Summary: In today’s Entrepreneur MBA podcast guest, Sean Munger speaks with Stephen Halasnik from Financing Solutions about how understanding history can help your business. They talk about how understanding history is so important to the business world. They also talk about how important age is and how that can affect your decision-making as well as applying history to every decision they make. 

Understanding how important history isunderstanding history

You have to understand the past to prepare for what is going to happen in the future. It is valuable to know what happened in the past because you need to learn not to make those same mistakes again. History is not just an entertainment product that you just consume, you have to learn and take lessons from history to know not to make the same mistake. Another reason history is important is for better decision-making. History can teach you to also make better assumptions in the business world. 

Understanding the history of business, the U.S., and the world can all help you reduce the chances of failure furthermore improving your chances of success. One of the most important things history can teach you is questioning your assumptions. This can save you time and money if you sit down to really question your assumptions because this general assumption that was made in the past can change over time to not even exist. An example of not questioning your assumption is what happened to the camera company Kodak when they hired someone who wasn’t thinking about the digital age future over someone who was thinking in the future. 

Age and History

When running a business, the most important decision you can make is hiring someone who is younger who can change the direction of the company and have forward-thinking about the future. These younger leaders take into consideration how the cards were dealt in history but they are not afraid to make the right decision that is riskier than just having the most old-fashioned take on something. 

A youthful realization of the world is necessary for a business or even politics to go forward. There is a generational difference in how people see history and use it. How people see history can affect how they see the future which can affect what decisions they make. People in business should hire younger people into positions of power earlier than they think they should if they really want to change the direction of the company. 

How does age affect decision-making?

As you get older, you get wiser about your own past as well as the past in general. When you are older you become more cynical and start being more closed-minded about the way things should be done. There is a middle grown between the two extremes where you recognize that everything should not remain the same and there are ways to change things to a certain limit. Sometimes radical change is necessary where they have to abolish something. As you get older you also develop better decision-making in those middle ground ways. 

Three things learned

There are three things you can do to help your business in many ways drastically. The first concept is understanding business history in general. This does not mean you have to use that history as a blueprint for your business. You should just know your history so you understand that things repeat themselves and you can learn a lot about that. 

The second way you can help your business is by questioning your assumptions about where you think you are going to go as a company and why you think it is going to go there. You should not be too sure of anything which means you should not be thinking everything is going to turn out how you plan it. If you need to change the direction your company is headed, you could hire someone who is younger. This younger person can be more forward-thinking than the more experienced person which is better for the company’s future. 

The third concept that can significantly help your business is to try as hard as you can to stay relevant. You need to know what is going on in various different technologies and businesses. Do not get out of touch with the various trends to the point where you do not know what is going on. 

History is very instructive about where we have been in the past. It shows us exactly how things completely change sometimes. You have to recognize that the future will not necessarily be like the past. In a business, you cannot expect the same results as previous efforts so you have to be patient and realize that change can occur over a short period of time. 

About Sean Munger

Sean Munger is a historian, author, teacher, and podcaster. He has a Ph.D. in environmental history and J.D., and practiced commercial real estate law before getting his advanced degrees in history. He has consulted businesses and organizations on the changes coming as a result of climate change and its effect on our history.

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