What’s with the header graphic?

That’s a young coconut freshly fallen into our yard, still glistening with morning dew. I like the way it looks so promising and full of potential to grow–especially in the context of the vibrant green grass and its fully-grown coconut tree cousins in the background. Seems to me start-ups share some of that same emotional appeal. And on the reality side, as with start ups, there are of course hundreds of fallen coconuts for each coconut tree that matures. What separates the infant mortalities from the successes? Of course myriad books and MBA classes have tackled this subject–and there are many factors. I believe that use of and focus on core values represents perhaps the least understood and single most overlooked factor in entreneurial success [in addition to the classic b-school topics of strategy, marketing, finance, product, customer focus and so on]. A healthy attention to core values can make the difference between dying on the lawn and growing to be a strong, beautiful, storm resistant coconut tree–with the power to spawn new coconuts to extend the cycle.

Though not himself the entrepreneur, CEO Thomas J. Watson, Jr., IBM CEO from 1956-1971 may have said it best: “Any organization, in order to survive and achieve success, must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions. I believe the most important single factor in corporate success is faithful adherence to those beliefs.”

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