The Learned Skills of Successful Entrepreneurs – John Furth

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John Furth is the CEO of the advisory group Furth & Associates. A consultant for over 26 years, he has held senior positions as the head of strategy groups at Hitachi Consulting, Discovery Communications and Sony Corporation. John is also author of a forthcoming book, Fearless Disruption: A Guide to the New Realities of Business and Leadership in the 21st Century. This show’s topics include:

Evolution of the CEO:

  • “There has been a shift, and with that shift business people have learned that the softer side of life plays a huge role in non-success and success–that’s become a much more prominent part of business in the last 40 years.”
  • “What makes a great leader, great CEO, a great artist—the common thread is that they are committed to continuous learning. They’re on a mission to not let themselves get blindsided by things they don’t know.”
  • “Successful people say ‘Yeah, I failed, but I did learn, and this is how I’ll apply it to the next thing I do.'”
  • “You have to disrupt your mindset—a belief can get in the way of your growth.”

Assessing Business Effectiveness:

  • “You listen to the stories the CEO and his team are constructing as they go along, and you’re listening for things that don’t make sense: mindset issues, beliefs about business that are either not logical or not true.”
  • “When is it time to hire a Chief Marketing Officer, or expand a portfolio of products? That’s part of growth and decision-making—that’s a learned skill, and it’s hard to do that without a mentor or group of people that can help you navigate your decision-making.”
  • “The number one reason why a company fails is very simple—they run out of money. You have to be financially secure, in any situation, to build and grow.”
  • “The key skill set that a business person needs to have is the ability to get insights and to learn, and not just be comfortable with a few data points.”

Identify What You Want:

  • “A lot of people come to me when they have found that somehow, it’s not working the way they thought it would, and it’s because they’re actually not clear on what it is they’re trying to achieve.”
  • “The most powerful thing for someone trying to start something—be it an artist or building a company—you have to know and be really clear about what exactly it is you want. You get what you want, and if you don’t know what you want, you don’t get anything.”
  • “The difference between someone who’s successful and less successful is their ability to identity what they want, and take steps to get there.”
  • “You really do need to navigate growth and understand what’s going to come next—the challenge for young entrepreneurs is they do not know what they don’t know.”

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Daniel DiGriz
Daniel DiGriz is Director of Audience Development & Educational Programming. He's co-founder of enterprise consulting firm Free Agent Source Inc.. He is Corporate Storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe which provides sales enablement and campaign direction to various firms. His background in Fortune 500 life is in sales, education, and technology. Daniel is a musician, storyteller, and karateka. His personal website is

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