It’s Morocco, 2001, and I didn’t want to eat brains.

… A short story about one dinner that taught me how not to fail at business:

So – camel brains are a delicacy in Morocco, and all eyes are on me as the last to take a bite.
Lots of peer pressure.

So, I ate the brains.


Didn’t ask for seconds.

I can tell you that eating brains does not, in fact, make you smarter.

But, it does do two things:

First: give credibility as a zombie, which is highly useful for keeping the kids in line.

Second: serve as a reminder that just because everyone else is doing something, you don’t need to.

There was social pressure, sure, but it’s not like I’d end up in Moroccan jail if I refused it.

Peer pressure is an interesting thing, not just in brain-eating, but in running your company.

Fortunately, I did not turn into a zombie by giving in to the crowd.

BUT most business owners let their businesses turn into zombies – they follow the crowd (more on that in a sec).

Here are some key indicators that your business is a zombie:

  1. Slow, shuffling gait: business plods along, but hasn’t grown in a while
  2. Insatiable Appetite: has a constant craving for cash, lurches this way and that looking for more
  3. Partially braindead: despite your best efforts, anything you do feels like it doesn’t change the outcome.

But why does a business become a zombie?

Because the CEO is following a herd of other zombies. All listening to crappy business advice-

Advice from people who have never run a business, bought a business, AND sold a business.

(and yes, the advice you want is from someone who has done ALL three).

The buggest bad-advice culprits?

  • online articles,
  • the vendor who appears – and it just so happens what they’re selling is the answer to all your problems,
  • Some Guy who’s never run a lemonade stand, but is apparently an expert in how to position and market your company …

So the next time you see a business article (likely written by a journalist freshly minted from four years of learning nothing in college) – ignore it.

The next time someone who hasn’t done what you want to do offers advice – ignore it.

If your business isn’t where it needs to be – if it’s a zombie – then I have good news for you.

Unlike in the movies, there is a cure for the zombie virus.

It’s simple: stop following the crowd and find someone who has done what you want to, and ask them.

Discover a weekly list of short, actionable steps to get out of operational deadlock, build a self-managing team, grow strategically, and increase company value in the Boardroom Bulletin™.

Categories: Quick Takes