Olympic Gold – It all starts with a dream….

Shaa Wasmund is a renowned enteprise guru whose own achievements both as an entrepreneur and as a provider of enterprise support have massively outweighed my own.   Shaa asserts that... Every athlete once had a dream to stand on an Olympic stage. But, they didn’t just talk about their dreams, they put in the hours, hard work and dedication to make them a reality. They gave all they had for one moment in time. In my experience many who achieve excellence entered their field because they loved it rather than because they wanted to stand on an Olympic podium or to be a millionaire before they reach 30.  Sometimes it IS the big dream that allows you to put in the hours of dedicated effort.  But much more frequently it is the hours of dedicated effort that eventually allow you to dare to believe in the big dream.  Most of us, to begin with at least, were not motivated by thoughts of winning on the big stage, but by pursuing our interests and exploring possibilities.... Our progress is driven by the dedicated development and exploration of passion and identity.  A journey that often begins with no real clarity over where it might lead, or how far it might go. I think this openness to journeys that start in different … [Read more...]

Smile or Die – Why I don’t subscribe blindly to the school of positive thinking

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo … [Read more...]

Bonsai People in a Bonsai Culture?

Bonsai = An ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot and artificially prevented from reaching its normal size The bonsai is not a genetic variant but has within it the potential to become a fully grown tree.  However it is carefully cultivated to meet the demanding requirements of the gardener.  It is fed few nutrients, kept in shallow soil, not allowed to form deep roots, continually pruned and kept 'in proportion'; shaped to the precise requirements of the gardener and the specifications of their profession. Bonsai People Bonsai people have had their development limited, distorted and shaped by the influence of their environment rather more than it has been driven by their own potential and aspirations.  To an extent we are all Bonsai People.  But some people have been more bonsaid than others. And some seem to be very content with their bonsai nature.  While others are frustrated at the sensation that there must be something more in them than this. Yesterday I was on the phone with Rich Huxley and we were talking about developing musicians. I told him of a mentor in Leeds who had boasted to me about how they had worked with a 14 year old boy whose ambition was 'to be the best bass guitarist in the world' … [Read more...]

Enterprise Education Without Enterprise Educators

http://vimeo.com/40000072 … [Read more...]

The business of human endeavour…

For a long time now I have had real concerns about the focus of policy makers, and the projects that they spawn, on 'enterprise' and 'entrepreneurship' as being just too business oriented.  It is as if the only fields of human endeavour that matter are commerce of some kind.  Making money or fixing societies ills. This is especially un-nerving when you see it played out in our primary schools as 6 year olds are encouraged to wear badges that proclaim them be a 'Sales Director', an 'Operations Manager' or a 'Brand Executive'. Yuk! What about all of those other great fields of human endeavour? Climbing mountains, making art, having fun, playing sport, writing, cooking and so on. What if we encouraged our 6 year olds to wear badges that proclaimed them to be 'Footballer in Training', 'Ballet Dancer under Construction', 'Surgeon to Be' or 'The Next Michael McIntyre'?  OK, so perhaps we don't need another Michael McIntyre.... but you get my point? Because what really matters is not exposing more people to the world of business and entrepreneurship.  It is to get them imagining possible futures, and learning how best to navigate towards them.  It is about developing people with a sense of agency and influence over their … [Read more...]

Stating the Bleedin’ Obvious…(unless you are policy wonk or their lackey…)

Not every small business or micro-enterprise owner needs a mentor. Mentoring is NOT the only helping relationship. Good mentors are rarely trained in 'mentoring', nor are they picked from a register. Successful mentors are usually selected from within the pre-existing network of the mentee.  They are spotted and developed as someone from  whom the mentee really wants to learn. Mentoring is an intermittent rather than a continuous relationship. Access to good mentors is usually restricted and respectful rather than a tradeable commodity. The success of the mentorship is usually down to the mentee rather than the mentor.  Good mentees know how to choose a mentor and manage the relationship with them to get the learning and the introductions that they need. The commoditisation of mentoring is not a good thing. Mentors are not coaches, advisers, consultants, counsellors or facilitators.  People looking to learn and develop themselves and/or their organisations should think carefully about the kind of 'help' they need. We should help people explore what they want to learn and how they are going to learn it - rather than prescribe yet another 'cure-all' that happens to be 'affordable'. We should focus our efforts on … [Read more...]

Towards the Enterprising Community

No-one can agree on a community.  Is it defined by political geography? Physical geography? Economic geography?  Interest, practice, culture?  So how do we use such an elusive, slippery yet, for some of us, attractive and powerful concept? Well, personally I have given up worrying about how 'communities' are defined by outsiders (politicians, funders, missionaries of various kinds, what Paul Theroux calls the Dark Angels of Virtue).  The only thing that matters for me is the individual, or the usually small group sat in front of me, and their perception of their community, defined their way.  Any other attempt to work with the concept for me is just hot air.  We all define community personally and, very probably, uniquely. But that does not make the concept useless.  Quite the opposite. I spend a lot of time helping people to look at the relationships and contexts that they are a part of and the extent to which they help or hinder them to become the kind of person that they wish to become, accomplishing the things that they most wish to accomplish.  And I will spend time working with them on how they can get more of the support that they need from their 'community'.  I spend a lot of time and energy building networks … [Read more...]

Breaking the Stranglehold on Enterprise

For a few years now I seem to have been living in Groundhog Day.  Not everyday, but enough to be disconcerting. I will be chatting with an enterprise professional, perhaps a lecturer in a University, an enterprise coach in a 'deprived' community, a start-up business adviser or a bureaucrat managing an enterprise project.  In our conversations about enterprise we will recognise how it is not all about business.  How enterprise can be expressed in a seemingly infinite number of ways.  Sure, for a significant and important minority, it is about commercial endeavour. Business, profit, and social impact in some combination.  In order to express their enterprising soul a minority have to start a business. But for the majority being enterprising, being proactive in pursuit of a better future, does not mean starting up a business.  It may mean making a phone call, having a conversation, calling a meeting or writing a letter.  Taking some action that increases agency and power in pursuing a preferred future.  It may be taking the opportunity to reflect on 'The direction in which progress lies', or 'What are the next steps that I can take to make progress?'  or 'What options have I got?' We will reflect on how some of the most … [Read more...]

Enterprising Communities: The Big Conversation

'Enterprising Communities: The Big Conversation' will bring together policy makers and practitioners to explore the challenges of developing and sustaining enterprising communities. Using 'Open Space' methodologies The Big Conversation will give you the chance to say what you need to say, exchange ideas with others and build your networks from across the UK. Topics for exploration might include: Enterprise - more than just business: enterprise for well being and community The competent community: the role of peers in supporting enterprise Fresh approaches to enterprise development: what could innovation in our industry look like? Opportunities and threats to enterprising communities: what are they and how can we respond? Enterprising communities: Do we know them when we see them? Connecting communities: the role of enterprise in building bridges between and within communities Enterprise and the economy: from enterprise to wealth creation. Sharing interesting practice: a showcase for innovative approaches. The Enterprising Campus: lessons for, and from, education The Coaching Community: can a coaching culture drive community? Is Capital still King?: the role of knowledge, social capital and finance in … [Read more...]

Dock Street Market – and the role of the Leeds communities

I went to a very wonderful opening for Dock Street Market last Friday.  It used to be a decent enough shop that had many fans and reportedly turned over a million a year.  But still it could not survive. Now the shop has been taken over by a number of local artisan producers and entrepreneurs, all of whom offer a phenomenal product.  We have fish and chips reinvented by the wonderful Fish &, excellent north Italian coffee and more from Bottega Milanese, superb breads from the Riverside Sourdough Bakery and more.  The people behind these businesses are phenomenally hard working and focussed on quality, service and value.  They are doing their bit to make the collaborative project a success. But my interest is in the role of the rest of us.  The fine citizens of Leeds.  Of the 700 000 plus people that live in the city, my guess is that the vast majority will not even know that the Dock St Market exists.  They are 'strangers' to the market.  Perhaps 10 ooo or so are aware of the market and certainly a couple of hundred rocked up at the opening last week.  These constitute 'prospects'.  People who know the market exists and may become customers. But customers so far, by definition, are a smaller group.  Having only … [Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: