In my November blog I described how important it is to unleash the power of innovative entrepreneurship in our digital & connected world, by sharing the first set of three lessons learned from being an entrepreneur.
In this second blog in a series for three I describe from the lessons learnt from being an entrepreneur, as to how doing this manifests an optimistic, abundant & positive futures that:
- Maximises the potential of entrepreneurs to see & solve 21st century wicked problems, innovate new businesses that successfully compete, achieve exponential & sustainable growth in VUCA times.
- Creates the best environmental conditions for people across differing & diverse demographic & geographic segments to deliver sustainable & inclusive business developments that deliver a triple bottom line (people, profit & planet).
- Models & replicates how successful entrepreneurs lead & build entrepreneurial companies that accelerate access to new markets & ultimately become scalable, high-growth businesses, within collaborative eco-systems.
Taking collective action
Achieving this requires us to take collective action in questioning, rethinking, renewing & reinventing our habitual ways of working & doing business. Because, as prosperous individuals, teams & organisations, we can no longer afford to sit on our laurels.
We have the opportunity & perhaps, even the responsibility, to unleash our people’s innovation potential.
By collaborating & sharing new ways of maximising the “triple-e’s” education, employment & engagement, no matter where we are located.
In a world, where according to a recent McKinsey Report, in Asia today, there are more than 1.1 billion youth aged 10 to 24, which represents 26% of the total population where;
- 220 million youth are not engaged in education, employment or training.
- Among those who are, achievement is low.
- 36 million youth are unemployed, with another 300 million underemployed.
- This does not account for those in vulnerable working conditions (e.g., part-time work, jobs in the informal economy)
A pool of human possibility
The report states that “these numbers are staggering and it would be fair to argue that the world has never had a greater pool of human potential at risk” or is it a greater pool of human possibility?
To create a new pool of innovative entrepreneurs who can rethink, reinvent & renew their corporations, basic civil systems, communities & even their nations?
To become the “crazy ones who spit in the eye of the status quo” with compassion, creativity & courage, fuelled by a passionate purpose to make their dent in the universe. Which is what is necessary for creating equilibrium & a successful & more sustainable world.
My ongoing entrepreneurial learning journey
In my last blog I shared how shocked I was to see in my calendar that was exactly 30 years since I exited my corporate career. I outlined some of my many mis- adventurous occurring in the first ten years in the management consulting & learning & development space. I also shared details describing my first three learning’s as a serial female entrepreneur. So here is the next installment of my ongoing personal entrepreneurship story, outlining the next three lessons learned from being an entrepreneur.
From the second ten years 1998-2008
- Being accountable & holding others to account
Being an associate with Corporate Vision for over 12 years enabled me to develop & hone my corporate training knowledge, skills & experience across the culture, leadership & team development domains. It was an awesome learning experience, especially when we developed an innovative & experiential learning approach to training leaders in accountability in major Australian organisations.
It seems that accountability is a subject that everyone seems to talk about, yet finds difficult to define.
Yet, to be effective & successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to be accountable 24/7, especially in the early stages, when there is only self to rely upon.
This involves doing what you say you will, being trusted to keep your word & ensuring that others you count on, keep theirs. It also requires a certain type of boldness, deep integrity, strong intrinsic motivation & smart risk taking. As well as taking personal responsibility for delivering the desired outcomes, & applying milestones as guiding lights & score cards along the way.
- The power of team cohesion & collaboration
Whilst I was associated with Corporate Vision, I facilitated a vast number of team development programs, largely for IT business units, in a number of major financial services organisations. Being largely project based, developing diverse, cohesive & collaborative, & hard-core agile teaming skills were the critical success factors for effective project execution & delivery.
Because team leaders have a profound impact on their team’s ability to coordinate, execute & deliver outcomes, I focused on developing the most resourceful mindsets, behaviours, skills & practices of both the team leaders & members.
This involved applying a vast number of diverse team diagnostic tools & processes, providing both data representing quantitative measures of team effectiveness. As well as a qualitative assessment of the key messages driving individual & collective behaviours & their impact on performance. I then shared these results with the team & designed & delivered their customised blended learning journey. These incorporated adult & experiential learning methodologies that provided opportunities for team leaders & members to safely learn by doing.
I moved on from Corporate Vision & boldly established my own learning & development organisation, Compass Learning Pty Ltd. Initially, in collaboration with my experiential learning provider, Team Focus International, we co-created & facilitated a series of customised top team alignment learning journeys. Where we aimed at developing for our clients, the mindset & behavioural changes needed to create high performing leaders & aligned executive teams in ways that were ethical, sustainable & enduring.
Successful entrepreneurs understand & focus on unleashing the innovation potential & power of people. They develop an ability to work cohesively & collaboratively with others effectively. By candidly & bravely maximising differences & diversity, taking smart risks & by experimenting with doing things differently. They successfully engage, enrol & align people to collectively solve the intractable problems of starting a business, in the hope of satisfying a customer or user, anywhere, anytime, with anybody.
- Mindsets are foundational to any change process
Individual, group & team functionality is based on understanding and working with people’s underlying needs, values, beliefs & emotions. These are usually then expressed as thought & feelings & presented as a unique worldview or mindset.
Facilitating high performing teams involved co-creating clarity of purpose, agreeing roles & responsibilities, setting team goals & developing trusted relationships. Then developing effective team communication, decision making & problem-solving processes & habits for working together cohesively & collaboratively within a Team Charter.
To be successful, I noticed that I needed to calibrate & work with, at very deep levels, each individuals’ unique needs & values sets, & their varying ranges of emotional & cognitive responses to what went on for them personally, & in the team. I did this to ensure that people felt & thought that their contribution meaningful & purposeful, & could therefore align both emotionally & cognitively, to enact the Team Charter.
This made it easier to introduce & train teams in the necessary teaming skills, & also created the foundations for developing constructive team cultures, practising mutual accountability & improved performance.
Successful entrepreneurs understand & leverage the power of co-creating purposeful & meaningful work, by understanding the power of mindsets in creating powerful & constructive messages that engage & enrol people in change processes. They focus on quickly developing the most useful mindsets that enable & empower people to acknowledge & maximise differences & diversity & co-create, embody & enact a passionate purpose for change & cultivate entrepreneurship.
Being a congruent role model
Over these ten years, I deeply learnt what it means to be both a team leader & a team player, how to be accountable & how to hold the line in holding others to account. I also learnt how to design & deliver customised blended learning journeys for transformational leadership & top team clients that delivered what they promised.
Finally, my fascination with power & role of mindsets in change processes led me to play even more deeply in the transformational leadership, team coaching & organisational culture development space. To progress even further in the next ten years, in my most recent re-invention, as the Founder & CEO of ImagineNation™.
Watch out for my third blog in this series – the next ten years 2008-2018 & the continuing entrepreneurship journey & my next re-invention, through the creation of ImagineNation™ & my next 3 lessons learned from being an entrepreneur.
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