From Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur's Soul

Moment by Moment

We do not remember days . . . We remember moments.

Cesare Pavese

Wow, 230 names. Jotting down a quick list while composing this story, it’s hard to fathom the number of entrepreneurs whom I have worked with over the past decade through my company IMS, a marketing communications firm based in Arizona. And I know I’ll remember some more as I write my story.

Scanning my list of entrepreneurs, I can’t help but reflect on the companies and people who succeeded, and those who didn’t. It wouldn’t be the first time. Working with small to medium-sized entrepreneurial companies, I’ve spent hours in my car, on planes, even cooking dinner, trying to arrive at what the magic is that makes one entrepreneur wildly successful, time and time again, and another quite the opposite.

Entrepreneurs by their very nature are energetic, passionate and motivated, so why is it that some have legions of people who will leap off the tallest of cliffs for them, while others have employees who are hardly that brave? For those entrepreneurs who want to be remembered for the next iPod or the next Google, they better have followers of the cliff-leaping kind.

Extremely successful entrepreneurs are leaders who can make great things happen in their companies. No, strike that. They can make extraordinary things happen, and often they do so just for the thrill of saying they did. Many think that entrepreneurs who have devoted, intrinsically loyal staff hire better than those who don’t, but I disagree. While they hire the same, they inspire better. But how?

The Truth of the Two Circles

Every organization has two circles, the “heart” circle and the “mind” circle. The heart circle is the excitement, the passion, the thrill. The mind circle consists of spreadsheets, forecasts and checklists. Entrepreneurial companies become great companies when they successfully bring together the heart circle and the mind circle; they have gracefully placed the rules, regulations, spreadsheets, budgets and all the other mind-focused endeavors within the creativity, caring, passion, purpose, fulfillment, achievement and pride of the heart circle.

There’s a solid reason for this. When the circles come together, people understand why there are rules. People also expect to be held accountable to goals and results, because they are symbols of caring and passion; through them, a higher purpose is achieved. And about achievement: loyal employees look forward to achieving great things, big things, rather than simply accomplishing daily office tasks and then going home. It’s the attitudes and beliefs of the people within heart-mind centric organizations that allow great things to happen.

Putting It All into Action

At IMS, we’ve discovered that the vehicles that create and nurture an entrepreneurial heart-mind centric organization are “moments,” those brief instances of time that change lives. Those companies that do extraordinary things or deliver amazing products and services to their customers create moments for their employees at every turn. They make productions out of staff meetings with simple things like playing music to liven up the room when people walk in. They celebrate their successes and even make a scene. One company celebrated a big milestone with a party that included a “history walk” that let people reminisce about what it took to get there. They thank those around them, often not with HR programs, but with a sincere, “Thank you.” They communicate their mission and their vision not with a poster on the wall, but with impassioned speeches and videos about what the world will look like when they get there and then rally the team with how much work it’s going to take.

Why are moments so important? Because moments allow you into a person’s heart. Moments can be formal or informal, but the key is to seize every opportunity to create positive, memorable, life-changing moments for the people around you.

Entrepreneurs must realize that moments will happen whether they intentionally create them or not. Why are you venturing out on your own, or at least thinking about it? It’s probably because there were too many not-so-great moments at the places you’ve worked. Lots of good moments inspire greatness, and lots of bad moments inspire, well, not much more than a nine-to-five effort—not nearly good enough in today’s dog-eat-dog world.

The impact can be huge. Moments connect people, and people who are connected to other people tend to be more loyal. They do things for each other and go out of their way to strike mutually beneficial partnerships. They also collaborate more and work harder, giving their company that competitive edge. These people are walking, talking, living and breathing embodiments of their company’s heart and soul.

Opportunities for Moments Are Everywhere

Every organization has opportunities for moments. In the beginning, it’s the entrepreneurial leader who creates them through inspiring words, often with hands waving in the air! From there it happens continually through actions and work.

So how do you know if you’re creating good or bad moments within your company? Take a confidential “moments” inventory. Ask yourself first (your own answers may say it all), then ask your team to think back over the last year and jot down their most memorable moments. If the lists look like this, you’re well on your way to greatness:

My Most Memorable Moments of the Year

• The annual user group conference where we revealed our latest product to thunderous cheers! Yeah!

• The team meeting where our founder opened up and told us why she decided to start our company: a dear friend of hers suffers every day with the illness she wants to cure.

• When we all pulled together and pulled off a huge presentation that got us the biggest contract in the company’s history. The pizza party afterwards was great, too!

• The wonderful dinner my husband and I had when we used the $100 certificate my boss gave me for, as he put it, “going above and beyond” on that last project.

On the other hand, if the moments are looking more like this, problems are afoot:

My Most Memorable Moments of the Year

• Last month when Roger in Sales was let go for no apparent reason.

• Being forced to work the weekend and missing my son’s first Pee Wee football game.

• The political games that cost me a promotion and a $20,000 pay raise.

That’s enough to get the idea. Entrepreneurs who lead companies of all shapes and sizes must realize that good and bad moments happen daily. Your goal is to have the good outweigh the bad, either in intensity or number.

Understand that in every entrepreneurial company you have to keep your nose to the grindstone. But have two grindstones—one for the mind and one for the heart—and keep your nose to both of them. It’s that simple, so take it moment by moment.

Kathy Heasley

EPILOGUE: Kathy Heasley is the founder and principal of IMS, Inc.

Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, IMS is a marketing communications company that is in the “moments” business.

Heasley and her team have successfully helped both small- and medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies discover their hearts, align them with their minds and make it all come to life inside and outside their organizations. Current and past companies she’s helped include Cold Stone Creamery, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Cole Companies, Realty Data Trust, Rich Dad Company, CSP Magazine, Able Information Technologies, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Hershey Foods, WaWa, Couche-Tard, and numerous other companies and independent entrepreneurs.

An entrepreneur herself, Heasley is a twenty-year veteran of the marketing communications industry, and also is a published writer and video producer. She coauthored Seize the American Dream: 10 Entrepreneurial Success Strategies (JaGrand Ventures, 2002) with health-care entrepreneur Jim H. Houtz and has ghostwritten books, articles and columns for her clients. She has produced hundreds of corporate videos and has received Telly awards for her video work. Her company was also awarded finalist in the 2005 Better Business Bureau’s Business Ethics Awards.

Heasley plans to continue helping companies worldwide through speeches, books and videos. Heasley is a member of Entrepreneur’s Organization (formerly YEO—Young Entrepreneurs Organization) and helps mentor young people through Penn State’s Lion Link program. She is the founder of the Best Friends Brigade of Scottsdale in association with Best Friends Animal Society. The Brigade supports the No More Homeless Pets initiatives in the Phoenix metro area.

To learn more about Kathy Heasley and her company, please visit

Dahlynn McKowen

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