Inc. Magazine’s February cover story is about how successful entrepreneurs think. Leigh Buchanan writes about research done by Professor Saras Saravathy that supports the hypothesis that entrepreneurs are “Effective” thinkers and MBAs and corporate CEOs are “Causal” thinkers. This means that entrepreneurs decide what to sell and then figure out the best way. Corporate MBAs and CEOs look for the best way and then figure out what to sell. Brilliant and so true.

Most of the entrepreneurs I know have never had a business plan. I’ve never had a business plan and typically turned up my nose at them. They just don’t seem to be worth the paper they are printed on is my thinking. This can be sticky for a business consultant. Aren’t we supposed to help you prepare a formal business plan? But unlike my competitors I don’t like spending time on them unless your banker or investor requires one. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love a good spreadsheet projection. Yummy. That is a puzzle for a rainy day. And I also love a good budget. But I would much rather put initiatives into action that write about and study putting initiatives into action.

As businesses mature, planning becomes a necessary learned skill. Now I know why I love coming to the aid of a maturing small businesses and helping them think more “causally”. I understand that a little bit of cause helps the effect work better.

But many an entrepreneur has verbalized in the privacy of their office that they are lacking, stupid or an idiot for not thinking causally and for never having made that plan. Understanding this concept of “effective” and “causal” thinking supports my thought that having a great idea and going for it, being successful by the seat of our pants, getting “lucky” in business is only “effectual” thinking at play. Not a failing of self made business owners. Vindicated, I say hooray! To hell with Business Plans.

Read the whole story at Inc. Magazine

Watch Saras Saravathy speak at TED X or at

Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz is the author of "The Key to the Golden Handcuffs". She is a high performance business consultant and leadership coach. Connect with Ruth to participate in the conversation. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube .