Business Success

Business Lessons from a Pencil

November 29, 2016

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

Meet Deb


Here’s a very simple but important challenge for you.

Pick up a pencil.

Now ask yourself: Could you – by yourself – make a pencil?

Sounds pretty easy, right? After all, it’s just a small piece of wood with some graphite and an eraser at the end.

Well, we all know there’s a little more to it than meets the eye.

In fact, the making of a pencil takes several generations and countless individuals. Somewhere back in time, someone planted a seed. Others may have watered it and nurtured it so it grew strong and tall. And then someone had to cut the tree down with a tool that others manufactured. After that, many people got involved – to run the raw lumber through the mill and process it through a factory. Behind those factory workers was a long line of inventors of machinery and processes.

And of course, while all this was going on, miners in a far-away country were working feverishly underground to extract the graphite for the very pencil you hold in your hand.

In addition, there are the people who made the eraser part of your pencil – not to mention the gifted inventors and chemists through time who have developed the precise formula for creating an eraser that is stable.

Lastly, there are the packers, transporters, and merchants who make the pencil available to you locally.

Take another look at your pencil.

It would be amazing to see all the people who had a hand in making it. You realize it represents the contributions of people all over the world…and that you couldn’t make it by yourself, even if you tried.

That, my fellow leaders, is the key to business. You cannot possibly build it by yourself.

“But, wait,” you may proudly say, “I am a solopreneur. I don’t have employees. I provide a service, and I do everything myself.”


  • Do you use a computer? If so, did you create it?
  • Do you use apps? Did you write the programming?
  • Do you have customers? Could you have a business without customers?
  • Do you collect funds for your work? Who is behind your payment processing, banking, and accounting?

It’s easy to see that ALL businesses – from the largest to the smallest – require the efforts of people with specific strengths.

This is the magic of specialization (or as we like to say, “working in your strengths”). Think about that pencil again. If you COULD make it yourself, how long would it take, and how much would it cost?

People working in their strengths create efficiencies of scale that an individual cannot possibly create alone. This interdependency of strengths creates more profit in the business.

Take a look at your business from the perspective of the pencil.

  • Are you as a leader trying to do things that are better done by others?
  • Are there team members with particular strengths you need on your team?
  • Are there resources beyond your own to be tapped for added value?
  • Are you operating at peak efficiency?
  • Are there inventions, apps, and processes developed by others that would serve your business well?

If you are a small business seeking growth, you will definitely need to consider adding to your strengths-based team. As a leader, building this kind of team is your greatest leverage in a very competitive world.

For a no fee consultation to see if your organization is right for a Strengths Based Initiative, click here.



  1. Thanks for taking the time to make the SIMPLE so PROFOUND!

    Great THOTS!