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Is Your Small Business Approach an Exuberant Puppy or a Laid Back Pooch?

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Is Your Small Business Approach an Exuberant Puppy or a Laid Back Pooch?

Old Dog. New Puppy. Which energy informs your Small Business approach, and is it working for you?

The energy of your approach to Small Business and dog personalities are two concepts that seem unrelated. Unless your business is dog walking, then it makes sense. What might be the relationship? What can we learn from one to inform the other? If one dog is a puppy and the other an older dog, there is a lot to reflect on in relation to our approach to Small Business.

We have a new puppy in our house. Very recently I took him and our older dog out for their first walk together. To say this was a challenge would be an understatement. I alternated between being delighted, alarmed, excited and frustrated (and pretty much everything in between). And that rollercoaster of emotions is what reminded me of our varied approaches to Small Business.

The contrast of puppy energy; unpredictable, erratic and exuberant versus the older dog energy of a more mature business which is measured, thought through and contained was plain to see in the two much loved furry members of my family.

Consider Puppy energy. There is lots of it.

Often when we have a new idea in our business or our business is new, we have lots of energy for it. Sometimes too much. It can consume our thinking as we focus on getting off the ground. Sometimes that level of enthusiasm creates positive change and renews our energy, but at other times it can be just plain exhausting or slow down past gains.

The older dog, on the other hand, knows how to balance things out. They have perspective on how much energy to use and when. No point wasting it in the first five hundred meters when they know the ‘off leash’ area with ball tossing and bird chasing coming up. 

Puppy energy is also equivalent to disruptor energy in the market place; unpredictable, new and bringing a play routine that had previously not been seen. Again, this can be a force for growth in our Small Business.

Puppy energy can reinvigorate our approach. It can also seriously mess with our established status quo and the expectations our clients have of our brand. Too much disruption and we fail to bring our people along for the walk. Too little and we fade into bland.

There is also no doubt that puppies can behave badly.

They are blissfully unaware of the rules and just randomly decide what, when and how to do it the next thing that captures their attention. They are oblivious to consequences and tend to shrug off instruction which might keep them safe. There are real risks to business if we use puppy energy to make decisions and choices without the leash to keep us playing nicely with others. 

Puppies tend to yank on the lead. They use pure will, excitement and determination to pull forward without strategy or structure. They are all ‘go’ with little reflection, just more enthusiasm.

If you are a very new start-up business, this might indeed be the type of energy you need, but it is impossible to maintain long term.

The more mature animal will occasionally pull but will also be sure to sit down and get their breath back, so the walk is achievable.

Puppy energy has no concept of direction, time or prioritisation.

If there is a path, light and grass to pee on, life is excellent. Often they are oblivious to other things around them until it is literally too late. Older dogs know that structure and goals, while at times, a little staid ensures space for creativity and the occasional roll in the grass if you like that kind of thing. There is room to roam if you make sure you have the time and know the way back.

Mature dogs understand time and place.

Mature dogs use processes, they follow the rules, listen carefully, occasionally get boisterous but for good reason, know the route, know their limits, and practice awareness. From that point, the wisdom of the older animal is crucial. However, sometimes, they do need a bit of puppy energy to maintain momentum and stretch. When a business decides to do something new, a little boisterous enthusiasm can be just what is required to get everyone onboard and excited. 

For a slightly different take about leadership lessons, we can learn from our dogs click here, or if you are being a bit too puppy or a bit too old dog, you might like to read this article about how to change things.

So which Small Business approach suits where you are on your journey? Do you need some boisterous enthusiasm or a bit of wisdom and planning?

Puppy energy can make business feel fresh and exciting, but an old dog can also teach a puppy some new tricks!

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