Results Factory Slides

Here is the slide show that friends at Logistik helped to put together based to a large degree on the work of Mark Friedman on Results Based Accountability... http://www.slideshare.net/mikechitty1/rba-results-factory-slides … [Read more...]

Here’s to the compliant ones…or why bolting on enterprise won’t work

Another afternoon talking NEETS and another bunch of folk who think that a few more entrepreneurs going in to schools to raise aspirations will make things better. It wont. Because for the vast majority of the time our cultures, in schools, councils and other machine bureaucracies actually teach a very different lesson. The celebration of compliance and subjugation to the system.  So.... Here's to the compliant ones The submissives The 'OK' folk The shapeshifters occupying the shape shifting roles The ones who see the reason of others They are fond of rules and the security of routine They can quote you, agree with you, glorify, and support you And, when you need to, you can ignore them. Because they challenge nothing, They don't push the boundaries And, while some may see them as automatons, we see them as gun fodder The people who will threaten nothing and will work for little more. … [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...]

Smart Lord Sugar…

Nice move by Lord Sugar to choose Tom Pellereau as his business partner.  Seriously nice move because Tom's skills complement those of the Lord Sugar rather than replicate them. So many people go into business with people who share similar skills, values and attitudes leading to a very lop-sided business indeed.  Perhaps half a dozen people who understand the product or service, but NONE who really love marketing, sales, financial management, compliance or governance. And I don't think that Lord Sugar is a product man.  At least not any more.  He is now a 'sales and marketing man' a distribution expert. Someone who can get products into the hands of the masses. I just hope that poor old Tom is given the chance to develop products that not only make him wealthy, but also make him proud and enhance the lives of the people who buy them. This would indeed be progress. … [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...]

Elsie is Born…

I seem to have been a bit quiet on this blog, while I have been doing other things, including pushing Progress School along, working on Collaborate Leeds and incubating a new idea which has finally found the light of day today: The Leeds Community Enterprise Accelerator or Elsie for short.  This provides a community based network of support to local enterprise coaches, advisors, facilitators, in fact to anyone who is helping someone else in the community to make progress. I have high hopes for Elsie in post Business Link austerity economy.  I think it will provide a sustainable high value model to provide practical crowd sourced enterprise support to those that most want and need it. Have a look at Elsie and tell me what you think. … [Read more...]

Enterprising Communities – Missing a trick?

One of my favourite frameworks for thinking about team work was published in a book called Dialogue by Bill Isaacs. The model suggests that if a group is to make progress it needs to have 4 distinct roles handled effectively. Firstly it need Movers.  These are people who float ideas, lead initiatives and generally make things happen. Spontaneous, action orientated and often extrovert - happy to put their ideas out there. In a community I often think that these Movers are akin to entrepreneurs. But a productive group also needs skilled Followers.  These are people who can take the energy and ideas of the Movers and build on them, add to them, take of the rough edges, put in the hard work and generally get the job done.  They are close to what Mike Southon calls cornerstones.  People who help turn the vision into reality. But in addition to Movers and Followers a productive group also needs effective Opposers.  These are people who are going to check the facts, collect the evidence and if there is an objection to be raised, they will raise it.  Constructively, powerfully and effectively.  They will skilfully play the role of the Devil's Advocate and if there is a weakness or a fault-line in the thinking they … [Read more...]

Enterprise Hub or Duck Farm?

I visited a really great community centre recently.  Busy, friendly, homespun, clearly doing great work in and with the community. We were using several rooms, one of which was called the 'Enterprise Hub'.  It was spotlessly clean, airy, spacious and well furnished, just like every other room in the building.  But for the life of me I could not work out what made it an 'Enterprise Hub'.  It was not set up for hot desking, there were no PCs, no mail boxes, none of the usual paraphernalia... So I asked the centre manager about the Enterprise Hub.  The answer surprised me - but it shouldn't have done.  They were looking for cash to modernise and re-decorate the room and in conversation with the local authority it become clear that the only budget with cash available was in 'Enterprise'. 'They said if we called it an Enterprise Hub we could have the cash.' I love the way this demonstrates the inherent enterprise of the community centre management team in tracking down the cash that they need to 'get the job done'.  I am less impressed  by what it says about some investments in 'enterprise'.  I can just imagine the report to the councillors about the new enterprise hub... I remember a colleague saying to me at the launch of … [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...]

High Growth and High Start Up Rates: Why We Shouldn’t Chase Them

Colin Bell over at Winning Moves picks over this old chestnut in his latest post. Should we throw our limited resources at businesses that we believe have high growth potential or should we just go for lots of start-ups knowing that a minority of them will experience high growth anyway? The plain truth is that both are equally foolish policy goals. We simply can't pick winners/high growth businesses.  So how do we know which to resource? And as Drucker said 'you can't have the mountain top without the mountain' .  High growth businesses emerge from a strong and vibrant enterprise ecology.  An ecology that is diverse, tightly knit and well connected (bridging and bonding, social and cultural capital). Focus on building the mountain and the top will look after itself. But please don't build the mountain by rushing to increase the start up rate. When we do this we just increase the failure rate too and that undermines aspiration and confidence.  So start fewer businesses, but make sure they are good ones, team starts, well thought through and researched.  Get survival rates into the 90%s after three years.  Not just survival, but successful.  Allow these small but significant success show the way to others. So set up … [Read more...]

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