Being an entrepreneur always takes me into interesting and often unexplored territory. Most recently, after the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos drew to a close, Martin Reeves, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Director of the BCG Henderson Institute shared his reflections of the event with the Boston Consulting Group. Whilst discussion trended down global economic growth, they also elevated risks on a number of fronts, spanning the whole system, in the context of technological & economic risks, as well as societal and the planetary risks. Whilst most of the risks discussed were not new, and most well known, and some even have well-defined solutions, those that don’t require businesses to retool to win in the next decade and lead in the digital age:
“But most of them require collaboration and collective action. While we might once have depended on governments for this, business now needs to be part of the solution, given fractious politics and social division”.
What does this mean for business?
Supplementing the lessons learned from being an entrepreneur, is a summary of the six imperatives that business leaders need to focus on to retool to win in the next decade ;
- Resilience to cope (flow, adapt and grow) within a VUCA global economy.
- Innovation and vitality (agility) to create differential growth against a backdrop of declining aggregate growth.
- Being trustworthy, including by self-regulating and/or embracing government regulation, and by adopting good practices for algorithmic and data governance, (and how they interact with people).
- Being purpose-driven and inclusive, by clearly articulating the social value of their business and addressing increasing social division in many countries.
- Adopting sustainable business models (people, profit and planet).
- Be proactive and collaborative in creating and contributing to collective solutions to these challenges.
A new leadership agenda to retool people for the next decade
Considering that the future competitive environment will look very different from what it is today, business needs to evolve to embrace new technologies. According to another recent BCG “Winning the ‘20s” article, they also need to reshape their external relationships, organizations, and approaches;
“When the 2010s began, the world’s ten most valuable public companies by market capitalization were based in five countries, only two of them were in the tech sector, and none was worth more than $400 billion. Today, all of the top ten are in the US and China, the majority are tech companies, and some at least temporarily have surpassed $1 trillion in value”.
Stating that to stay ahead of the key trends impacting these types of changes, leaders need to question their current assumptions and retool their companies for the coming decade.
After reading and digesting these two articles, I realized that my ongoing personal entrepreneurship story, that I have shared in my last two blogs, have landed in this exact same space.
In my last two blogs, “Surviving and thriving in the entrepreneurs game”, and “Reinventing the entrepreneurs game” I highlighted the 6-key lessons learned from being an entrepreneur, to help people retool to win in the next decade.
Including the importance of;
- Making fundamental change choices.
- Clarifying, enacting and embodying a passionate purpose.
- Constantly re-educating and re-inventing yourself to take responsibility to manifest the results you want.
- Being accountable and holding others to account.
- The power of team cohesion and collaboration.
- Mindsets are foundational to all change.
Here is the final installment of my ongoing personal entrepreneurship story, describing my next three lessons and how they might also apply towards retooling to win in the ’20s.
The third ten years 2008-2018
As I outlined in my previous blog, my fascination with power and role of mindsets in change processes led me to play even more deeply in the transformational leadership, team coaching, and organisational culture development space. Which initiates the final set of three lessons learned from being an entrepreneur.
At the end of 2006, I found myself, at MIT, in Boston, attending the “Presencing: Collective Leadership for Profound Innovation and Change” five-day workshop. It was hosted by SOL (Society for Organizational Learning) and presented by Otto Scharmer, Peter Senge and other key people involved in the development and evolution of Theory U and Presence.
- Pay attention and be present to openings for new possibilities
This profoundly deep experience created “cracks” in my assumptions about change, leadership, and culture. It opened the doorway, and create the threshold towards retooling myself for the coming decade. As well as the importance of strategically applying innovation as a lever for competitive success in a VUCA world.
Having always sought creative ways of fast tracking a client’s consciousness, presencing concepts, incorporating emergence and mindfulness principles, ultimately created new pathways and a core toolkit for connecting, exploring, discovering and designing new ways of being, thinking and doing. This amazing learning journey took me to Mount Abu, in Rajasthan, India, where I reconnected with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, through my participation in a range of Emergence and Peace of Mind Retreats, at various stages, over the next ten years.
I learned to deeply appreciate the power of retreat and reflection, stillness and silence, observation and immersion, connection and attunement, attention and intention.
All core elements of authentic and resilient leadership in VUCA times.
I continued evolving this dense, philosophical way of opening my mind, heart and will to sense and perceive new ways of being, thinking and doing, experimenting with facilitating leadership retreats and adapting the concepts, principles, and techniques to my ongoing work at Compass Learning.
- Deep learning involves letting go of the old to allow the new to emerge
Only to find myself once again, embarking on yet another deeply transformational experience, when my husband and I, along with our two small dogs, and the pussycat, along with all of our earthly possessions, relocated to live in Zichron Yaakov in Israel, where we resided for the next six years.
Arriving in Israel in 2010, I faced a series of harsh new realities which defied & challenged most of what I had been taught and experienced about high-performance organizational cultures, leaders and teams. Aptly illustrated by Dov Frohman founder of Intel Israel in his book “Leadership the Hard Way” where he states that “leadership in today’s economy is a lot like flying a plan through a thunderstorm”.
Which has since become the perfect metaphor for the resilience required to cope, flow, adapt & grow within a VUCA global economy.
Where else better to learn how to do this, than in a country that is in a permanent state of VUCA, yet at the same time, a global role model of start-up, innovation and eco-system success!
I found that its success as The Start-Up Nation and its ascension in The Global Innovation Index defied most of the consulting, culture, leadership and coaching models I had learned and had been attached to.
I knew that to allow the new to emerge, you have to let go of the old.
Ultimately, I managed, not without a lot of difficulties, to let go of almost everything I knew and had practiced throughout my professional career. I set about completely re-inventing myself by massive amounts of reading, field researching, learning, interviewing, networking & debating. I sought to understand, decipher, integrate and generate new approaches to developing innovative organisational cultures, leaders, teams and coaching within a holistic innovative business eco-system approach. Incorporating the lessons learned from my Israel immersion in being an entrepreneur.
- Experimentation allows you to fail fast to learn quickly
Once I managed to clear the fog of disruptive change that had settled into every fibre of my being, I realized that I had landed in completely new and radically different innovation and entrepreneurship space which totally fascinated me.
I sailed voraciously around in the volatile, uncharted waters that this amazing learning journey took me on, with its high emotionally, cognitively and viscerally challenging peaks and deep troughs, involving a range of horrible failures along with the odd triumph. Whilst not intending to, I became an Israeli start-up entrepreneur and founded an innovative global consulting and learning company called ImagineNation™.
Where I sought to invent new non-prescriptive, adaptive and innovative ways of disrupting prevailing leadership, culture, coaching, and corporate learning paradigms. To devise creative and innovative ways for organisations, manager, leaders to learn, adapt, take risks, lead and thrive in this bewildering VUCA environment.
This made ImagineNation™ the first global learning company to research, decipher and replicate the “secret sauce” behind the hugely successful and enviable Israeli innovative culture and entrepreneurial start-up phenomena and lifestyle. Largely built on the lessons learned from being an entrepreneur over three decades.
ImagineNation™ has evolved, over the past six years, through constant experimentation, massive failures, iterations, and pivots as a global eco-system of expert people. Who retool to win in the next decade by unleashIng breakthrough mindsets to help companies, change, innovate and win through the use of our twentieth-century tools and OGI® (Organizational Growth Indicator).
As innovation thought leaders, we help people and companies grow through disruption (as we ourselves are constantly doing).
Closing the loop – enabling businesses to be part of the solution
In the end, it’s all just about making a fundamental choice to shift your way of being (mindsets and moods), thinking and acting, to create the groundswell by unleashing new possibilities for positive change.
By boldly taking the risks necessary to manifest the results you want, and to be accountable and hold others to account to achieve them.
Retool to win in the next decade
To then retool to win in the coming decade by knowing how to fly your organisations plane through the thunderstorm emerging in the ‘20’s by radically rethinking work, to maximize peoples collective intelligence.
By being willing to retool to win in the next decade by embracing the lessons I learned from being an entrepreneur and:
- Bravely open your minds, hearts and will towards letting go of the old that is no longer relevant to people, organisation, society, and the planet. To create an empty space for the new ways to emerge to contribute towards co-creating collective solutions to the range of global challenges.
- Adopt and merge your sense of urgency and determination, passionate purposefulness, conviction and resilience of authentic entrepreneurship with the emotional integrity, candor, creativity, compassion, and courage of authentic innovative leadership.
- Integrate cohesive, trusted relationships, cultivate inclusiveness and collaboration of effective teams through teaming and networking. Through experimenting with agility shifting principles and start-up methodologies that facilitate agility and speed, and the development of sustainable business models.
Find out about The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate and deep personalized learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting October 22, 2019. It is a deep blended learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles & applications of a human-centered approach to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more.