For all the deservedly bad press discrimination gets, there's something to be said about the word in its original meaning.
The definition we most frequently encounter in the news would probably be best summed up as "the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things," but in this case, we're looking at another type of discrimination, the "recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another."
In fact, this is not about discriminating against, it's about discriminating for.
As an entrepreneur, you have the responsibility to focus your attention on the things that are the most important, not the least important.
Discriminate to find where you, as a CEO, need to be spending your time - easily the most important thing you have each day. Why are you spending time doing things that do not benefit your business with the special set of skills that you possess?
An even greater need for your discrimination is to understand what is truly important for you as the owner. It's easy to get caught working in the business when your real needs lie in working on the business - one of the most oft-repeated mantras I've ever had to use.
You'd think after four decades and hundreds of thousands of listeners hearing me discussing the "on" versus "in" conversation that more owners would be able to understand, but it's still not true.
Because they aren't discriminating in what they seek to accomplish.
They think to themselves, "I'll just take care of payroll this morning" instead of having a system in place to handle payroll and bookkeeping.
They need to check email instead of having a VA or secretary to divert all but the most important things from their inbox.
They spend valuable time on the phone making sales calls instead of having spent nearly the same time developing a team of sales people based on the marketing and scripts that they may very well have been using for years.
In short, entrepreneurs that lack discrimination fall into a trap - they are being reactive instead of proactive and giving significance to what is urgent as opposed to what is important.
In short, discrimination is one of the foundational components of success in small business. Imagine, if you will, buying a home or business without any due diligence. You'd have to be insane! And yet, every day, men and women go to work in the companies they've built with no thought of actively improving how the business functions. They have become unable - or unwilling - to step into the role of asking one simple question...
Or, perhaps more importantly, "Why not?"
In some cases, asking those questions will result in an answer that verifies the system is operating at peak efficiency, but in many cases, a discriminating entrepreneur will uncover that a better system can be developed and deployed to save time, save money, or continue to build the company and the brand.
Start discriminating more in your own business and see how it opens doors to what I refer to as the Five Essential Skills - Concentration, Discrimination, Organization, Innovation and Communication. These critical pieces must be in place to truly build a Great Growing Company™.