entrepreneurs | October 03, 2011

Arlene Dickinson: In Business, Emotion is Not a Dirty Word

Arlene Dickinson has a successful track record of picking companies on the rise. A master entrepreneur with a keen eye for ideas that get results, she relies on instincts for zeroing in on emerging trends and sound investments, a skill exemplified in her role as a panelist on the hit series Dragons' Den. A recent interview in the Toronto Star, keyed to the release of her first book Persuasion, sheds like on Dickinson's personal thoughts and business beliefs.

Some things we learn about Dickinson from the Toronto Star piece:

She puts all her cards on the table, and so should you:

I think there’s a perception that people who are on TV, people who are in power in some way in business, have some invisible cloak that keeps them from making mistakes, and somehow they have never really had to struggle or suffer. I wanted to dispel that. . . . If you understand what I’ve gone through, then maybe you can relate to it, and see what you’re going through you can get through it.

Find your voice and use it. Women, that means you especially:

As much as I hate to single it out as a female issue, I think it. I even find sometimes on the show, I will say something. I’ll listen, and I’ll think I’ve made my point. The guys will say the exact same thing, and they’ll be heard, where I feel like I wasn’t heard. . . . My point being it doesn’t matter what your profile is or how big a profile you have, I think we just assert ourselves differently and our voices are heard differently as a result.

Here are the keys to success in business:

You have to be clear what your values are. You have to have a clear vision that’s expressed in a way that people can understand. You have to be articulate. You have to be willing to put yourself out there.

Make your own choices:

The only thing you ever have in life is the ability to make your own decisions. If you don’t voice your opinion, if you don’t say how you really feel, then you’re guilty of letting other people make choices for you, which I think is just a shame.

Emotion is not taboo:

[Emotion] is not a dirty word. The idea that emotion is a dirty word in business drives me crazy. Because emotion is what creates loyalty, emotion is what creates work ethic, emotion is what creates drive.

Up Next

the economy | October 02, 2011