I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.
I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure. As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.
The V&A Museum opened in Dundee in 2018, design by Kengo Kuma
Today am inspired by a conversation this week about brave thinking and big ambitions.
I love to work with brave leaders. One of the four characteristics of people who choose to work with me (see the BeMoreYou page) is that they are brave. At it says on that page:
Be Brave. Bravery means you’re open to being uncomfortable, to stretching, as that’s where the growth lies. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re playing it too safe.
Bravery is a virtuous circle. When you embrace your full potential (discomfort and all). Your vision becomes clearer and your confidence increases, even in the face of uncertainty.
So, let’s talk today about some examples of Brave Thinking leading to Big Ambition for organisations and businesses. May it inspired your own brave thinking and help you conceive and achieve your big ambitions for yourself, for your organisation. (more…)
Some time ago I wrote on this site a piece around Adam Grant’s book “Give and Take”, writing:
“what I do is look for ways to help others. I have interesting conversations with interesting people, explore, flow, and always look to find some way to be of value to them, whether it is by co-creating with them, or perhaps by connecting or introducing them to an idea, person, concept, story or simply a book.”
This week in Edinburgh I met up for coffee with a daughter of a dear friend. Last year my friend had asked me if I knew anybody who might be able to help her get a job after graduating from university. I introduced her to someone and the story moved on from there. Today she thanked me for something that came from that which was quite unexpected, so had me think back on Adam Grant’s concept of Givers, Matcher and Takers, and also to consider again the value of thanking the givers in our lives. (more…)
““..entrepreneurialism can’t be taught and the library full of books attempting to teach it are a waste of time. Short of travelling back in time and putting your childhood self through some sort of trauma you cannot ‘become’ an entrepreneur.”
This week I find myself working with a client leadership team looking to lead transformative behaviour change in their government department.
What they need, at some level, is entrepreneurial thinking, but if Mike is right (and I do agree with him), what can be done to support them around change? (more…)
Economics is a notoriously unreliable science for predictions. My take on this is that this is due to Economic forecasting being based partly on empirical numbers (which can be quite well predicted), but also on human behaviour, and there is the rub.
As a favourite saying goes, “business is simple, people are complex”, and human behaviour (aka “consumer sentiment”) drives so much of economic activity.
So, today an example of a central bank looking to influence consumer behaviour around inflation. (more…)
Sometimes we want it “now!”, other times we are prepared to be patient in building something, whether an actual structure, a business, a culture, whatever it is we are building.
Now, strong intuition and feelings can have that “NOW!” feeling be strong in us, we then look to rush to action, to take advantage of that feeling.
Imagine an entrepreneur who just KNOWS that there is an opportunity they have to take right away. That can bring powerful energy to drive everyone involved forwards to make that vision a reality.
However, such “in a rush” energy does tend to be a relatively short term energy and not sustainable. It is what is called “Startup” energy in a business, it won’t sustain the business for the long run (see my recent post on toxic culture at Revolut, a FinTech business still driving staff really hard years after startup).
So, we know that to bring something sustainable, we may need to be patient and take our time to build a firm foundation. As I wrote about yesterday, by conscientiously focussing on the elements of that foundation, we can choose to be “building to last”.
So, are we sometimes in a rush? Yes
Can that bring powerful and positive energy? Yes.
Is it also important to build to last and create sustainable energy? Yes.
How can we do both then? Ah, that is a question!
One early morning this week I drove across Grand Cayman, observing changes fast and slow, which had me consider the answer to that. (more…)
This week I am back in Cayman and, for the first time in a long time, am staying at The Reef Resort, this the view from my room at sunrise as I awake on my first morning here.
It is an odd feeling to be here, not simply Cayman, where I have spent most of my adult life, but to this resort that I have such a long association with, dating back well over twenty years to when it was only an idea. This has me ponder on:
What do we create in our work and do we truly build to last?
“..entrepreneurialism can’t be taught and the library full of books attempting to teach it are a waste of time. Short of travelling back in time and putting your childhood self through some sort of trauma you cannot ‘become’ an entrepreneur.”
The 17th and closing tweet in a thread posted this week by Mike Driver of Convex.
In short, Mike’s Twitter thread is concise, incisive and brilliant. Yes, it concludes that entrepreneurialism can’t be taught (so don’t bother trying to learn how to be an entrepreneur as an adult), but in his thread, he explains where it comes from.
As I put it in when sharing his thread onwards on Twitter:
“deep thinking around source from evidence in practice, allied to comprehensive and wide-ranging reading around relevant topics. Aligns closely to my own findings with many hundreds of entrepreneurs”
Today I’ll share his tweet thread (presented as a short opinion piece in this post for ease of reading, as well as my thinking around why I use Twitter.
Please read it.
Oh, and if you are thinking of embarking on a course of study on being entrepreneurial, don’t 🙂 (more…)
Today I am reminded of the difficulty of seeing ourselves how others see us and the power of critical thinking both for that and to truly see and understand others.
These are universal challenges for each of us. For those who lead others, the “self-leadership” part is at the core, then the layers and dimensions simply expand, to the people in our organisation, the values, beliefs and cultures consciously and unconsciously present. The opportunities for understanding and exploring are endless as we then look at societal, systemic, structural issues.
For this reason, we often look to understand such issues through philosophy and also art, including writing.
Today I’ll share teachings from this from two great authors, David Foster Wallace and Robert Burns, I hope this supports you in looking at what you can do to see yourselves as others see you, as well as to look to understand and see others more clearly. (more…)
Earlier this year I wrote “The fish rots from the head“, sharing my experience over the years that toxic culture starts from the top, that:
“People observe their leaders, so no matter how much money is invested by HR and LnD in people, if the leadership are not, well, leading in their behaviours, all of that money invested is wasted. Change must come from the top as well as from all levels within.”
Well, folks, let me introduce you to Nickolay Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut, a terrific example and lesson leaders can learn from.
His business has hit the headlines this past week with an exposé from Wired magazine on their hiring practices, but they hit my “rotting fish radar” some time ago by the CEO’s attitude in press interviews. Let’s explore. (more…)
When my two oldest sons were very young, one summer we visited great friends in Norway. One day my friend and I took his two sons and mine, all aged between about 3 and 8, for the over two-hour drive from Oslo to their cottage on a lake for an overnight trip.
It was a wonderful trip, but on the way back the boys were bored. My friend asked them to pick a colour. They chose blue. He then asked them to count all the blue cars they saw.
Amazing how many blue cars you see when you are looking for blue cars.
Today a story about the word beautiful as it relates to business and seeing it when you are looking.
Also a thought around the power of having a focus word like Blue, or Beautiful.