2005 gone, 2006 coming - notes as a mentor for a few!
Boy has 2005 gone quick, ive not blogged in any careful way, i havent really got into any sort of flow, just the occasional random post but i will try harder for 2006!
This is a copy of an end of year roundup email i shared with some startup people that im fortunate enough to have mentored this year. I hope its interesting to you.
An email to ponder in a quite moment, once you closed for xmas and have a little free thinking time, i trust you get there!
If you are short of time now, don’t read this. You will find it distracts you by reading, thinking and responding.
If you have a few minutes but dont want to hear me babble on in order to challenge your focus, your creativity and your thinking then try this quick test and tell me what you find:
If you are still interested and have some time to think deeper, read on and enjoy the end of this year and the start of next!
Id like to use this email as a means of sharing some of my experience of 2005. Ive captured a few things Ive seen value in sharing with some of you individually at different time, so forgive my repetition . Why has Nick done this? So that you might share something in return that would no doubt help me (or others) to prep for 2006 and the next half of this very interesting decade. Do please feel free to do so!
In collecting and capturing your thoughts, i would not be surprised if you then find it helps with your own focus as well. Please feel free to send your feedback as an email (short or long), free form or embedded alongside mine, or if it helps please send me some specific feedback structured as per the attached. Im always keen to see how i help and can help further while fitting in mentoring into all my other priorities.
I address the email to a small group of people that i specifically know as mentees. I work and collaborate with many others (throughVP role at www.Fenestrae.com intermittent interim/advisory role at www.portraitsoftware.com , ownership of www.prestwoodpharmacy.co.uk sleeping partnership at www.rapidhost.co.uk chairmanship at www.chilterncruse.org) but i dont always go into their business in the way i have done with you.
What interesting, fascinating, challenging and sometime strange times we live in!!
From my mentor:mentee discussions this year: So many things in apparently diverse parallel universes; from IT to retailing, from training to health and lifestyle management, from online to offline, from people to profit. Universes of thought, action, inspiration, aspiration, perspiration, often unrelated but occasionally strangely connected. These business and social universes always inspire me to keep looking up, down, sideways, backwards, forwards, inside and out. Something that i think many small business people do so well.
Particularly as a mentor in a business context i have learned to think about business development in simple terms like:
Getting in; getting on; getting out – incubation2execution2exit..
vision-risk-reward-reality, energy and action.
supply and demand.
demand and supply.
Customers, consumers, agents for change.
visualise it, smell it, feel it, listen to it, see it, learn from it.
and all those other good old business clichés but the ones i really like that stick with me are:
Simultaneous loose tight properties.
Caring means being kind means helping people means being hard.
We were given one mouth and two ears, use them in that ratio.
If your going to do a job, do a job.
Investment of time, effort or money means invest.
The first important part of success is the decision.
Make a plan, then throw it in the bin.
Where did you say you'd be in a years time, show me, how did you end up here.
Time changes everything, Plan to change time.
Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important.
Situations and situational action and leadership.
focus focus focus, get that laser focused.
Emotion and emotional intelligence.
NOW spelt backwards = WON.
If your waiting for someone to tell you its ok, why are you waiting it probably means you know its not.
Now all that’s just words, you probably recognize me here :-), as a mentor I recognize you - good people striving for their aims and their goals to help make their own experience and the lives of people around then a better/richer, more effective, more dynamic world, moving beyond the definition of the past. In assessing our own; goals, reality, options and willingness to act, we grow.
Many other quarters, outside of our control influence us heavily either directly or indirectly. This last year it has been everything from Tsunamis and Hurricanes', from Iraq to live8, from birdflu and 7/7 to the desperate needs on our own doorsteps that shape our thoughts, actions, families and friends. Economically its been about numbers; interest rates, dollar rate, stock markets, pensions to name a few. In a truly apolitical way things are remarkably stable in spite of everything, especially if you think back long term and project forwards near team. I see the global picture in terms of viewing USA, China, India and the Eurozone, proven and largely predicted growth this year in spite of potential chaos from oil prices and other global issues. More local for me, keeping bigbrother interference out of business and the community is key, but having an eye for the macro and the micro is a challenge for us all. I often ask myself as a business owner, what is the environment that feeds and support business success, where do the people, their needs, their pockets come from? How do we all spread our spending, consumption and investment?
For myself, in business its been about innovation, cost of capital, cost of time, effort and resources, spotting or creating demand, people and profit, dealing with the detail while not wanting to be bogged down by it.
Thinking creatively, especially outside of mainstream business and thanks especially to the web, inspiration can arrive from strange quarters www.milliondollarhomepage.com (read this students blog from august day 1, to today) and http://www.bookofcool.com/index_flash_content.htm (check out the little blue bar second from the right, IF ONLY I could hit a golf ball or any other ball like that). Send me a link to one of your sources of inspiration!
I can get quite deep and also be quite dismissive on a number of fronts if im not careful, as some of you know from permitting me the time to listen and to explore and hopefully to discover with you.
In 2006 i will be aiming to discover, innovate and excite once more. With that comes learning and rewards. Its based on risk, on judgment, on information. Its also based on knowing that the most precious commodities are time, experience, information and just good old hard work. Picking yourself up and dusting your self down when a decision proved wrong or just to hard to execute, celebrating when you do deliver and achieve something important, however small or large, but most of all leaning that through time and focus the future does become clearer when we chose to make it so.
At this time of year i do reflect, i do make New Year resolutions and i do look forward to another precious year. Each year seems even more precious as i observe aging parents and my growing children, not to mention the ever widening spectrum of opportunities out there in business and the community.
As entrepreneurs you guys should know you are not alone, even though it can be lonely sometime. What you chose to do is brave, risky, hard work and never ending. So many other people are striving to do the same, the difference i see is that some choose to sail their own boat and not just ride along with others. Make sure you can spot the current and the rising or sinking tides. Some who are part of larger organisations know they are not there for the ride but to be the intrapreneurs, they are just as hungry for growth, learning, challenging success and freedom. What distinguishes them all in my experience is not that they plan, they do, they mange but that they lead. Personal self leadership is not a gift anyone can give to another at Christmas or at any time, its something you chose to build and run with. Sometimes its scary, sometimes it fun, sometimes it humbling but most of all its powerful when you dig really deep inside yourself and mentor yourself to do what you know you have held off of or not felt brave or capable of doing or prepared to plan for before. Sometime it means you ask for help, sometimes it means you confront or you challenge, you say no, you stop, or you just keep going knowing you are determined to win.
I thank you for reading this far, i only share this with you because im genuinely grateful for what i have got from the experience of listening and learning with you this year. Being a mentor adds an important dimension to my overall work as an employee, owner and free thinker.
Sorry to have used so many words, i hope you chose to read it because you had the time. If any of this has been valuable as i hope it has, a last little gift i have is one i value greatly myself and like many things i value it came from someone else:
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards" Soren Kierkegaard.
Let that drive your planning and learning in 2006!
I wish you a very happy Christmas and much success in the years ahead. I know you know that you will gain your success as ever by “defining it and being the definition for it” now and as you go.
Take care, win!
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