Success Built to Last

Success in the long run has less to do with finding the best idea, organizational structure, or business model for an enterprise, than with discovering what matters to us as individuals…For the most part, extraordinary people, teams, and organizations are simply ordinary people doing extraordinary things that matter to them.

Success Built to Last – Porras, Emery and Thompson

cited in Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland pg 120

Wally on Leadership

I regularly read Wally Bock’s blog.  He is always coming up with great insights and ideas.

In a recent post he reminded us that:

  1. Leadership is behaviour.
  2. Theory doesn’t count unless it turns into behaviour.
  3. Principles don’t matter until you incarnate them.
  4. If it doesn’t find its way into what you say or what you do, it can’t be leadership.
  5. Leadership is situational.
  6. One size doesn’t fit all.
  7. What works in one situation may not work in another.
  8. Your choices of what you say and do depend on the situation.
  9. If you aspire to leadership, understand that leadership is about actions measured by results in a specific situation.

Much the same can be said of management. I even agree with the situational nature of leadership – although I also believe that a single, simple management system can provide the basics of good organisational practice in the vast majority of situations.  A system where you:

Thanks Wally.  You can read the full post here.

Personal e-mail and reflections on transformation, humanity and compassion!

I got  a wonderful e-mail this morning from an old friend, Jim McLaughlin.

In it he said:

I love this marriage of science and heart.

It’s where the human potential movement meets good organisational practices.  In fact, if people in organisations were enabled to be their best human selves – loving, forgiving, caring, open, courageous – there would be wonderful organisations.  But somehow we change the rules of what is expected when someone brings their work self into the office/hospital/factory.”

Now why didn’t I put it like that!

One of the real sources of advantage is the ability to retain humanity and compassion while developing excellent organisational practices.  However this is a trick that many organisations with ‘transactional’ rather than ‘transformational’ cultures have managed to miss.

On a good day I would like to think that the compassion and humanity that attracts so many of us to third sector would make this transformation trick a straightforward one to play.   However the evidence suggests that many organisations in third sector quickly become as transactional as so many of their private and public sector cousins

Thanks Jim!

Demos Enterprise Report

Demos have just published a collection of essays on the future of enterprise from contributors such as:

  • John Bird
  • Tim Campbell
  • Peter Day
  • John Elkington
  • Gordon Frazer
  • Howard Gardner
  • Peter Grigg
  • Martha Lane Fox
  • Jim Lawn
  • Raj Patel
  • Carl Schramm
  • Simon Woodroffe

As DEMOS say in the blurb for the report:

Enterprise is all too often associated with making money. Yet, there is so much more to it: enterprise is about creating a culture of initiative, creativity, risk-taking amongst young people and adults. It is about using entrepreneurial energy to drive change.

Britain is doing well when it comes to enterprise.

More people are trading on Ebay than ever before and TV programmes like the Dragons Den and the Apprentice are extremely popular. Small firms and individual entrepreneurs also greatly contribute to the British economy and dynamism.

But is there more to it?

This collection argues that a successful and thriving enterprise nation will have to go much further than that. The future face of enterprise is one that will need to start at home and at school; that will be found in basements and small offices as well as in big corporations and the web. It will require new skills and new talent to answer to the challenges of tomorrow. There is already a strong desire among young people to use their ideas for change, but more needs to be done to cultivate the mindsets and foster the support that tomorrow’s entrepreneurs will need if young people are not to be discouraged from trying.

This collection of essays articulates some of the key features of the future face of enterprise. Progressing this thinking into ideas for action is the next challenge.

You can download the report here.

Bill Strickland at TED

‘Make the Impossible Possible’ is a wonderful book by Bill Strickland. You can hear Bill talk about his experience in engaging communities in enterprise and creating transformation results by watching the video here.

NB it is about 30 mins – but well worth a watch!

People Do Not Resist Change

  • People do not resist change.
  • Nor do people hate it.
  • They do not fear it either.

If you are trying to lead a change process and are experiencing resistance, hatred or fear of change consider this:

It is not change that people resist/hate/fear.  It is the way you are trying to change them that they are reacting to.

They are not the problem!

Ideas and Opportunities are NOT the Problem

Business opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming along – Richard Branson

At least that is the case if you are already ‘enterprising’.  Then the main problem is to stop the flow of opportunities and ideas long enough to make disciplined progress on any one of them.

However if you have been born and brought up in a struggling community there is a fair chance that the way you see the world makes it almost impossible o recognise ‘opportunities’ other than those that everyone else in your peer group recognises – the military, shelf stacking, alcohol, benefits, crime etc.

Your own self image may mean that ‘business opportunities’ are either not identified – or are quickly dismissed (‘I wouldn’t have what it takes’, ‘I would only mess it up’.)

Engaging those who are not yet thinking of themselves as enterprising or capable of learning the skills of enterprise is a major challenge in using enterprise in community transformation.

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Reading Group

There is a lot of stuff being written about enterprise and entrepreneurship at the moment. And there is a lot of stuff that was written years ago that still holds valuable lessons.

I am starting an Enterprise Reading Group for people who like to read the enterprise literature and find ways to apply what they learn in their own practice. ERG will help this process by:

  • developing a book list of relevant and powerful texts
  • providing an online forum where readers and practitioners can discuss a book – on a chapter by chapter basis – and share insights, experiences, questions and answers in relation to the books
  • hosting real meetings where the key ideas in each book can be discussed and developed.

I have already set up the online forum featuring the first four books which are:

You can find out more about each text and purchase them online by clicking the titles above. You can join the Enterprise Reading Group through the online forum. It is a completely free service so please do get involved.

If there are other texts that you would like to discuss please do let me know and I will add them to the repertoire.

Please use the comnets box below to ask any questions or give feedback about the idea of the ERG.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Mike Chitty