adding a comment below, and don't forget to Tweet and Like this post!
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