global tribe Ed
Empowering existing and emerging young entrepreneurs to positively influence every area of life - culture, commerce, and community.
Why Global Tribe Ed?
John Sculley (the ex-chairman of Apple Computers) says, “In the new economy, strategic resources no longer come out of the ground. The strategic resources are ideas and information that come out of our mind.”
Time Magazine run a story headed, “Jobs of an Age of Insecurity”, that stated:
”On no opinion are the experts so unanimous as that the future belongs to the knowledge worker, master of his computer, fiber-optics whatsits, e-mail gizmo and whatever takes its place… a high-tech worker must be ready to go back to school and learn new skills on his or her own at a minimum of every five to ten years.”
- Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft Corp) in his book The Road Ahead says, “In a changing world education is the best preparation for being able to adapt.”
- Sir Winston Churchill: “The empires of the future will be the empires of the mind.”
What is Global Tribe Ed?
The Global Tribe goal is to build the new generation giving economy by resourcing young innovative workers and the entrepreneurs who will create it. Helping build a new economic system, with giving not greed as popular culture, and helping those living in poverty the new social norm.
1. Thinking Together - GT ED The idea is to build a learning community. Dialogue and digestion of Global Tribe ED materials is best achieved in a relaxed environment, interacting with others. This can be achieved out of a home, cafe, workplace or purpose-built space. Designed to bolt-on-to a school, university or Church curriculum.
2. Resourcing each other - GT SPACES A commitment by every partner to go beyond education to helping those in GT Entrepreneurs to achieve business profitability, or a healthy StartUP, and ongoing success.
3. Working Together - GT THE CURE To assist those wishing to help people living in poverty by connecting them to credible AID projects, as well as working together to educate young entrepreneurs and assist in the incubation of new generation business models in poor communities.
Global Tribe ED is also committed to introducing education in many other strategic areas in the future.
The Art of Business
This is a course that will introduce you to the major component-parts of the business ecosystem. The 7 Pillars as taught in the following course is not an end in itself but the beginning of an ongoing journey to master the art of leadership and innovation, in a community of humble learners. Beyond this course in the basics of the enterprise universe there will be a constant flow, through our GT ED Talks, of information and experienced mentors sharpening our wisdom and discipline in each area of the 7 Pillars.
The 7 Pillars of the Enterprise Universe are:
1. The Entrepreneur
What is an Entrepreneur?
How do they think, and develop?
2. The Customer
Who am I targeting?
How do I let people know what I have to offer?
How do I develop an online presence?
3. The Team
Who will help me?
How do I develop my people-skills?
When do I need employees?
4. The Law
What legal structure shall I create?
How do I protect my business idea?
What are employees rights?
5. The Money
Whats the bottom-line?
How do I do the accounting?
What about tax?
Whats makes a great manager?
Whats is the best way to structure my enterprise?
What operational systems do I need in place?
- The StartUP
How do I write a business plan?
Where do I find investors?
How do I go about buying an existing business?
The Art of Business Course - The 7 Pillars of the Enterprise Universe
This course, The Art of Businesses - The 7 Pillars of the Enterprise Universe, is for entrepreneurs wishing to understand the business universe. The reason for using the term Universe is that business is a universe of sorts, an ecosystem! The universe is a finely tuned balance of chemicals, systems and particles; many of which are still beyond the grasp of science. In the same way, business is a finely tuned activity; a balancing act of all the component-parts of what makes an enterprise tick. This course will introduce you to the major subsystems of business; The 7 Pillars of the Enterprise Universe.
These 7 Pillars lay at the heart of the Global Tribe Entrepreneurs strategy. If an entrepreneur wants to succeed they must first gain a clear understanding of what the business ecosystem looks like. The universe of this enterprise engine is complex, but an overview, or the basics, can be easily understood by learning the 7 Pillars, the component-parts of every successful business.
THE 7 PILLARS OF THE ENTERPRISE UNIVERSE ARE....
1. The Entrepreneur(s)
2. The Customer
3. The Team
4. The Money
5. The Law
6. The Manager
7. The StartUP
I have kept these 7 Pillars reasonably broad and philosophical so that this overview can be used in most countries as a way to gain a birds-eye view of the Enterprise Universe. Some things are universal, and increasingly so, but many of the laws and regulations are very different from country to country and community to community. However, the foundation principles or the basic’s of starting and building an extraordinary enterprise are universal.
Most countries have their own government website with more detail covering company law, tax law and business regulations.
How to Use this Material
Each of the seven pillars of the Enterprise Universe give the business architecture it’s strength and beauty. When you first study any subject you gain an overview and a knowledge of the subject, but you must fully soak yourself in it to develop a deeper understanding of how all of the component parts fit together. Finally, you must put it into practice in order to gain experience and grow in wisdom.
The best way to digest this information is done the same way that you would eat and elephant - slowly, one bite at a time!
- The GT ED Talk is the best way to digest the following material, in bit size amounts, with some exercises/projects to help the chunks go down and become a part of your thinking. Join the Tribe and receive our monthly GT ED Talk with notes.
- Digesting this information in dialogue with a friend or friends or in a group setting will help accelerate, motivate and apply your learning. The book below can be read through at leisure or simply join the tribe and receive it in bit-size- chunks.
- The material is also brought to life by simulating as many of our intelligent centers or senses as possible, which is the focus and style of the GT ED Talks. Interviews, dialogue, lectures, video, projects, coaching, mentoring and hands on experiences all help deepen our understanding and wisdom of a subject.
Character? and the Art of Thinking
Albert Einstein said, “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong, it is character.”
The art of being an entrepreneur is more about strong character, wisdom and discipline than skill alone.
Hard Work and Pain
On reading Ashlee Vance's biography of Elon Mask one of the truly great modern day entrepreneurs and the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, SapaceX, and Solar City you quickly see that his success is not about skill alone, but huge amounts of courage, persistence and pain. In the chapter on Pain, Suffering and Survival, Vance quotes one of the Tesla and SpaceX investors and Musks friends, he saw a man who arrived in the United States with nothing, who had a lost childhood...who had the ability to work harder and endure more stress than anyone I have ever met. What he went through in 2008 would of broken anyone else ...but He kept working and stayed focused.
You may be the most educated, knowledgable person in the world but without a strong work ethic and the disciplines of success, you could simply be whats known as, an educated fool. To be a successful entrepreneur you will experience extreme pain. Character is the steel-like internal strength to be able to withstand large amounts of pain. Great athletes must break through multiple pain barriers in order to reach another level. This is reality and it dose sucks, but the right kinds of discipline can turn into the pleasure of winning and a habit of success. However, once stretched you never go back to your original shape or size, you become a bigger person.
Working hard gives you a special kind of victory; self-control. King Solomon in his book called proverbs says, a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. In early times a city or village without walls was left unprotected and endanger of being overpowered and robbed, again and again, until they could rebuild the walls, which was a slow process. Disciplines of character, like building muscle or walls, takes time and hard work. Without certain disciplines in business we are at risk of loosing everything. We can have a number of these disciplines mastered, but have neglected one area, and bring everything crashing down. It all starts with us and our personal character and discipline, which then naturally extents into our business life.
Hard work also gives us another kind of victory, respect for other-selves. Self-respect comes from self-control and self-control is about self-leadership. Leadership over negative emotions, attitudes, voices and the multitude of interruptions that try to take us off course.
What is an Entrepreneur?
How do they think, and develop?
How do I come up with the big ideas?
What is Strategic Thinking?
How do they gain Wisdom?
What is an Entrepreneur?
The term entrepreneur is a loanword from French, and is commonly used to describe an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.
The term was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon as the person who pays a certain price for a product in order to resell it at an certain price, thereby making decisions about obtaining and using the resources while consequently admitting the risk of enterprise. The term first appeared in the French Dictionary "Dictionnaire Universel de Commerce" of Jacques des Bruslons published in 1723.
Over time, scholars have defined the term in different ways. Here are some prominent definitions.
- 1803: Jean-Baptiste Say: An entrepreneur is an economic agent who unites all means of production- land of one, the labour of another and the capital of yet another and thus produces a product. By selling the product in the market he pays rent of land, wages to labour, interest on capital and what remains is his profit. He shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.
- 1934: Schumpeter: Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services.
- 1964: Peter Drucker: An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities. Innovation is a specific tool of an entrepreneur hence an effective entrepreneur converts a source into a resource.
- 1971: Kilby: Emphasizes the role of an imitator entrepreneur who does not innovate but imitates technologies innovated by others. Are very important in developing economies.
- 1975: Albert Shapero: Entrepreneurs take initiative, accept risk of failure and have an internal locus of control.
- 1975: Howard Stevenson: Entrepreneurship is "the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled."
- 1983: G. Pinchot: Intrapreneur is an entrepreneur within an already established organization.
- 1985: W.B. Gartner: Entrepreneur is a person who started a new business where there was none before.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mother Teresa - The Definition of a Social Entrepreneur
I never saw myself as an entrepreneur, but when enough people tell you that thats how you operate, you begin to believe it. The naming of people however is not as import as the role of and the need for pioneers, innovators or servant leadership.
I started out as more of a social entrepreneur, initially developing a course called New Start Motivation for young people trying to get a job. This inspired a number of motivational type programs: Examination Motivation at a local University, a Radio program called High Voltage Thinking and a manuel with CD’s named the Success N Life Club. This lead to speaking engagements at a wide range of functions on a broad range of topics, from Thinking by Design, to Practical Business Skills, and the Art of Leadership.
My journey has involved a multitude of endeavors: Global Tribe aid work, reinventing community organizations and Churches, the Leadership of a Political Party - Future New Zealand, Romanian Child Aid, Body and Soul gyms, and the Global Tribe Cafe for young people.
Global Tribe Cafe was where this idea of Global Tribe Entrepreneurs had its genesis, as already mentioned with spaces for young people as a safe place to have-a-go at their first business. We gave them a space, mentors and a great environment in which to develop their ideas. This cafe eventually became funded by local government and the name changed to Zeal, which has now spread to many other cities throughout New Zealand under the leadership of a group of young social entrepreneurs far more understanding of youth issues than I do.
My involvement in politic’s helped me to understand the wider issues of living in community and developing an integrated vision for a healthy society. As a young political leader in our country I was invited to Washington DC, along with many other leaders from around the world, to a prayer breakfast with President Bill Clinton. This was an annual event started by president President Eisenhower to build relationships globally.
It was there that I heard the story of Mother Teresa’s visit to a previous Breakfast to speak on a platform with President Clinton, Hilary Clinton, and a line-up of the world’s greatest speakers and leaders. Apparently when this short, physically frail woman spoke, it had an impact and authority that no other speaker present possessed. She had an impact and authority greater than presidents because of her servant heart, and passionate love for the poorest of the poor. As she spoke, she shifted people’s priorities and carried such a potent level of love that it deeply affected all of those that heard her for the rest of their lives.
To Romania With Love
Spearheading a major paradigm shift in my thinking, was our initiative to help children suffering in orphanages throughout Romania. The result of twenty-five years of dictatorship under Ceausescu saw these children living under hellish conditions.
Late one Saturday evening, I reflected on what I had seen of the Romanian children on the BBC World News that day. Pictures of naked children covered in sores, huddling together like animals in cages splashing in their own excrement. I had only really caught a glimpse of these children while in deep conversation with family and friends at my parents’ house, however the images returned to my mind with huge feelings of both compassion and helplessness. I kept saying to myself “It’s impossible. What can I really do that will make any difference?” No sooner had I thought those thoughts, than the most powerful of emotions entered my soul. Feelings and thoughts that had a penetrating punch. I began to feel as if I was one of those children, amongst them, somehow inside their heads; they were saying to themselves “I wish someone would come and take away my pain. Why won’t they come? Could someone please come and help?”
This was not a passing fit of passive pity, it was a defining moment, a revelation of what the Creator sees and feels everyday. Emotions so cutting that the pain would not leave, echoing through my soul, forcing out the tears and moving me to aggressive action, shifting me out of the feelings of helplessness to becoming their advocate, and attempting to do my small part in relieving the pain of these children.
‘To Romania with Love’ was a mission that eventually resulted in a shipment of food, medical supplies, clothing, and teddy bears being sent. This was not without experiencing the extreme frustration of trying to convince people to take action and give a piece of their lives in the form of money or other provisions, taking some responsibility for what was going on in our global village.
I then led a team of twelve doctors, nannies, and volunteers on a trip to Romania to a large castle housing over 300 children to give what love, affection, or meaning we could. We flew to Amsterdam to pick up the supplies that the Dutch had donated, then drove for three days to find ourselves at the gates of the castle I had seen on the BBC World News. Because communication was impossible, we had no way of making contact with the orphanage and had no idea if they would let us in. It was madness looking back. We were hundreds of thousands of miles from home with no guarantee of entry.
On arrival I asked to speak to the doctor in charge, and was led through the chilling hallways of what can only be described as a death camp. The doctor was a gracious man doing his best, powerless and humiliated by years of watching helpless children die of all kinds of diseases, including Aids. With a few pain-killers as his only medicine, and little more than weak tea and soup for their daily diet, the doctor could do little but watch the children die or go mad. When he finally allowed us to enter, we found children rocking back and forth, softly hitting their heads against the walls to pass the time of day. Other kids were drinking their own urine from pots placed on the floor used as a kind-of-toilet. The effect was devastating and it made me feel sick to the stomach.
These children had no father or mother, and for years before we arrived they were caged and left naked in their cells that looked like pigpens. To add to their nightmare, the stronger, more aggressive kids would roam around, biting or smashing the other kids against the wall, punching and scratching them at will. I will never forget one day taking a group of kids outside the walls of the castle for the first time in their lives. We were visiting a group of dentists who had arrived from England to attend to the raw nerve endings protruding from the children’s rotten teeth. It was a sunny day; the sky was blue and the grass long and green. However these kids were huddled together in the middle of a field, obviously frightened by their new surroundings and afraid, not knowing where they might be going next. Their home was a picture of hell itself.
That day we talked through our interpreter to some older children who were complaining about a predator in their midst. A man who appeared to be in his late twenties, of rugged appearance who spoke to us with an arrogant tone in his voice was molesting them every night. I must admit that that night we plotted ways by which to kill him, which I guess wasn’t that charitable of us, considering we weren’t even going to give him a proper trial.
Although the orphanages throughout Romania had been equivalent to death camps, things were radically changing because of the international aid and huge compassion of truly outstanding people from around the world who had come to help. Every one of our team spent weeks, even months, in mourning after our visit, with times of deep sobbing and eyes filling with tears at the faintest memory of these children.
This experience radically changed the direction of my life. I firmly believe that every business needs to be involved with social entrepreneurs in the growth and development of our communities.
For over ten years, I joined friends to ride motorcycles across the deserts of Baja Mexico, a lot of fun, but also the catalyst of our involvement with building homes for families trapped in poverty.
Since then Global Tribe has moved beyond New Zealand into many of the poverty hot spots of the world, focused on assisting those humiliated by poverty. This was until the realization that the only way to make-poverty-history was to focus on the development of what I called economic engines or healthy small businesses at the heart of these poor communities.
All of this was only made possible because of a life long friend, Wesley Campbel, a truly great business entrepreneur, starting out in the United States with an unknown Rock Band from Australia and a few hundred dollars in his pocket. It was on the back of their global success that News Boys and many other bands promoted Global Tribe teams and raised money to help build houses for the poor of Mexico, Hatai and Africa.
It was Wesley that encouraged me to use the equity in my home to purchase my first commercial building. Something we eventually partnered on in order to house ZEAL, the cafe for young people mentioned earlier.
Like it or not, most great companies or community organizations where started by an entrepreneur, or in many cases more than one. This is the person(s) who plants the seed idea, establishes the root, and grows the initial fruit.
It is one thing to know all there is to know about business (marketing, accounting etc); you may even have the best product or service on earth, but without some basic disciplines, you are doomed to fail. The art of being an entrepreneur is more about strong character and discipline than skill alone. Characteristics such as being a hard worker, creativity, patience, perseverance, self-control, passion...
This pillar, The Entrepreneur, is the most fundamental issue to the creation of any enterprise, because it’s about the quality of character and the disciplines of the person or persons who lay the foundation and culture of the new enterprise.
So time taken to establish the person at the root of the enterprise, makes this the most important section of the book and the reason this section takes up over half of it’s content.
We need to focus on caring for the goose that lays the golden eggs, and not simply fall in love with the gold. Who we are is the foundation of what we do and how we will operate. Build the person and you build the business.
The creation of a great enterprise, no matter what it is, is more about character than talent, and about learning an art-form than acquiring know-how.
Albert Einstein said, “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong, it is character.”
How do Entrepreneurs Think and Develop?
So how do entrepreneurs think and how do they develop their thinking? Most businessideas fail due to wrong or incomplete thinking. Human-beings, like plants, grow or fail to grow, depending on their environment. For a business to succeed the entrepreneur must grow and develop in his or her thinking by planting themselves in the right environment. Remember you are the tree on which the fruit grows; healthy tree, healthy fruit! I have never forgotten what Warren Buffet, one of the worlds leading investors once said, he doesn't invest in great companies, but in great CEO’s. This is because he understood that the key to great and profitable companies was and is the art of leadership and the skills of effective managers.
An entrepreneur must master the art of thinking; however to achieve this we mush understand that it is not a purely academic exercise, but the product the right-kind-of-environment, in the company of experienced mentors and great teachers. Access to these kinds of people is often hard because they are often tobusy, so this is where the Global Tribe Innovation Cafe, online or in person can be helpful.
Strategic thinking is an art-form and a mind-set as much as it is a skill, and is based on large amounts of information. Information that must be gathered, ordered, interpreted and then applied.
Strategic thinking is another framework for ordering our thinking. It is where we take our dream, vision and mission and turn them into a plan of action. The art of innovation. Planning the future in light of present realities, resources, capabilities, contexts, customers, and obstacles.
A strategic thinker is an entrepreneur of sorts. The true meaning of the word entrepreneur is broader than its use in a business context. As already pointed out, it was coined by the French economist J.B. Say, around the year 1800; “The entrepreneur,” Say wrote, “Shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.”1 In other words, an entrepreneur creates a plan in order to use resources in new ways, maximizing productivity and effectiveness.
In business, community organizations, or our personal lives, strategic thinking has to do with taking what you have and making the most of it. It is taking our personal capital and using it more productively in order to generate a greater yield.
Strategic thinking is often associated with going to war. The formal definition of the word strategy has strong military connotations. A common dictionary definition shows that strategy is the science of planning and directing large-scale military operations, specifically of maneuvering forces into the most advantageous position prior to actual engagement with the enemy.2 It seems most dictionary definitions use a military reference. However, strategic thinking is not restricted to military action or even to business. Strategic thinking is used in sports, government, community organizations, and increasingly in planning our family and personal lives.
Building an Environment for Growth
In his book Alexander the Great’s Art of Strategy, Partha Bose reveals the secret of Alexander’s ability to think strategically. Love him or hate him, Alexander the Great (356-323BC) was arguably the greatest military strategist in history. “At the age of 20, he ascended to the throne of his father’s kingdom. By the age of 23, he had defeated Persia his nation’s greatest enemy. And by the time of his death, aged 33, his armies had conquered virtually the entire known world. Form the shores of the Mediterranean to the foothills of India, including the lands of modern-day Iraq and Afghanistan.”3
Alexander’s father Philip wanted his son to have a higher education than what was being provided. He wanted his son to be equipped with a mental framework that would guide him as a military leader and an empire builder. It was at this time that Aristotle was discovered and taken from relative obscurity to train Alexander and a selected group of young leaders. He was to train them to think. Aristotle had just missed out on the top job at Plato’s Leadership Academy in Athens, where he had studied and taught for over twenty years.
An amazing environment was built for him in the hilly resort of Mieza, just outside the Macedonian capital of Pella. “The school had on one side, a stunning view of the Thermaic Gulf… on the other, the wilderness. Bose describes this school: “Mieza on most days was a picture of sunny serenity, with cobbled pathways and shaded walkways where enclaves of students discussed Persian poetry or Greek plays. Botanical and zoological gardens had been built surrounding the school to cater to Aristotle’s interests in the biological sciences. He spent all of his free time categorizing plants and animals.”4He would then apply his discovers within nature to understanding the world of intellect.
Art of Strategy
Aristotle taught using Socrates method of engaging his students through the use of dialogues. Bose points out, “it was common, for example to see Aristotle come around the corner, leading a group of students deep in an intellectual dialogue”. Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once wrote: “If you tell me, I will listen. If you show me I will see. But if you let me experience, I will learn.”5 These future leaders of Macedonia were taught how to solve complex problems, practical decision-making, to think strategically, to accurately gather facts, and to recognize patterns within different types of problems. Aristotle taught these young leaders the art of strategic thinking which involved a number of crucial elements:
Strategic thinkers clearly define the dream, the vision, the big goal or key objectives. For Sir Edmund Hillary it was to climb the highest mountain in the world. For Neil Armstrong it was to walk on the moon. For Alexander it was to conquer the world, something that in modern thinking is unthinkable, and even detestable. In chess the aim is to out think your opponent by being a number of steps ahead, maneuvering them into check mate. In business the goal is to create something of value in order to make money. In many communities around the globe the big goal is to survive another day. The dream of still others is to help them survive. Peter Drucker the great business philosopher says, “Efficiency is doing the thing right, but effectiveness is doing the right thing.”
A strategic thinker focuses on doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time.
Aristotle taught his students how to frame a question in order to gather facts and discover underlying patterns or trends. One of Alexander’s key skills as a strategic thinker was his ability to seek facts and observe patterns within the information he received in battle. Bose reveals that he would “seek facts about a certain region from a diverse set of sources – from the meteorologist, agriculturalist, botanist, zoologist, civil engineer, hydrologist, historian… and then synthesize the facts so as to arrive at a point of view.”6
The central skill of leadership is the ability to gain an accurate picture of where you are now, and where you need to go. “Strategic thinking is the bridge that links where you are to where you want to be.”7 Max De Pree in his book Leadership is an Art, says, “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.”8 Strategic thinking means facing the hard facts in order to define reality and thus gain a clear picture. In the development of any strategic plan we must ask numerous questions. Questions such as: What resources do I have? What skills do I possess? What systems can I create? Where can I find the information or facts that I need? When do I wish to complete this project? What are the obstacles?
One of the templates I often use in the strategic planning process is what’s called the SWOT analysis. This represents standard questions starting with each letter of the word SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Treats). In every project I initiate, I use this process and others to help define reality.
Aristotle helped his students identify problems correctly and to search for underlying issues. He taught “that the world they would interact with, as rulers, governors and generals, was a complex world of people, feelings, perspectives, assumptions and biases. He had them build scenarios and work collaboratively with one another in shaping the future of their country.”9
He created real to life situations to test their problem solving skills and help them to think on their feet. Scenario building was a vital part of Aristotle’s transformative learning experience. The young students spent hours practicing what they had learned in numerous problem solving engagements that Aristotle had designed. They had to think through the implications of their actions three or four steps ahead and pin point their consequences. It is said there is no substitute for experience. True, but remember, all of those who are now experienced started out at precisely the same place of inexperience.
In order to develop and sharpen Alexander’s responses, Bose reveals that Aristotle, the facts guy, “would throw a continuous stream of facts and situations at him to see how he framed, adapted and solved a problem based on disparate, often conflicting sets of facts. He was taught to think about connections between facts, about soft points in the logic of an argument, and about what more information was needed.”10
Aristotle exposed his students to a wide range of disciplines. Although he specialized in certain fields, he designed an academic program that would keep them from forming a narrow view of the world. Alexander’s introduction to multiple disciplines lead him to write about 150 books on subjects as diverse as meteorology, metaphysics, physics and politics. Strategic thinkers are passionate about learning. In so doing create a larger data base from which to draw, when considering a situation, or making decisions concerning the future.
Aristotle created an educational environment of open and honest feedback. The key to gaining honest feedback from people is to create an atmosphere where people are unafraid to be open, to ask questions or put forward their point of view. Alexander and the other students understood that everyone and everything was open to criticism. Aristotle encouraged this because at Plato’s Academy in Athens he had felt stifled, not feeling he could speak his mind. People will shut down or disengage if they feel their ideas and opinions are not, at the very least, respected. A part of Alexander’s success was the result of cultivating a culture of ruthless honesty, where challenges to authority and ideas were accepted.
Alexander was taught to take all the time that he needed to plan before going to battle. Qualities cultivated by Aristotle such as analytical reasoning, self-criticism and intellectual honesty, built a culture of risk taking based on a platform of strategic thinking. Partha Bose reveals, “After capturing Elatea they sat tight for almost a year planning, preparing, and testing their next set of moves, but not attacking.” Michael Porter a professor at Harvard Business School once wrote, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”11 Strategic planning is where you pull all of the intelligence, facts, ideas, advice and scenario building, into a plan of action. This is where key objectives, long term and short term goals, time frames, lines of communication, personnel and budgets are established. The intention in this chapter was not to outline a system for strategic planning, there are numerous available on the internet, but to discuss the essential nature of thinking strategically.
In this case Alexanders father planted him and his associates in an positive environment for growth. This is why it is a vital part of the Global Tribe strategy to help entrepreneurs go beyond being simply taught to fish, to being planted with the right mentors and or support networks. This is the reason why it is vital to find a small team of friends or mentors to support you. In the GT Enterprise system we call this environment the Innovation Cafe; a small group of advisers/friends in constant dialogue.
Think by Design
How do I come up with the big ideas?
An entrepreneur is constantly looking at things differently, turning things up-side-down to see if there is an opportunity. They mix with inspiring, progressive thinkers who fearlessly discuss new ideas, new ways of doing things and of conquering new worlds. James T. Kirk from the original Star Trek series was an entrepreneur, describing the mission of Enterprise: "to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before".
Nature inspires us to think, to think outside of the box. If we do not question things in a constructive way we risk living in the darkness of someone else’s negative box. Living inside of the box is not always a negative thing, if we are in the right kind of box. For example the laws of aerodynamics are the only box to live in if you decide to go flying.
Thinking is a great gift, and tells us we are fully conscious human beings. If Jack in the box lived his whole life inside of his box, he would never have enjoyed the color and beauty of the world outside, or brought happiness to millions of children. Thinking about thinking will help to lift the lid on boxed-in-thinking.
One evening while bathingmy seven year old son Levi, he looked up at meand said, “Dad, do you like being you?” This was one of those deeply profound child-like philosophical questions. “Yes, most of the time,” I answered. “Do you like being you?” I asked. “Yes, yes, I do,” he assured me. It made me realize that a sense of wonder about who we are and the world around us is our ultimate wealth, the ultimate mindset.
Born in 1596, Rene Descartes was the French philosopher who created the phase, “Cogito, ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am.” This was his conclusion upon questioning his own existence. According to Descartes, his belief in his own existence was the firm foundation upon which he could build further knowledge or philosophy. My son was thinking therefore he was; he was an air sucking, food consuming, biological organism. In this statement, Descartes was describing the greatest gift of all - consciousness. He sensed his personhood, conscious of his own independent existence.
We are free spirits, contained within a magnificent body of flesh and blood. We are aware that we exist in a vast universe of stars, planets and other human beings; we are our own person, confined to our own body and not merged with everybody else on the planet. Imagine entering someone else’s body, like entering a room, and becoming instantly aware of their most intimate thoughts and feelings.
Consciousness is one of the great wonders of the universe. It is where self is seated and life becomes real. Where I become my own person, free to be me, free to create, and even free to destroy if I so choose.
Entrepreneurs think in color! At this stage it would be helpful to think-about-thinking. The key to the success of the entrepreneur is not so much in her or his outer world, as it is the inner universe of thinking.
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.
Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard, asks the question: How would someone from outer space, landing on earth, view the intelligence of the human species? In his book, Frames of Mind, Gardener outlines his “Theory of Multiple Intelligences1” which goes beyond the view that the standard IQ test is an adequate measure of a person’s intelligence.
In the movie A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe plays the part of the absent minded but brilliant mathematician John Nash, who clearly needed to develop his social intelligence. In one scene he approaches an attractive woman in a bar and says: “Listen, I don’t have the words to say whatever it is that’s necessary to get you into bed, so can we just pretend I said those things and skip to the part where we exchange bodily fluids?” With a slap around the face, he quickly learns that sex without love or friendship is not what she wants. 2
John Nash was highly developed in the area of logical and mathematical intelligence, but he was socially inept. To be educated in one or two departments of intelligence can leave us limited or incomplete as human beings. We can have a highly developed intelligence in one area of our lives and be totally under-developed in another. The IQ test only evaluates an individual’s ability in a few areas; mainly linguistic and logical-mathematical with some visual and spatial tasks included.
Gardner, in his groundbreaking book, draws from a wide range of research and outlines seven intelligent centers, that he believes better represent a more complete view of human intelligences. These are:
- “Linguistic Intelligence – the ability to read, write and communicate with words.
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence – the ability to reason and calculate, and to think things through in a logical, systematic way.
- Visual-Spatial Intelligence – the ability to think in pictures, visualize a future result, and to imagine things in the mind’s eye.
- Musical Intelligence – the ability to make or compose music, to sing well or understand and appreciate music, and to keep rhythm.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – the ability to use your body skillfully to solve problems or present ideas and emotions, displayed in athletic, artistic or building pursuits (dancing, acting, construction).
- Interpersonal [Social] Intelligence – the ability to work effectively with others, to relate to other people, to display empathy and understanding, and to notice their motivations and goals.
- Intrapersonal Intelligence – the ability for self-analysis and reflection… to contemplate and assess one’s accomplishments, review one’s behavior’s and innermost feelings… to make plans and set goals.” 3
This view of intelligence impacts the world of education and takes us from a preoccupation with Intelligence Quotient (IQ), to recognition of each person’s unique intelligence mix. We need to develop in all areas of intelligence; however, the reality is that we will learn and naturally become stronger in certain intelligence centers, more than others.
In their book on Accelerated Learning, Colin Rose and Malcolm Nicholl point out that, “In essence, this new way of regarding intelligence tells us that there are “multiple windows leading into the same room” and that “students can be approached and learn from a number of perspectives.” 4 This shows that our ability to see is not one-dimensional; it happens at a number of levels, in a variety of ways.
Levels of Intelligence
In Stephen Covey’s book, The 8th Habit, 5 he gives his view of human intelligence. This is similar to what I have already outlined and inclusive of most of the aspects discussed by Howard Gardner.
Each intelligent centre, Covey says, corresponds to the four parts of our human makeup: body, mind, heart and spirit. Mental Intelligence, he explains, is “our ability to analyze, reason, think abstractly, use language, visualize and comprehend.” 6 Physical Intelligence, according to Covey, is everything our “body does without any conscious effort. It runs your respiratory, circulatory, nervous and other vital systems. It is constantly scanning its environment, destroying diseased cells and fighting for survival.” “Doctors, he says, acknowledge that the body heals itself and that medicine simply facilitates it’s healing.”7
Emotional Intelligence he defines as “one’s self-knowledge, self-awareness, social sensitivity, empathy and ability to communicate successfully with others.” This concept has been popularized and developed by Daniel Goleman in his books on the subject of Emotional Intelligence, stating that, “emotions play a far greater role in thought, decision making and individual success than is commonly acknowledged…and that performance in all jobs, in every field, emotional competence is deemed to be twice as important as purely cognitive abilities.” 9
Finally Covey describes Spiritual Intelligence, pointing out that this area is becoming mainstream in regards to scientific inquiry. “Spiritual Intelligence,” he says, “is the central and most fundamental of all the intelligences because it becomes the source of guidance for the other three… Spiritual intelligence also helps us discern true north, truth principles, that are part of our conscience.” 10
Levels of Seeing
Ultimately, seeing, even physically, does not happen in the cornea, pupil, iris, lens or retina; it happens within our brain. The biological eye puts us in touch with the physical world. Seeing mentally has to do with our ability to reason, understand, think and analyze. When seeing things intellectually we say things like: “It dawned on me; I see it now”; “I understand” or “It’s as clear as day (or mud)!” This ability enables us to see ideas, concepts, philosophies, beliefs, truth and the thoughts expressed by others.
When talking about seeing mentally, both Gardner and Covey refer to left-brain activity. When talking about seeing emotionally, they are referring to right-brain activity.
At the mental and emotional level, seeing clearly is thinking clearly! Left-brain thinking has to do with orderly, logical, systematic, sequential, and the analytical processing of information. Whereas seeing emotionally involves right-brain activity and has to do with the creative, intuitive, imaginative, emotional, pictorial, artistic, musical, instinctive forms of thinking.
We need to understand that these four [or seven, as Gardner outlines] intelligence centers are not separate boxes; there is a crossover as they mesh and work together. For example, our self-image can begin as an emotional equation, then move to the level of our human spirit and become a spiritual force of either inferiority or confidence. A powerful emotional experience goes beyond the desktop level of thinking, taking root deep within our hard drive. Viruses such as inferiority can, if not dealt with, penetrate every area of our thinking with self-doubt and fear, just as confidence-building experiences can positively affect our thinking with optimism and courage.
Plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz, tells the stories of those that have under gone major face reconstruction, then on viewing their new faces insist that, “nothing has changed”. Friends and family may hardly recognize them, and point out the change, only to be told that they can see no difference. He says, “Comparison of “before” and “after” photographs does little good, except possibly to arouse hostility.”11 This shows that our physical ability to see can be blinded by our mental, emotional and spiritual state.
When it comes to understanding or seeing spiritual realities it can be difficult due to their invisible nature. Substances such as love, truth, conscience, faith, imagination, intuition, dreaming, hope, peace and wisdom; or negative forces such as fear, rejection, bitterness and anger, are all invisible and yet extremely real in our everyday experience.
To be a wise entrepreneur we need to understand how people tick, how we tick.
Thinking in Color
It has been said that, ”the eyes are the windows of the soul”. Look into the eyes of a person and you will see what’s really going on: happiness, sadness, joy, pain, insecurity and confusion. These windows do not only reflect the soul (mind, will, emotions and spirit)–the inside world on display–they also bring the outside world in through the most amazing portal on earth.
The transparent cells in the lens of the eye allow millions of image-carrying light photons to enter the cornea. The cornea is the primary focusing structure, the place where particles of light pass through the optical fluid on their way to be analyzed and then processed by the retina. Before the photons touch down on the photoreceptor cells of the retina, they must first pass through the iris, which controls how much light is allowed to enter. The iris has the ability to constrict or dilate, and gives the eye its blue-green-brown colors. It has 266 identifiable characteristics compared to the 35 characteristics of the fingerprint. The retina is paper-thin and only one inch square, yet it contains 137 million super light-sensitive cells. So sensitive, that the eye can detect one single photon of light in a dark room. On the retina approximately 95% of these cells are rods that have the ability to analyze black and white images, dim vision, night vision and peripheral vision. Then the balance of these cells is made up of seven million cones designed to analyze color images. When light first strikes the retina, a photon of light interacts with a molecule and is transformed into electrical signals – a process that takes picoseconds. A picosecond is the approximate time it takes for light to travel the breadth of a single human hair. These electrical images travel down the million optic nerves to your brain at approximately 300 miles per hour.
These highly intelligent cells of the retina take the optical image that enters upside down and turns it right side up, before transmitting the image to the brain. The retina cells achieve up to 10 billion calculations per second. Grant R Jeffrey in his book, Creation, points out that, “the retina acts as a type of film, receiving the actual image composed of light photons passing through the iris, cornea and eye fluid.” 1 Something he says “is more sophisticated in its design than even the most powerful electron microscope or satellite spy camera. For example, the most advanced film available today can differentiate between a range of one thousand to one. However, recent experiments have confirmed that the retina of the human eye can easily differentiate, and analyze, a range of ten billion to one.” 2
After all of the complex processes the eye goes through in order to deliver vision, seeing ultimately happens within the visual cortex of the brain – in full color. We have been designed to see our world in color – to think in full color!
Imagine a world where there was no color, only black and white. Where there was black and white fish, black and white plant life, a black and white animal kingdom, and black and white interior design. In countries where oppressive leadership exists it seems that everything from the physical environment to their mental environment becomes black and white or gray.
This is where we depart from discovering the wonder of the eye and discover how to think in color. To think in color has to do with creativity, hypothesis, design, innovation, new ideas, strategy, planning, and evaluation, possibilities, problem solving, instinct, humor, emotional intelligence, intuition, wisdom, empowering beliefs and analytical, critical thinking.
In contrast, black and white thinkers overindulge in cynical, critical or judgmental thinking. Edward de Bono points out that, “Critical thinking perpetuates the old-fashioned view of thinking established by the Greek Gang of Three” 3 (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle), based on analysis, judgment and argument. The Black and white thinker majors in this narrow way of thinking.
The Greek word for critical, is kritikos, meaning to judge. While judgmental thinking has its place, it is only one wing of the bird. With only one wing, our thinking will never truly get off the ground and may end up going around in circles. Critical thinking, as we will see has a part to play, but as de Bono notes, “our success in science and technology begins not with critical thinking but from the possibility system. The possibility system moves ahead of our information to create hypotheses and visions.” 4
This adversarial system of thinking is the reason we have developed a very judgmental, critical thinking society. Our media, politics, law and science search for truth through adversarial dialogue,” I am right and you’re wrong”–black and white thinking!
“Argument and debate,” de Bono points out, “are then seen as the proper way to explore a subject.” 5
Black and White Thinking
At a Methodist convention in the later part of the nineteenth century a young leader took the floor and shared his vision of the future. He told the ministers present that he believed that people would fly from place to place instead of merely traveling on horseback, a concept too far outside of the box for some in the audience to take.
A minister by the name of Bishop Wright stood to his feet and voiced his protest. “Heresy!” he shouted. “Flight is reserved for angels!” He went on to explain that if God had intended people to fly he would have given them wings. When Bishop Wright had finished his brief protest, he took his two sons, Orville and Wilbur, and stormed out. As incredible as it sounds, it was Orville and Wilbur Wright that several years later, on December 17 1903, took to the skies. They achieved four flights that day, the first was 12 seconds and the fourth lasted 59 and carried them 852 feet. The Wright brothers had built the first airplane, the Flyer III, and by 1908 flew 60 miles in less than 2 hours.
Black and white thinkers consider it their job to point out the problems within each new idea [or person] before considering the possibilities. Many black and white thinkers have made condemnation and higher criticism an art form. Black and white thinkers are often overdeveloped in vertical, left-brain thinking and carry an unhealthy prejudice, wrong belief systems, destructive cynicisms and bigoted attitudes. This can result in a distorted view of self and poor relationships with other people as they focus on faults before strengths.
Although this is a black and white view of black and white thinkers, it may help in identifying unbalanced, unhealthy thinking habits. Edward de Bono says, “This adversarial system is fundamental to western thinking traditions.” 6 We are culturally drowned in this system of thinking and need to unlearn the negative aspects of it. “If we trained a person to avoid all errors in thinking, would that that person be a good thinker? Not at all. If we trained a car driver to avoid all errors in driving, would that person be a good driver? No, because that person could leave the car in the garage and so avoid any possibility of error.” 7
Proactive, creative, design systems of thinking must be developed in order for our society to develop in a balanced way.
Systems of Thinking
To develop our thinking to a place of full color we need systems that help guide our thinking processes. Brainstorming, for example, is a system whereby all involved agree not to criticize one another for the common purpose of generating a list of new ideas or possible solutions. This system helps us to focus on and release our creative imagination without fear of rejection.
King Solomon wrote, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you think in black and white you will develop a narrow view of the world and risk becoming a judgmental, narrow-minded person. To think in color is not always the easy road, and requires characteristics such as humility, grace, honesty, openness, patience, and the courage to ask the hard questions.
Throughout this book, I will introduce many original systems that myself, and others, have developed. Thinking in Color is a system that I have developed in order to help us change gears between different modes of thinking. Using the base colors of yellow, green, red and blue, I have designed four gears for thinking. These gears help you to develop and work through all aspects of a new idea or problem.
Sculptors possess a range of tools for working their design into stone. Each tool carries out a defined function. They have learned to use each tool to get the desired effect. They are skilled crafts people who know which tools to use at any given point to achieve the big picture. In the same way, each color represents a tool in achieving the desired result. This system does not necessarily have a beginning or an end. You simply continue shifting from one mode of thinking to another until you have explored all your options.
Yellow Thinking – Creative Thinking
Yellow is the color said to stimulate creativity, thus it represents creativity in the thinking process.
Yellow thinking has to do with generating creative possibilities: new ideas, hypothesis, invention, humor, solutions and design. Many great ideas have been aborted due to critical and analytical thinking being introduced too early in the process. Yellow thinking is allowing ourselves to dream, to create and to imagine the new possibilities, to brainstorm what could be!
Cell phones, computers, cars and buildings; in fact every product or service in existence originated from a tiny seed idea in someone’s 3 pound brain. It was then designed, developed, tested, improved on, and then sold to you and I. We can fly around the world, travel to the moon, phone the North Pole, listen to the radio, turn on a light and read a book – all because someone had confidence in his or her bright idea.
To engage in positive, creative, optimistic, lateral thinking is to think in yellow. This kind of thinking is the starting point when it comes to problem solving or developing creative solutions. Often what people think to be their problem is not the real problem. Identifying the real problem will require thinking in yellow.
In his book, How to Think Like Einstein, Scott Thorpe identifies the kind of thinking that positioned Einstein for success. Thorpe shows that Einstein’s advantage, when he began work on relativity and the solution that ultimately became e=mc,2 was that he had a good problem. Many of Einstein’s contemporaries had been working on the same phenomena, but they were trying to solve a very different problem. Their problem went something like this: “How can nature appear to act that way when we know that it can’t?” They did not succeed. More experiments, more money, or more effort would not have helped. They failed because they were looking for an answer that did not exist. Einstein succeeded because he was working on a problem that enabled a solution. He asked himself: “What would nature be like if it did act the way we observe it to act?” This problem has a solution. Einstein found it and it changed our world.” 1
When facing a problem, creativity or possibility thinking is the best place to start. It often requires lateral thinking to identify or define the problem, so when it comes to problem solving, we are focusing our energy on the relevant issues. Albert Einstein points out “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” 2
Yellow thinking is going where no man has been before. It is thinking outside of the box; it is the generation of new ideas and the rearrangement of old ones. Thinking in yellow sheds new light on our fears and creates a way out, a different mindset.
Solomon’s father, King David, taught him not to subject his thinking to cynics, scoffers or mockers. 3 He warned his son to avoid the black and white thinking of the skeptics and critics of his day. The dictionary describes a cynic as a person who has little faith in human sincerity. In my experience this group of self-appointed judges have done little to help humanity. They are the dream killers, skilled at putting a negative spin on everything. Masters of putdown, they critique our lives for what they haven’t been, aren’t now and probably won’t be. Our ideas won’t survive these people, so don’t “throw your pearls before swine.” 4
Thinking in yellow requires that a positive environment be built for the incubation of valuable new ideas. C.S. Lewis along with J.R.R. Tolkien and their group of writers called, the Inklings, created this kind of safe place to discuss their writings and test their new conceptions. To effectively think in yellow, it is important that we connect with the right people, creating a safe place to dream and development our ideas.
Green Thinking-Design Thinking
Using the earth’s rich plant life as a metaphor, green represents design, structure, strategy, research, and the development of detailed plans. Each plant has its own unique design. Starting out as a seed that falls into the ground, or is planted into a fertile environment, it then grows into the exact structure that was programmed into its DNA.
Green thinking is the design stage of an idea. Design as defined by Dictionary.com means: “to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for a work to be executed, to plan the form and structure of…to conceive in the mind; to fashion; the development of a plan or project”. Design has to do with planning in a systematic way. It means to create or produce, as in a work of art; to from a plan or scheme; to form an outline or sketch an idea; to invent; to project, and to lay out in the mind.
An idea, like a seed, will grow and develop as we set goals, create detailed plans and develop a strategy for its implementation. Thinking in Green begins with breaking a concept down into its component parts, researching the facts and gaining the advice of the experts. The idea is then crafted by taking it into the workshop of the imagination. The imagination is a faculty of the human spirit, and is a well-equipped workshop that draws heavily on every other thinking color to do its job. We move back and forth from color to color in order to create a masterpiece.
Design – Mind Maps
The structure of a tree reminds us of another great thinking and planning system that can assist in the design thinking process – Mind Mapping. Mind Mapping is a thinking system built on the way the brain operates best. Not in logical sequence, but like the branches of a tree or the arteries of a leaf. This system allows the brain to reach out in any direction and capture all associated thoughts. Memory works by an activation process that Mind Mapping helps to trigger. In my experience Mind Maps are a powerful tool for thinking because they enable us to sketch out an idea (and any associated thoughts) quickly giving us an overview of a subject. Tony Buzan, in his book The Mindmap Book, points out that Mind Maps provide an exceptionally useful intermediate stage between the thinking process and actually committing words to paper.
Mind Mapping is no mystical new age idea; it was the practice of many of the great thinkers of history such as Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Michelangelo, Beethoven and Vincent van Gogh. This list goes on to include great thinkers from the fields of politics, the military, architecture, art, poetry, science and literature. Criticized for making messy notes or doodling, these great thinkers used words, images, symbols, numbers, diagrams and pictures to give their ideas color, movement, depth and dimension.
Mind Mapping helps trigger a mountain of memory and experience. These maps draw on our personal database; the library of everything we have ever seen, heard, touched, tasted or felt. Tony Buzan points out that, “Each bit of information entering your brain – every sensation, memory or thought (incorporating every word, number, code, food, fragrance, color, image, beat, note and texture) can be represented as a central sphere from which radiate tens, hundreds, thousands, millions of hooks. Each hook represents an association and each association has its own infinite array of links and connections.” 1 Mind Maps ignite a huge storehouse of information.
This system works by simply placing your idea at the centre of a piece of paper. Then, in the same way that most plants grow out in many directions, you draw lines or create branches flowing in all directions, identifying any associated ideas or major subheadings. As illustrated, you may use pictures, words or symbols in this green thinking process. It may be used to stimulate creativity, organize ideas for a speech, brainstorm or develop detailed plans, or to simply take notes.
Before we can fully engage the planning process, we must clarify the big picture. Thinking in both yellow and blue we paint the big picture, hammering out our big goals, as well as defining the key departments of our lives. Numerous words are used to describe the big picture: vision, objectives, the dream; whatever words are used the concept is basically the same.
Goals set the direction, planning builds the road. Goals give us a sketch, planning ads the structure and color. Goals are statements of faith about the future, planning creates blueprints so all involved can play their role. Goals are the seeds, planning the growth and development. Green thinking will grow an idea from a seed into a living, colorful, fruitful tree. The art of goal setting is an important part of thinking in green, because goals must be set in order to measure our progress–they are a vital part of the planning process. Goals force us to plan ahead and use our time and resources effectively.
In a book called Psycho-cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz reveals that we have all been wired by our Creator with a goal-seeking device called the servomechanism. Every living thing has the Life Instinct, a built in guidance system said to be the most advanced guidance system in existence. It’s what wakes us up in the middle of the night, causing our brain to switch on and come alive with ideas, innovations, and solutions to problems, for challenges we may be facing. Maltz says,” there is within each one of us a Life Instinct, which is forever working toward health, happiness, and all that makes for more life for the individual”. He calls it the Creative or Success Mechanism, due to its drive to achieve success and not failure. This built-in automatic guidance system, once the goal is set, doesn’t stop processing night and day until it has hit its mark. The science of Cybernetics suggests there is convincing proof that the so called subconscious mind is not a mind at all, but a mechanism – a goal-striving servo-mechanism consisting of the brain and nervous system, which is used by and directed by the mind.
A vital part of clarifying the big picture is to gain a snapshot of the key areas that make up our lives, as they exist now. Green thinking is not only useful in the context of our work and business lives, or one-off projects, but also in developing our personal lives. A great starting point in building a life by design, or a personal strategic plan, is to identify the key departments of your life. Key departments in my life include: Family and friends, physical health, work life, social life, and spiritual life. It also includes; business and personal projects, and other areas of interest such as writing books or producing short documentaries. Whatever it is we discover in the multitude of books on planning, time management or goal setting; we must personalize it, so that it works for us.
Taking the time to outline these key departments helps us to take inventory of our personal assets and liabilities – a reality check of sorts. Understanding these key areas gives as a big picture, GPS or satellite overview, of where we stand now in relation to where we may want to be. GPS stands for global positioning system, and is a satellite navigation system consisting of a network of 24 orbiting satellites, placed in orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. A GPS serves us by showing us where are now in relation to our map, and where we need to head in order to reach our desired destination.
In developing my own personal strategic plan, I have developed my own systems and maps to help keep me on tract. I have created a Life by Design Journal, something I visit regularly, and something that’s always changing.
It is a place I can escape too and think, dream, imagine and invent. This is a sanctuary where I can develop my ideas, and update my goals.
Life by Design Journal
At the moment the headings and sections are as follows:
Dreams, passions, goals and big ideas – some of these may have made it on to my list of key departments or projects sections; others may stay on my wish list for years before I have the power or time to do anything about them.
Key departments – Under each key area I have set goals, sub-goals, and then outlined every task I can think of in order to achieved those goals. Again they may sit there for a while before taking action.
Projects – These maybe the extension of a key department, or a one off project, business or personal. This is where I get serious, and set objectives, create detailed plans, and defined tasks; I draw up a map in order to keep on track, and achieve my passions or dreams.
To-do-lists or Tasks – This has to do with managing the greatest asset or gift we posses–time. Everything comes down to daily action, to where the rubber meets the road, and requires being organized and motivated.
Great ideas – This is the brainstorming, think tank section, where I allow myself to think outside of the box. This is where I use the mind Mapping tool to think and create. This is where I store the great ideas I may use, give away or action some day.
My dreams, passions and big ideas should seldom change, but they do mature as I spend time thinking on them. Key departments on the other hand can change more often, as we change jobs, diets, or exercise plans. In the physical health department for instance there is constant change and development in order to keep motivated. Goals in the area of health may relate to: books to read, new sports to try, and education concerning diet and health in general.
Tasks are then the action points that can be dropped into my daily to-do-list, should I find the time or energy.
The mountains we climb become achievable as we breakdown reaching the summit into bit-size tasks and daily action.
The starting point is to think in yellow and blue, then move back and forth between green and red. Thinking in yellow and blue is essential for clarifying the big picture design, whereas thinking in green and red adds development and detail to our design.
Planning is the primary skill of green thinking, and equally applies to organizing our personal lives as it dose achieving our goals in business or at work. Planning is the process used to achieve our goals. Planning is the creation of a map, the mental journey into the future in order to calculate the resources needed and the obstacles to be overcome. Great planners anticipate change, look for opportunities, and eliminate the unknown.
Like building a jig-saw-puzzle, planning paints the whole picture giving us an accurate overview so we can connect all of the hundreds of little pieces together. These tiny pieces of puzzle are all shaped and colored differently, so if the box didn’t have the goal-picture painted on it’s lid, it would be almost impossible to assemble.
Green thinking sets priorities, creates deadlines, and commits to a timetable for action. In the area of project planning there are numerous planning templates and software packages available on the Internet that will give structure and design to your ideas.
For example on my MacBook Pro I use Entourage, developed by Microsoft as a tool to help me organize my mail, contacts, calendar, tasks and projects. I use the projects centre to organize my personal and corporate life. Every email, contact, task or communication that relates to a project or key department is placed under the appropriate project heading.
There are many planning tools and systems available, from the easy-to-use to the highly complex, depending on your project. They all reveal elements relevant to effective planning, but are not always applicable to every project.
It’s all go and we’re moving ahead at full speed – the sky’s the limit! At this stage you need to move your thinking into a lower gear, thinking in red, for a more analytical, critical thinking approach.
Red Thinking – Analytical Thinking
At this stage we continue to bring our grand idea down to earth. We stop and review everything. Red thinking has to do with changing gears, into a cautious, more practical mode of thinking. We review the facts, do the figures again, and allow others to offer constructive criticism.
Thinking Red is about slowing down to smell the roses. Patiently reviewing all that we’ve researched, judging our ideas in the cold hard light of day. Robert Schuller, the author of numerous books concerning possibility thinking, calls criticism, quality control. In the pursuit of truth, this is where we expose our precious new ideas to those who are brutally honest, butwill treat them with respect.
With the discipline of a world-class scientist we test the idea again and again, viewing the hypothesis from every angle. Like a crime scene investigator, we go where the evidence leads, leaving no stone unturned. Red thinking engages in critical, analytical thinking to uncover hidden dangers and the seeds of failure.
Thinking Red requires the ruthless application of logic (left-brain thinking) in order to construct an accurate view of reality. What we perceive as true does not always agree with reality. We must search for the contradictions within our thinking. We must allow others to become our mirror, asking questions of those who will give honest feedback. Geisler and Bocchino, in their book Unshakeable Foundations point out that, “All thinking (whether about physics or about metaphysics) is alike to the extent that it is governed by this foundational first principle of logic – the law of non-contradiction. Can opposite truth claims both be true?” 1 I deal with the concept of logic in greater depth in my book Life by Design, in both chapter one and the appendix.
The word science literally means knowledge. It has its origin in the Latin term scire, to know. Scientific thinking involves the laborious task of compiling all of the facts. All of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are needed in order to paint a correct picture of reality. This knowledge picture must be as complete as possible before we can make accurate conclusions. Black and white thinkers are wise in their own eyes – they don’t seem to need all of the facts. They mumble, “don’t confuse me with the facts: I’ve made up my mind.”
The honest scientist (and we can all engage in scientific thinking) goes where the evidence is leading.
“The first principle of science is a philosophical assumption upon which the discipline of science rests: it is known as the principle of causality.” 2 This principle states that every event has an adequate cause [cause and effect]. Geisler and Bocchino point out that “Homicide detectives use this method to investigate murders, asking questions such as: What was the cause of death? Was it an accident or was it a planned event? Did it happen by chance or was it the result of an intelligent agent?” 3 Forensic scientists think in Red with such questions. Then they shift gears and think in yellow: generating a range of alternative scenarios, brainstorming all of the possibilities. They then create movement, and switch to green thinking, gathering everyone involved together to construct a plan of attack. To create a clear picture they set goals and priorities, assign tasks, and build strategies. Like a well-organized Napoleonic army, they build a plan to discover the truth. At any given point, the leader of the investigation may pull everyone together to engage in some further Red thinking; such as reviewing the evidence, analyzing the new information, looking for connections that may lead to a clearer picture.
True to any good crime story, the lead character usually possesses a trait that sets them apart; a sixth sense that leads them to people and places that no one else had thought of. The skills of analytical thinking are limited in that they can only lead you as far as the physical evidence dictates. However, beyond the knowledge gained through the five senses, there is the spiritual realm of intuition and wisdom. Understanding the voice of wisdom and intuition will give you the edge, and is what “thinking in Blue” is all about
Blue Thinking – Philosophical Thinking
While on a speaking trip in the Gold Coast of Australia, I was invited by a businessman to join him and his son on a parachute jump, something I had never experienced. An adrenaline junkie’s dream, myself and five others jammed into a tiny aircraft, and climbed to the maximum height of 16,000 feet into the clear blue skies over Byron bay. This was my first jump, and I wondered how long I could keep my nerves under control before fear kicked in. Amazingly, I kept mind, over-the-circumstances, in tact, that is until the door was opened and I had to jump out into thin air.
Adrenaline flooded my system as I edged my way to the door and jumped out. As I adjusted to falling through the air at 120 miles per hour, I captured the awesome beauty, a bird’s-eye-view of the bay and the surrounding countryside. Time seemed to slow down and my mind and all of its cells were on full volume capturing the exhilarating view; the thin strip of golden sand, the ocean waves, the arid landscape, the roads and the little cars and houses below.
Viewing things from this perspective you gain a snapshot of everything at a moment in time. You can see where everything is and how it all fits together. This is thinking in blue.
Thinking Blue has to do with the big picture: purpose, values, character, intuition, conscience, our worldview, beliefs and spiritual insight. Blue thinking involves flying high, so as to gain a bird’s eye over-view of a subject or problem. It has to do with the re-evaluation process of thinking itself.
This mode of thinking will involve some in-depth philosophical thinking that may even lead to a complete paradigm shift. It’s where you test what you believe. The Little Oxford dictionary defines philosophy as, “the pursuit of wisdom or knowledge, of ultimate reality or general causes and principles.”1 As C.S. Lewis asserted, everyone in life has a philosophy – the only question is, whether it is a good one or not.
Geisler and Boccino show that, “The word ‘philosophy’ comes from two Greek words: phileo meaning love, and sophia, meaning wisdom.” 2 It is interesting to note that the word phileo signifies the kind of love that one has for a friend. The true philosopher, as King Solomon points out, loves wisdom as if it were a close friend.
He wrote, ” Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” 3
Friends spend time talking over every aspect of a subject, unafraid to explore, and secure about placing their wild ideas or new theory’s on the table. Friends spend a lot of time chatting about seemly small stuff; they just love hanging together. To be a friend of wisdom means to be at home with our thoughts, to spend time mapping those thoughts–to love the process of thinking itself. To be at home with our thoughts is a strange concept in a world where much of our thinking is done for us. Wisdom is no stranger to those who take the time to think, chewing on a thought like a cow crews its cud.
To be a friend of wisdom also means to have friends that are willing to engage the thinking process with you. Solomon teaches throughout Proverbs that friends, family, and wise councillors where his greatest source of wisdom. Blue thinking draws on the mind and experience of others, encouraging conversation and philosophical debate in the search for wisdom. The key to wisdom, Solomon taught throughout the Book of Proverbs, was to possess knowledge and understanding amidst the “multitude of wise counselors.” 3 He stated that these attributes: knowledge, understanding and wisdom were worth more than gold or silver because they lead to wealth in every area of life.
Blue thinking gives leadership to our thinking, asking the big picture questions such as:
What is our vision or dream?
What is the big picture?
What are the key departments?
Why? What? Where? When? Who?
Do we possess all of the facts or knowledge needed?
Who is best qualified to give me council on this subject?
Do we understand how these facts fit together?
Why are we doing this?
Where do my belief systems come from?
Where did those out-of-control emotions come from?
What philosophy or worldview underpins my thinking and why?
Who can action this task?
Should we out-source this task, or keep it in-house?
What mode or thinking color should we engage next?
Blue thinking taps into the spiritual dimension at a number of levels. The wisdom of the Creator is discovered in a number of very simple ways, and is not as mystical as we may think. We were designed to hear the Creator’s voice, and like a kind of spiritual DNA, we receive the instructions for success in every department of life through a wide range of voices. For example, we hear the voice of conscience when we violate the laws of love and design.
These voices of Spiritual DNA include conscience, intuition, instinct, character and wisdom. They will help us think in blue and walk the path of design, wisdom and love.
Blue thinking brings spiritual insight to a subject by asking:
How does this align with our values?
What are our values?
Is this consistent with our worldview or belief systems?
Is this ethical?
Are we really passionate about this?
What is the Creator saying through the voices of conscience and instinct?
Does this fit our culture?
Do they have our chemistry?
Do they possess good character?
Who should we include in the discussion?
What is our Creator saying through the multitude of councilors?
What is the still small voice of intuition whispering?
Where did that thought come form?
What are my motives?
What do the principles of Scriptures reveal?
What books can give me guidance?
The right questions are gold when it comes to thinking blue.
In the following few chapters I expand on the skill and art of thinking in blue, green and red.
The Sixth Sense
Imagine a world without words, a life of silence with no vibrations that form any meaningful and not so meaningful conversation. No small talk or big talk. No music, no verbal conversation, no connection to the world of sound!
The ear, one of our five senses, is a most amazing biological machine, and possesses approximately one million moving parts. It also has one hundred thousand hair cells functioning as motion sensors – that give us our sense of balance.
The super sensitivity of this incredible organ makes it possible, on a still night, to hear a cricket chirping from one and a half miles away. This is how it happens. The sound waves or vibrations of the door shutting, or a person’s laughter, travel into the inner sanctum of the eardrum, touching or hitting its super sensitive membrane. This membrane is like the skin covering a drum and is approximately the thickness of a piece of paper. It is so sensitive that the brain can detect sound wave impressions less than the diameter of a hydrogen molecule. In this highly sophisticated studio there are the tiniest bones in the body. They are commonly known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup. When the eardrum vibrates it’s through these tiny connected bones that the sound waves are transferred to the cochlea and the organ of corti, the next destination on their journey to the brain
The organ of Corti is described by Richard A Swenson in his book, More Than Meets the Eye, as “a musical instrument of sorts; if a piano has eighty eight keys, the organ of Corti has over twenty thousand keys. It can distinguish between two thousand different pitches.” 1 Within this organ the vibrations are processed through thousands of super sensitive hair cells, converting them into electrical impulses to be transmitted to the brain through the auditory nerve.
Richard Swenson points out that “the ear is a microphone, an acoustical amplifier and a frequency analyzer.” Thinking about this most amazing process I stand in awe yet again at the genius of our Designer. Without this ability communication, conversation and friendship is made difficult. The ability to hear the voice of our Maker transmitting thoughts of love, knowledge, inspiration and correction, is also an amazing gift. Spiritual vibrations end up in the same place as natural vibrations. Instead of making their entrance through our eardrum, spiritual vibrations enter via my spirit and are immediately transmitted to the brain to become a thought or feeling.
Jesus taught that, “Man [or woman] shall not live by bread alone” 2, but by every word or vibration that is transmitted from God. Some call it a hunch! Mother Teresa teaches that “Silence of heart is necessary so you can hear the Creator everywhere - in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers and in the animals.” 3 “In this place of silence”, she taught, “We will find a new outlook on life, a new energy and true unity with the love of Christ.” 4 Originally the human spirit was designed to be the sanctuary where our Creator lived and communed with us, but no longer functions to the degree it once did.
The Sixth Sense
At a purely physical level we listen to the sounds, sensations and voices of our world through the five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing. The vast array of information fed through these amazing receptors is fired off to the brain to be analyzed and processed for action. No matter what the input, it lives on in our memory as a huge databank of information and experience.
Hearing the voice of our Creator happens by learning to hear the voice of intuition. Known as the sixth sense, intuition is a powerful inner voice warning us in time to avoid impending danger, prompting us to do good when we know we should. It is the voice of instinct, imagination, self-honesty, conscience, truth and wisdom. This is a voice of both good and evil, of Gollum and Smeagol- an interesting character from the movie - Lord of The Rings. It is the creators voice of inspiration, information and confrontation. It is thinking in blue.
Intuition is a part of our spiritual intelligence, something that goes beyond the level of processing the information being received through our five senses. Intuition is the voice of the human spirit giving us knowledge or wisdom and seems to come from nowhere: the premonition you experience that gives an uncanny knowledge of a future event, the supernatural knowledge that tells you someone is coming to visit, or as in the experience of a friend, that someone has just died.
Premonitions are evidence of what we call miracles, because they surpass natural reasoning abilities, and are unobtainable through the five senses. Intuition is a guide for many business people in the decision-making process, often called a hunch. The intuition of a woman when assessing a hidden motive or the character of person, is intuitive knowledge – deadly accurate.
Although our subconscious brain draws on a massive storehouse of experience and information stored as memories, intuition goes beyond the natural process of reasoning. It is imparted. It is knowledge from beyond the walls of the five senses. It is the Creator of the universe giving us what King Solomon taught was the gift of wisdom. 5 Not only do we have an intelligent designer who generously gives us His wisdom, whether we use it or not, but we receive wisdom and discernment through the faculties of perception. Perception includes: intuition, instinct, conscience, sub-conscious thought, and imagination. Blue thinking draws on these God- given abilities, helping us to navigate our way through life.
Wisdom’s Thinking Process
It used to be that land was the most valuable real estate one could possess, however, the knowledge revolution has made the great idea a highly valued commodity equal to striking oil or discovering a gold mine. Intellectual property can be the most expensive real estate on the planet. King Solomon, who was said to be the wisest man who ever lived and was way ahead of his time. Years before intellectual property was understood as a concept, Solomon taught in the book of Proverbs that knowledge, understanding and wisdom were worth more than gold or silver.
Amidst the teachings of Proverbs you will discover that the secret to the Wisdom of Solomon was his ability to tap into divine intelligence. Woven into the tapestry of Proverbs are three words that where foundational in Solomon’s thinking process: knowledge, understanding and wisdom. These where the key ingredients in Solomon’s pursuit of wisdom. As these three thinking skills become a habit, we will enjoy the wealth and freedom that wisdom brings. As you search for wisdom using these three guides, at some stage the light will turn on, the windows will clear, the sun will rise, and you will gain the Creator’s perspective. A still small voice, a hunch, a dominant thought, something someone says, instinct, or the voice of conscience all communicate an idea or message for those who have learned to listen. Solomon teaches us to “ tune our ears to wisdom”; something that made him the most creative, innovative leader of his day. Each of these three words will lead you to a different mode of thinking. Again, view thinking within this process as changing the gears of a car: the first gear being knowledge, the second understanding and the top gear, engaging wisdom.
The first step toward wisdom is the discipline of gathering all the facts. Knowledge in this process has to do with digging up all of the relevant facts in order to gain a clear picture! Solomon taught that, the wise accumulate, or store up knowledge.
“Any enterprise,” he said, “is built by wise planning and becomes strong through common sense and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.” Weather it is processing an idea, dealing with a problem, evaluating a philosophy, or questioning a belief system, to discover wisdom we must fearlessly face the facts.
Like a good judge, this requires putting aside our personal prejudice, opinions and any initial negative emotions in order to view the facts objectively. We must remain open and ruthlessly honest as to where the facts might lead. It is going where the evidence leads, using the skills of a great scientist or crime scene investigator. It is searching out the facts, and laying out all of the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle ready for assembly. If pieces of the jigsaw are missing this will result in an incomplete picture. In decision-making, missing facts give an incomplete picture and may mean the difference between success and failure.
Solomon taught that the key to the accurate accumulation of the facts was the art of listening. It has been said that the reason we have two ears and one mouth, is so that we can listen twice as much as we talk. A study of people from a variety of professional backgrounds showed that 70 percent of their waking hours was spent in communication. Of that time 9 percent was spent writing, 16 percent was absorbed in reading, 30 percent talking, and a huge 45 percent occupied in listening.
Although we spend a lot of time listening to oral communication at a purely informational level, researchers claim that 75 percent is ignored, misunderstood or quickly forgotten. Listening is not only the key to gaining knowledge, it is the skill needed to succeed in all four modes of thinking.
The art of listening is the art of asking the right questions, the hard questions. It is asking probing questions in order to uncover the truth of a matter. Questions that open up the door to a vast storehouse of valuable knowledge locked away inside of other people. Accessing this information and experience often costs little more than swallowing our pride and showing a bit of humility. We must also ask the tough questions of ourselves. Questions that dig down, in a constructive way, in order to peel back any layers of possible self-deception. Asking the kind of questions, which question the way that we have viewed or have done things in the past.
You don’t need a Harvard Degree in order to learn or exercise the art of listening; however, it does require characteristics such as patience, sensitivity, insight, honesty, courage, optimism, confidence, discernment and discipline.
Understanding is the process of learning how all of the facts fit together. It is the summing up of the facts or evidence in order to make our case. We may have gathered all of the component parts of a watch, but have no understanding as to how they fit together. It is one thing to have an accurate knowledge of all of the parts of the human cell and not understand how the system works as a whole. There is no easy road, to be a person of great understanding means a life long commitment to education and the gainingofa wide range of experience.
Solomon is blunt about those who are wise in their own eyes saying,”A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”
He also says, “The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” 2Again asking the tough questions is vital during this process of gaining understanding. Knowledge has to do with the observation of the facts. Understanding, the interpretation of the facts and how they fit together. Wisdom then, is the application of the facts. In a nutshell, knowledge asks “what?” Understanding asks ‘”how?” and “why?” while Wisdom asks “where?” and “when?”
Wisdom is the application of knowledge and understanding. Wisdom is the ability to make the right decision, in the right place, at the right time. A person of wisdom seeks out quality advice by questioning the experts and reading the books of great thinkers. Solomon teaches again and again throughout the book of Proverbs that, “there is victory in the multitude of counselors.”3 Applying this principle is the highest form of self-education, because a person unlike a book is interactive and emphasizes, with emotion, the critical success factors. Solomon points out that, “wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts up her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings”.4 Solomon was saying here that wisdom is accessible to all of those who have a listening ear and a teachable spirit.
This process and the key to wisdom in general are built on the foundation of accurate listening. How we hear and the filters we use to establish a clear picture is what keeps us from falling into the trap of self-deception or living a lie. The information being processed through our five senses is not always what it seems. Often laced with deception, our five senses can feed us an equally distorted picture of the truth. Listening carefully, honestly and with the help of our Creator we will find and travel the path of His design and success.
Passion and Reason
Winning the race against over 200 million potential brothers and sisters to fertilize the female egg, I started my journey toward life on planet earth. It was only three weeks after conception that a sheet of electrically charged cells organized themselves into a tiny immature heart, then started beating. Then within just fourteen weeks it was pumping seven gallons a day throughout my tiny little body. Now it’s “Pumping 75 gallons an hour, 1800 gallons a day, and 657,000 gallons every a year (enough to fill four Olympic sized swimming pools) in order to keep all of my cells freshly oxygenated”. 1
In his book More Than Meets the Eye, Richard Swenson points out that “every day this ten ounce muscle contracts 100,000 times, never missing a beat”. 2 Over a lifetime of faithful service, the heart, a self-lubricating, self-regulating, high capacity organ, beats 2.5 billion times, and pumps 60 million gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels; enough blood vessels to stretch two and a half times around the earth’s equator.
This high speed, high pressure transportation system pumps millions of microscopic molecular machines throughout every organ of our bodies, and carries every kind of precious cargo, including: oxygen, water, glucose, proteins, and carbon dioxide to name a few.
Like an express train filled with balloons, the red blood cells are a cleverly engineered transportation system that carries this life-giving oxygen throughout the tissues of our bodies. “We breathe approximately 23,000 times per day and 630 million times over an average life span” 3 generating much needed oxygen. Each red blood cell can carry up to a million molecules of oxygen because of the cell’s complex iron-rich substance called hemoglobin. This oxygen filled train then travels the 60,000 miles of the body’s blood vessels in search of oxygen-starved cells. Every second we manufacture over two million of these red blood cells, which if laid side by side would go around the earth’s equator four times.
It is hard to conclude that such order and precision came mindlessly into being? I find it easier to believe that the Creator created something out of nothing, than nothing created something out of nothing. The production of platelets that are involved in the critical process of blood clotting was no mistake. The immune system, with its fifty billion white blood cells ready to go to war against harmful microbes in a picosecond, is no accident, but the work of a great thinker.
Understanding our physical heart is crucial to good health, but understanding the importance of our phycological, spiritual heart is vital in building a healthy enterprise, especially in dealing with people and making decisions. This the seat of guidance-systems such as intuition, conscience and passion.
Heart and Head
In Hebrew thought the heart is the sanctuary of the soul. It is the spiritual dimension of the mind, will, imagination and emotion. Metaphorically it is the centre of love and compassion, seen as the seat of intimacy and affection, the very core of who we are. It is the seat of self, the place of human consciousness. The heart is where our passions are birthed andtake root, then produce fruit both good and bad. Solomon teaches: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” 4 The heart is where our passions originate, the place they can be developed or defiled. In Solomon’s day the wellspring was a very important place. This was a place to guard with your life because it was, to the family and community, the very source of life itself. Raiding armies would fill in or poison their enemy’s wells in order to wipe them out or bring them hardship.
In the same way, our hearts can be corrupted with bitterness, fear, hatred, prejudice, or jealousy; mindsets that will infect our thoughts. These kinds of attitudes will pollute or poison the mind. Our inner drive can be crippled and our thinking distorted by a preoccupation with such powerful yet negative emotions. When we lose heart we lose our passion for life, and it affects our thinking capacity. The heart is a wellspring of passion; we must guard this fresh water of pure inspiration from pollution.
As oxygen is to the body, passion is to our thinking. We suffocate without passion and creative self-expression. We have all been wired with unique gifts or loves that forever need expression. Passion is the inner drive and relentless pursuit of the someone or something we love. Passion is a spiritual force, that seems to come from nowhere, yet gives energy, motivation, and imagination to our thinking. It is thinking in bright yellow!
Passion is an invisible force drawing on every megabyte of our mental capacity; it is spiritual adrenaline! A passionate person is the one on fire with an idea, or sacrificially driven to serve the ones they love. Passion is the difference between the good and the great. Passion is a wellspring of inspiration.
Passionate people don’t spend their days trying not to be bad, instead they step into a world of greatness. Why someone gives themselves to a field of study or work for a lifetime is a mystery. I cannot imagine what the world would be like, if some of the great leaders in medical care and research, lost their passion. The passionate desire to help those in pain, is still the great mother of invention.
In the areas of medicine and health, there were few as passionate as Florence Nightingale. She led the way, and helped lay the foundations of modern medicine and health-care. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was the founder of modern nursing, who did her work, she believed, under the inspiration of Christ. When she was 17, she felt God calling her into His service. Theodore Fliedner (1800-1864) deeply influenced Nightingale, by organizing deaconesses within the Lutheran Church who were involved in helping with education, ex-convicts, and nursing instruction. Florence Nightingale became famous, traveling to far off battlefields, cleaning soldier’s wounds, and comforting those who where dying. She was a legend, known as the lady with the lamp. Throughout history passion or compassion has truly been the wellspring of invention.
The innovations of love continued. When returning to England, Florence Nightingale wrote a book called, Notes on Hospitals published in 1859. This had a profound effect throughout the world on hospital care and hygienic design. Then in 1860 the Nightingale School for Training Nurses was opened at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.
Passion is a raging river of feelings, ideas, inspiration and experience, while reason is a deep pool of knowledge, logic and wisdom. Passion can operate devoid of reason, but when coupled with reason it is a most powerful mix. Passion and reason need to be kept in balance. Overly passionate and we blow up; totally rational, and we dry up.
Passionate people, at times, can find themselves adrift on an angry ocean of emotion. On the other hand, rational people can suffer from what is called the paralysis of analysis. They analyze things to death. Passion and reason are the two wings of a bird, the two sides of a coin–the perfect marriage.
It has been said that, the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing about. Passion can often throw reason out of the window. This is probably why Blaise Pascal said, All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling, such is the power of emotion or passion. This is why we must be disciplined, because to many truly great people have become the victims of their out-of-control passion. On the other hand reason can drag us into a deep rut, a surreal world of boredom, never engaging the things we are really passion about.
It interests me, that we all like to be considered a rational person, but truly admire those who live life with passion. Reason is a great servant, but a poor master, due to the fact, that if reason dominates, we can loose the power of instinct, intuition and conscience.
Unpolluted passion gives thinking the power it needs to climb the highest of life’s mountains– however we do need reason as our guide.
In essence, thinking in yellow and blue flows form the wellspring of passion, whereas thinking in green and red comes the world of reason–keeping us safe. Passion without reason is like a boat without a rudder, it will drift in whatever direction the winds are blowing, or the tides are going.
Building a successful enterprise requires both of these powerful forces.
“This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as night the day; thou canst not then be false to any man”.
Honest thinking is the art of seeing beyond our indoctrinated thinking, prejudice or strong personal opinions in order to discover the truth of a matter. In the the business there is a world of half-truths, lies and deception. Then inside of us there can be varying levels of self-deception holding us back or distorting our view of things. To build any enterprise we must conquer our need to be right and gain an honest perspective.
For over a thousand years, millions of Chinese women were subjected to the very painful custom of foot binding. A mother would take a long piece of cloth and bind her young girl’s feet. All of the toes, except for the big toe, were bent up under the sole of their feet until they eventually snapped. If started too soon the girl could be crippled for life. Many where restricted to their bed because it was too painful to walk. Even when this physical process was complete, they could never walk very far from home for the rest of their lives. Binding usually began when the girl was four and took about five years to complete. This tradition was said to have started during the southern Tang dynasty (407-923) during the reign of Emperor Li Yu, who was one of China’s great romantic poets. Being more interested in wine, women, and song than matters of state, he did not stay on the throne for very long. He supposedly had one of his favorite wives bandage her feet to make them pointed in order for her to dance more beautifully. This caused great excitement in the court, and others followed suit. Foot-binding through the centuries spread from the court to the upper class, and in turn, to the majority of the population. Over time small feet became synonymous with beauty, so much so that it was difficult for a woman with large feet to find a husband. The perfect foot was, tin, small, pointed, crooked, perfumed, soft and symmetrical.
For Chinese men, small feet were extremely sensual. In these times a man would not see a woman’s naked feet until after marriage and then only during sex. Over the centuries, Dr Ko, a Taiwanese surgeon, says over 3 billion girls have experienced this cruel fetish.
Cultural indoctrination such as this can turn something abnormal into something socially acceptable. Bound by the bandages of our cultural and personal pride, hating to admit we where wrong, we can hang on to destructive ideas for many years before questioning them.
Without honesty our ability to think is bound or crippled. Honesty is a vital part of the reasoning process because it keeps us from being self-deceived, and helps us to remain open to new ideas. The definition of self-deception is, the process of denial or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument.
The result of dishonest thinking is living in denial, a self induced mental blindness. Honesty protects us from corrupted characteristics that blind our ability to reason with integrity.
At the level of our human spirit there is a kind of honesty box, we call conscience, giving us an intuitive knowledge of what is right and wrong, and a sense of responsibility to do what is right. This honesty box not only warns us of what is wrong, its the voice of good and honest character.
Characteristics such as: Courage, honesty, loyalty, patience, and humility all sit beneath the surface of our thinking, and like white blood cells, protect us from harmful unwanted invaders.
Honesty is character, and character is the foundation that under pins balanced healthy thinking. Albert Einstein said, “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong, it is character.”
Good and bad character speak to us throughout our day, directing our behavior. Laziness has a voice telling us to take the path of least resistance, which is not always the best decision. The voice of honesty tells us to cut the crap and admit that we were wrong! Both good and corrupted character influences us more than we care to admit, or are even aware of. Good character helps us walk with balance and run with agility. Poor character cripples the thinking process. The bandages used to cripple literally millions of these beautiful little Chinese girls represent those characteristics that bind our thinking. Following are some examples of traits that sit beneath the surface, and kill or distort honest thinking.
Destructive indoctrination cripples our thinking due to the assumption that we have arrived at the truth, and no further thinking on the subject is required. Negative indoctrination carries an attitude of pride and superiority. Although we have become confident of certain conclusions, we must always remain open to our ideas being tested. Indoctrination stops us asking any further questions–we have made our judgement and that settles the matter.
As much as anything, indoctrination in the negative sense, lacks humility and fails to respect those who do not hold to our view. It is this attitude of, “Don’t question me, I’m right and you’re wrong!” This is something that has halted progress throughout history. The word indoctrination has both positive and negative connotations. In its widest sense it can refer to the teaching of the basics within education: the alphabet, the basic methodology of a profession, or the foundational principles of a subject, such as science.
In the fields of psychology and sociology the terms that describe aspects of indoctrination include: socialization, propaganda, manipulation and brain washing. In the education system, as in our personal lives, we need to distinguish between undesirable and acceptable indoctrination. Closing our mind to the point of no return shows no humility and is the reason many fail. Indoctrination clearly kept people from questioning this detestable tradition of foot binding for thousands of years.
In rejecting the manipulative bigoted attitudes of negative indoctrination, we can swing to the opposite mind-set of cynicism, which is an equally destructive and unhealthy way of thinking. Cynicism is the bandage of mistrust and a deep seated fear of being deceived. It is built on the assumption that most people are motivated by self-interest. Cynicism questions everyone and everything in search of ulterior motives.
There is something deeply appealing about cynicism because it lets us off the commitment hook. The voice of cynicism says, “Watch out, don’t be taken in.” So when an appeal for aid is made, we can justify doing nothing.
In his book, Seeing Through the Eyes of Cynicism, Dick Keyes suggests that “Cynicism promises a more sophisticated way of seeing. It promises to protect you from getting conned, disgraced or disillusioned.” He points out that it is “seeing through and unmasking positive appearances to reveal the more basic underlying motivations of greed, power, lust and selfishness. It says that every respectable public agenda has a hidden private agenda behind it that is less noble, flattering or moral.”1
There are many good reasons to be cynical; the politician who breaks their promise, the father who hurts his children, or the community leader that controls or manipulates people. Unhealthy cynicism places a harsh judgement on every human being – guilty!
Cynicism is a necessary protection against deception and is a part of thinking in red. Howeverthe problem with a cynical attitude is that it assumes that everyone is guilty until proven innocent. This is the opposite to a healthy concept of justice, where you are innocent until proven guilty. The outcome is a society where trust is never given an opportunity to grow. It is the assumption that everyone is selfish; an indoctrination of sorts. It is true that we have selfish motives to varying degrees; however, to lock down on the dark side of human nature will fail to draw out the best in people. Solomon's father, King David, taught his son that a wise man dose not sit in the seat of scoffers. An environment filled with toxic levels of pessimism, sarcasm, suspicion and skepticism, dose not foster healthy, balanced thinking.
Honesty has as much to do with pointing out the greatness we see in people, as it does not lying, or telling the truth about a persons poor character or behavior.
Wikipedia defines honesty as, The human quality of communicating and acting truthfully. Stating the facts as best one truly believes them to be. It includes both honesty to others, to oneself, and ones motives and inner reality. Other dictionary definitions talk about adherence to the facts, the refusal to lie or deceive, and about choosing not to be corrupted or false.
Honesty pushes aside prejudice, withholds judgement, buries pride and listens to all points of view. Honest people pursue the facts, evaluate the facts, test the facts, then judge the facts. Honesty gives us an accurate picture of reality. The voices of indoctrination and prejudice cry: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve made up my mind.” Honesty is the pursuit of truth, within and without, and begins with being honest with ourselves. King David in his prayer asked his Creator, to keep him from lying to myself.
It is interesting to note that most surveys to identify the kind of leaders we prefer, show that honesty is at the top of every list. 2 It is strange, but we often want from others a higher standard than we are willing to impose upon ourselves. Honesty in thinking is having the confidence to seek the input, feedback, and constructive criticism of others.
John Naisbitt in his book Mindset deals with eleven mindsets concerning seeing the future. He says, “My premier mindset is understanding how powerful it is not to have to be right.” 3 He points out that “People are culturally conditioned to have to be right. The parents are right, the teacher is right, the boss is right. Who is right over rules what is right.” He concludes, “Once you experience the power of not having to be right, you will feel like you are walking across open fields, the perspective wide and your feet free to take any turn.” This attitude, not taken to the extreme, is genuine humility.
Honesty must possess the humility that allows our thinking to be challenged. Mother Theresa said, “Honesty and transparency make you feel vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
Honest thinking is also foundational in gaining wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to research the facts (knowledge), interpret those facts (understanding), and then arrive at a conclusion or application (wisdom). Wisdom requires an honest interpretation and a fearless application of the facts. Honesty is thinking in red.
Honesty is the steel that runs through the back-bone of great thinkers. Honesty bravely admits, “I’m sorry I was wrong, you were right.” William Shakespeare wrote, “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.”
Solomon teaches, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” 4 Honest thinking requires the help of others, who can fearlessly ask the probing questions, giving honest, sometimes brutal feedback. It is written, that Jesus was a man full of grace and truth. Truth without love or grace in the mix, can appear ruthless and even cruel. This is an important balance, because without the grace calculation we would be forever discouraged. Wisdom is needed as to how much truth a person can take about their weaknesses at any given time. If others where to tell us the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth, our self-esteem may never recover. Truth or honesty reports the cold hard facts, grace is the shock-absorber communicating with wisdom and understanding, keeping the bigger picture of relationship in mind. Solomon taught that, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing…The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds persuasiveness to his lips.” 5 Honest conclusions are one thing, communicating them is another.
Under all that we think, lives all that we believe, like the ultimate veil of our spirits.
Hard Work and Pain
On reading Ashlee Vance's biography of Elon Mask one of the great modern day entrepreneurs and the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and Solar City; you quickly see that his success is not about skill alone, but huge amounts of courage, persistence and pain. In the chapter on Pain, Suffering and Survival, Vance quotes one of the Tesla and SpaceX investors and Musks friends, he saw a man who arrived in the United States with nothing, who had a lost childhood...who had the ability to work harder and endure more stress than anyone I have ever met. What he went through in 2008 would of broken anyone else ...butHe kept working and stayed focused.
You may be the most educated, knowledgable person in the world but without a strong work ethic and the disciplines of success, you could simply be whats known as, an educated fool. To be a successful entrepreneur you will experience extreme pain. Character is the steel-like internal strength to be able to withstand large amounts of pain. Great athletes must break through multiple pain barriers in order to reach another level. This is reality and it dose sucks, but the right kinds of discipline can turn into the pleasure of winning and a habit of success. However, once stretched you never go back to your original shape or size, you become a bigger person.
Working hard gives you a special kind of victory; self-control. King Solomon in his book called proverbs says, a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. In early times a city or village without walls was left unprotected and endanger of being overpowered and robbed, again and again, until they could rebuild the walls, which was a slow process. Disciplines of character, like building muscle or walls, takes time and hard work. Without certain disciplines in business we are at risk of loosing everything. We can have a number of these disciplines mastered but have neglected one area, and bring everything crashing down. It all starts with us and our personal character and discipline, which then naturally extents into our business life.
Hard work also gives us another kind of victory, respect for other-selves. Self-respect comes from self-control and self-control is about self-leadership. Leadership over negative emotions, attitudes, voices and the multitude of interruptions the true to take us off course.
Wisdom and Discipline
Skills must be learned and sharpened constantly for any enterprise to succeed.
Knowledge is now easier than ever to access, however knowledge is not skill. Skills are mastered by training and discipline. You can have all the skills in the world, but without wisdom knowledge is useless.
Who am I targeting?
How do I let people know what I have to offer?
What makes a great ad?
Whats branding all about?
How do I price my product or service?
Where do the marketing ideas come from?
What about research and development?
What is Network or Social-Media marketing?
Do I need a website?
How do I develop an online presence?
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
The Customer is King or Queen?
Over the years I have heard countless people say that they are sick of working for somebody else and wish to be self-employed, starting their own business some day and working for themselves. If I get the chance, I remind them that when we start into business, the customer is your boss! We are never self-employed but in a very real way customer-employed. We exchange one boss that pays us a weekly or monthly wage, for another boss that is more uncertain and may or may not deicide to pay our wages. Henry Ford once said, “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” In fact they can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down by simply spending their money somewhere else.
Ultimately customers are people like you and I who want a need meet or a dream realized.
As a customer, when I enter a restaurant the host maybe busy but all I ask to begin with is to be acknowledged. “Hello, I’ll be with you in a minute”. Then the long list of customer experiences begin. Do they get back to me quickly? Do they seem genuinely interested? Do they ask for my name? Do they remember my name? Do the chief’s love me with their food? Are the interactions I have positive? Dose the sum-total of my small interactions ad up to, wow that was great, or hmmm that was averaged ? I never forget when Air New Zealand Airlines must have decided to train their staff to remember and use the customers name. Hello Mr Walton, would you like a drink! Wow I’m important!
So many company’s spend big money on advertising and band development, but fall over when they send a grumpy waiter out to serve me, or employ a chief that was good at interviews but couldn’t cook to save his life.
Customer experiences happen every day, at every level, in every business on earth, but the attitude behind all of these interactions is all important, and comes through.
I started out calling Pillar Three, The Ad, then The Market, however, I then realized that I was focused on the process, and not on the person at the heart of every businesses -The Customer. Businesses that are loyal to their customers allow the customer to drive the enterprise, the services and the product development, in fact every aspect of the business.
When I started my property development and construction company, White Cloud Innovations, I was passionate about building smaller homes that where affordable, but that still looked cool. It made me angry to see neighbourhoods of new, low-cost homes that where ugly or cheap looking - an environmental disaster! Our success as a company has come from a genuine desire to serve people with great quality, beautiful spaces, but at an affordable price.
According to Peppers and Rogers 2005, The customer experience has emerged as the single most important aspect in achieving success for companies across all industries. Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with the supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship. According to James Allen of Harvard Business School, 80% of businesses state that they offer a great customer experience. This is in stark contrast to the 8% of customers who feel the same way.
A positive customer experience dose not happen by accident, but by design. A company or not-for-profit must define and understand all aspects of the customer experience in order to have long-term success. Then train and empower the team to deliver the proposed experience, and deliver it genuinely and consistently. A company must constantly teach, train and develop in order to keep up with the constant demands of providing an exceptional customer experience.
A company's ability to deliver a great experience that sets it apart in the eyes of its customers will, research reveals, increase the amount of consumer spending and inspire loyalty to its band. Building great consumer experiences is a complex enterprise, involving strategy, integration of technology, orchestrating business models, brand management and CEO commitment.
The increasingly online nature of the modern marketplace does not alter the fundamentals of sound business practice: in the long term, there is no substitute for providing good products and services at a reasonable price, done with love.
The spirit of new generation enterprise
The foundation principle of business is the creation of products and services that meet people’s needs. These innovations must love people for them to want to part with their hard earned money.
Kevin Roberts, once the worldwide Chief Executive of the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi when speaking on building a great ‘brand’ introduced the idea of “the love-mark." Brand creators used to speak in terms of brand names and brand image, but these days it goes much deeper. Roberts says “You can plot any relationship – brand or otherwise – by whether it’s based on love or respect. High respect ratings used to win. These days a high love rating wins. If you don’t love what you’re offering me, go home.!”
Roberts argues that consumers don’t want any more information. “They are suffering from information overload and what they want now is relationship. They want connections.” What Roberts is saying in essence is that successful businesses of the future must build a relationship with their customers, offering products and services which people love (the love-mark ).
One of the leading characteristics of successful business people is their passion and belief in their product or service. Successful business is about serving people with innovations that love them. Love innovations are the products and services generated from a genuine desire to serve another person’s success or comfort. Love innovations are the creative acts of kindness and romance which keep our relationships at every level alive and adventurous.
The first business I started was a gym named Body and Soul. This was something that was inspired by reading the story of the YMCA, the organization that popularized basketball andgymnastics'. Body and Soul was a not-for-profit organization set up under a Church called The Rock, meeting in a large warehouse, with over a thousand people attending. This gym would help fully utilize their facility and contribute to their mortgage.
I started it because, at the time there was no gym in the area, and I was passionate about having a gym that was a beautiful space, low cost, with friendly staff and where ordinary people would feel relaxed. In our city at the time gyms where quite sterile, cold and unfriendly. Lots of big mirrors, muscle men, tanning oil and the annual subscription had to be paid up front.
So we created a cool space great art, a cafe, kids care and an aerobic’s room with two huge palm trees either side of the stage. The place looked like a large cafe with a gym in the corner. We then advertised, inviting people to join for $1 a day. It was full to capacity within a year of starting and stayed that way year-in, year-out.
What is a Market?
The marketplace, as it’s commonly called, was the place people (customers) gathered together to view what somebody in the community had produced, the latest innovation or product. They would then barter with something that they had of value, if both agreed, they would then swap the goods, in whats called a trade.
The marketplace used to be mostly local, a community, town, city or country. But now we are at a turning point in history with a global marketplace at our finger-tips! We can choose to open up shop in our local community, in a marketplace of thousands, or from our kitchen table we can focus on a marketplace of billions. The latter sounds more attractive but doesn't necessarily mean that we will have a larger customer-base than the community based business. However the internet gives us access to a huge array ofdifferent kinds of markets around the globe, of which we may only need a small percentage in order to make a good living.
Simply put, a market is a cluster of customers with a common need or dream that they want help with, from the need to be fed to the goal of climbing a mountain.
The marketplace is one of many ways people engage in exchange. Wikipedia points out that, in mainstream economics a market is the exchange of any type of good, service or information . The exchange of goods or services for money is a transaction. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their products or services, including labor, in exchange for money from their customers.
The market is also the place that determines value, the place where the prices of goods and services are established. Market participants consist of all the buyers and sellers of a good or service who influence its price. This influence is a major study of economics and has given rise to several theories and models concerning the basic market forces of supply and demand. There are two roles in markets, buyers and sellers. For a market to be competitive, there must be more than a single buyer or seller. It has been suggested that two people may trade, but it takes at least three persons to have a market, so that there is competition in at least one of its two sides. However, competitive markets, as understood in formal economic theory, rely on much larger numbers of both buyers and sellers. A market with a single seller and multiple buyers is a monopoly. A market with a single buyer and multiple sellers is a monopsony.
Markets vary in form, scale (volume and geographic reach), location, and types of participants, as well as the types of goods and services traded. Examples include:
Physical retail markets, such as local farmers markets (which are usually held in town squares or parking lots on an ongoing or occasional basis), shopping centers and shopping malls.
(Non-physical) internet markets
Ad hoc auction markets
Markets for intermediate goods used in production of other goods and services
International currency and commodity markets
Stock markets, for the exchange of shares in corporations
Artificial markets created by regulation to exchange rights for derivatives that have been designed to ameliorate externalities, such as pollution permits (carbon trading)
Illegal markets such as the market for illicit drugs, arms or pirated products.
What is Marketing?
Marketing in the ultimate sense is simple: find out what customers want and give it to them.
Marketing, in practical terms, is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to new or existing customers. Another definition of marketing is: the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. It is clearly defining who we are targeting, the market size and all the relevant information that relates to that market and it’s environment. This means the ideas, the brand, how you communicate, the design, print process, measuring of effectiveness, market research and the psychology of consumer behavior, all count as part of the bigger picture of ‘marketing’. Marketing involves the art of listening to customers and then the identification and creation of new products and/or services.
Businessdictionary.com describes marketing as: The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of fourelements called the four P’s of marketing:
(1) identification, selection and development of a product or service,
(2) determination of its price,
(3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customers place, and
development and implementation of a promotional strategy.
How do I write a Marketing Plan?
If you fail to plan you plan to fail. So the development of a marketing plan is about defining and refining what your customer really wants and how you are going to deliver.
1. What are you selling and why are you so special?
2. Who are you Targeting?
3. Who are my competitors?
4. How am I going to bring this great idea to market?
5. What do I need to Sell or Secure to be Profitable?
6. How do I set sales targets and develop sales strategies?
7 . Whats my communication and or branding strategy?
1. What are you selling and why are you so special?
Daniel Priestley in his book, Entrepreneur Revolution, say’s that when he looks at a Rolex he dose not see the product as being a watch, but as a conspicuous device that communicates status and high achievement. A person who buys a rolex dose not want to buy a device that tells the time. They could buy a cheaper $20 watch to do that. The desired outcome the customer wants to achieve has more to do with what a rolex says about the wearer.
So when it comes to identifying what it is that you are selling, try to see beyond your goals and dreams and check again to see what it is that your customer is really wanting to buy. This may have to do with how or where your product or service is delivered as much as anything. Thinking about what channels you are going to use to deliver your product or service to your customer is also an import part of your marketing plan. This may even become a part of your business model as you expand and multiply.
StarBucks for example is not only in the business of selling coffee, but also in the business of making it accessible locally and in a friendly environment. In other words the delivery system for great coffee is as important as the coffee. Information used to be most delivered through soft or hard backed books, now it can be found using any number of search engines. Same information, different delivery system.
Apple are challenged on a number of key issues in creating something special in the world of technology. Simply put: the look and feel, design flow or usability, value for money, the buying and user experience and above all that it is something you love and respect, and are proud to own.
I googled the Starbucks to see what they think makes them so special and this is whatthey had to say:
It happens millions of times each week – a customer receives a drink from a Starbucks barista – but each interaction is unique.
It’s a connection.
We make sure everything we do honors that connection – from our commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world, to the way we engage with our customers and communities to do business responsibly.
From our beginnings as a single store nearly forty years ago, in every place that we’ve been, and every place that we touch, we've tried to make it a little better than we found it.
The Starbucks Story
Every day, we go to work hoping to do two things: share great coffee with our friends and help make the world a little better. It was true when the first Starbucks opened in 1971, and it’s just as true today.
Back then, the company was a single store in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. From just a narrow storefront, Starbucks offered some of the world’s finest fresh-roasted whole bean coffees. The name, inspired by Moby Dick, evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders.
In 1981, Howard Schultz (Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer) had first walked into a Starbucks store. From his first cup of Sumatra, Howard was drawn into Starbucks and joined a year later.
A year later, in 1983, Howard traveled to Italy and became captivated with Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. He had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition back to the United States. A place for conversation and a sense of community. A third place between work and home. He left Starbucks for a short period of time to start his own Il Giornale coffeehouses and returned in August 1987 to purchase Starbucks with the help of local investors.
From the beginning, Starbucks set out to be a different kind of company. One that not only celebrated coffee and the rich tradition, but that also brought a feeling of connection.
Our mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
Today, with more than 15,000 stores in 50 countries, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. And with every cup, we strive we bring both our heritage and an exceptional experience to life.
Ask yourself the hard questions
Why is your idea so special? and what is it that you are really selling at every level?
Why is your product or service so cool?
Why is the way you deliver it so great?
What is the feedback from those who experienced your idea?
Looking back in 50 years time what do you hope people will say?
What business are you really in, and what are you really selling?
Are you selling watches or status? Are you selling iPhones or communication and connection? Are you selling milk or good health? Are you selling travel or lifelong memories?
Are you advertising cars or safety, eco friendly, engineering and design? Are you selling coffee or intimacy and friendship. Are you advertising clothing or coolness?
2. Who am I Targeting?
What is the age, shape and size of my target market?
Whether you come up with an idea and then go in search of a market, or start by identifying a human need; you need to identify and understand who your customer is and what it is they really want. This study will save a lot of time and money wasted in a shot gun approach to reaching your customer.
When I started Global Tribe Extreme Cafe, I asked a friend heading up a leading advertising company at the time, if they had any research on the youth market? The results of focus groups and the research Saatchi & Saatchi had commissioned gave a real insight into the mind of my customer, and ignited lots of great ideas. It also sparked the name, Global Tribe, when in a section of the research it said that this group where like a global tribe searching for the same old stuff - friends, intimacy and a great time!
Understanding a target group takes time, and even if you think you know them, time spent researching them farther will generally pay off, refining your product or service or if nothing else the way you communicate to this group.
I spent account-less hours talking to young people or anyone that I thought knew anything about this emerging group.
This was a new generation of intelligent customers, who spent more time on the internet than in front of television.
How do these high-tech, high-touch, in-touch customers think and operate? How do you reach a customer that is endlessly on-the-move like some kind of modern-day global nomad.
This group of highly mobile youth referred to as the global tribe where on the one hand, for the first time history, truly global and on the other hand, extremely tribal. They thoughtglobally, but where looking for strong local identity and expression. They where living in an environment of global instability because of the rapid process of globalization.
Ever since Tim Berners-Lee came up the the world wide web in 1989, and the internet was born, technology has been building like a giant wave. This globalization phenomenon has accelerated the pace of change and forced the world together politically, economically, technologically, and socially, faster than any other time in history.
This revolution has empowered the individual and radically changed our global landscape overnight. It is forcing governments to open their markets, and generally become integrated into a new global society. Globalization is an interwoven global marketplace, justice system, economy, and communication network, with a new emerging global culture, especially true of Generation XYZ.
Characteristics of the Global Tribe
A combination of research from leading advertising agencies, Saatchi and Saatchi and Mojo, painted a picture for me of some of the attitudes and expectations of this new and exciting global tribe; and now some years later, many of the characteristics still hold true:
These global tribes think like nomads - they cruise along, taking each day as it comes, they don’t hope for too much, they take pleasure where they can, and simply go with the flow. They don’t overly believe in anything.
In an age of moral ignorance and a high level of hypocrisy, realism usually equals having no ideals. The only possible stance for many young people is to be cynical, distant and irreverent.
In the boredom of mass culture they seek out real adventure, enjoying individual adrenaline pumping, risky adventure sports, team sports, and more social and non-competitive sports.
These technology nomads integrate technology and nature. Mass communication technology has become a natural part of life, giving access to the world. The Internet has granted a greater sense of personal power.
In a world of fake images and surface values, they expect others to be authentic, be real, be themselves. In a materialistic world, they value the attitude more than the actual thing. Despite living in a world that seems determined to crush self-esteem, they are proud of themselves.
They have the ‘lost child’ attitude. They live for the moment because tomorrow may never come. This generation believe they should keep their distance, stay detached, stay as individuals even within a group or a relationship. They do not merge completely with anyone because they believe they will probably get hurt.
This generation genuinely desire role models of long-term relationships but these are rare due to parental divorce and family break-ups. They know “sex is dangerous, but often it’s still safer than love.”
They find it is not that easy to rebel against parents who have ‘been there and done that’. Make no mistake, the digital generation rebel, but their style is subversive rather than confrontational. They love complicating things and pushing the boundaries, infiltrating society rather than invading it.
Driving forces include the need for identity, self-esteem, self-respect, confidence, empowerment and skill, a feeling of being in control, the freedom to choose, knowledge as power, wisdom, uniqueness, intelligence in humor, and the interactive.
Within what is sometimes called the global tribe there are a myriad of sub-tribes.
They believe the key to musical creativity is remixing the old and new - recycling fashion. They don’t tend to invent new items of clothing or music styles, but they do specialize in refining and remixing existing or past fashion.
They think alternative, black humor is what’s funny. To command a following from this group, any brand big or small, has to have attitude. Consumption of a certain brand or non-brand is a bit like a tribal membership.
Despite grunge-type appearances, they are quite materialistic. They regard promotion, communication, and advertising as art-forms. They are a special effects generation where surreal is real. Both sexes will often list shopping as a favorite recreation.
They especially like advertising, which ridicules advertising norms, and “takes the crap” out of conventional baby boomer aspirations, the ‘beautiful people’, or stereotypical male or female ideals.
This generation wants to be entertained, not sold to. They make the following comments: “I like it ‘cos it’s not threatening to me”; “it’s not pushing the product on you”; “I hate obvious humor”; “it needs to be subtle and entertaining”; “slice of life humor is appreciated”; “don’t be funny and stupid, be clever”.
There are a different types of customers you will experience:
Discount Customers: They shop our stores frequently, but make their decisions based on the size of our markdowns.
Impulse Customers: They do not have buying a particular item at the top of their “To Do” list, but come into the store on a whim. They will purchase what seems good at the time.
Need-Based Customers: They have a specific intention to buy a particular type of item.
Wandering Customers: They have no specific need or desire in mind when they come into the store. Rather, they want a sense of experience and/or community.
If we are serious about growing our business, we need to focus our effort on the loyal customers, and merchandise our store to leverage the impulse shoppers. The other three types of customers do represent a segment of our business, but they can also cause us to misdirect our resources if we put too much emphasis on them.
Loyal Customers: They represent no more than 20 percent of our customer base, but make up more than 50 percent of our sales.
3. Who are my competitors?
After being told at school that everyone’s a winner, it’s a bit of a shock entering the dog eat dog, highly competitive marketplace. Your competitors don’t get to send you to the principles office for bullying. Understanding the companies that have a similar idea or concept to yours is the only sensible thing to do. You can learn from their mistakes and improve on what they do. Studying those in a similar field of business will spark valuable ideas, not only relating to your product or service but your business model as well. To be a good player in this often hostile environment dose not always mean becoming a viking.
Edward de Bono in his book Sur-petition talks about finding a higher road as opposed to simply entering the competition. Finding your unique proposition and creating your own new world of possibilities. However, I find that to generate creative ideas you need to create movement, so to simulate lateral thinking I study my competitors. Simulating progress, but preserving your core concept.
4. How am I going to bring this great idea to market?
We now understand the target customer, so what paths are available to deliver this product or service to them. What will I commit to and what backup plans can I create? An extension and sometimes as important as a great idea itself is whats called the business model, defining and describing how and where you bring your product or service to market. For example, Star Bucks not only sells coffee but a cool spaces to connect you with friends, to snack and do business. If you are not a global brand such as Star Bucks, you may still do the same, sell the experience as a part of your product or service.
When it comes to selling homes, my business model starts with customers who want cool, beautiful, small spaces that don’t cost the earth. Mostly people find it hard to communicate what they really want, but like purchasing a work of art, they know it when they see it. So White Cloud Innovations is passionate about serving our customers with modern day eco-caves. Spaces with the beauty of nature, the design and craftsmanship of Leonardo da Vinci, and the science and engineering of Einstein.
How do I bring my idea to Market? Many housing companies advise themselves as house builders and then work with their customers to construct a home to fit their section. In my case, I am more of a developer, I purchase the land and build the home with the customer in mind. Each home is in effect my work of art, something that to me is more important than making money. Some companies are driven by extensive market research and this can be very valuable, however is not the whole story. When it comes to new technology for example, customers have no idea what the next big thing is. They don’t know what they don’t know! Henry Ford once said, If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘a faster horse’. Jobs adopted the same philosophy when developing Apple products by asking the question, what would I want?
Taking your idea to market requires as much creativity and innovative as the product or service you have created.
What are the existing channels that could carry your idea to the customer?
What could our path to the customer look like?
Where do our customers go when they want something similar?
How can we make the connection to our idea a positive experience?
How can we make our relationship with the customer high-tech as well as high-touch?
How are we going to approach people in a relational way?
Are we going to be an online business or do we need to be both?
5. What do I need to Sell or Secure in order to be Profitable?
This is where we need to earth our big idea and get down to specific’s. How much of the product or service do I need to sell or secure in order to pay the over heads; the wages, tax, rent, materials and advertising for example. To answer this question we need a realistic handle on the cost of bring this product or service to market.
You need to have a clear view of your gross margin, which is fully explored in the chapters on The Money.
The gross margin is what remains after you divide your gross profit by your net sales (your gross sales minus sold items later returned by customers). The gross margin is a measure of how the selling price of your product compares to its cost. Gross margin = gross profit / net sales
What are the production or service costs?
To deliver this service, what will it realistically cost me?
What employees will I need in the first year of operation?
What price are customers willing to pay?
What price do my competitors charge?
What price would they/you pay?
This is whats called the million dollar question or star-gassing! Getting our head around this question is all important, as it means success or failure. It requires honesty in tension with faith or optimism. Many a great idea has been killed by an over dose of pessimism or died a little while later as a result of poor but optimistic financial planning.
It is only after you fully understand your costs that you can even begin to ask this question. This is where you also need to understand your competition and why they have priced their products or services the way they have. This is a critical discussion, set the price to low and you may not cover your production, operating and delivery costs. Set the price to high and you could price yourself off the market. Rush this process and it may come back to bite you.
6. How do I set Sales Targets and Develop Sales Strategies?
This will be different from one business to the other, but these are some of the kinds of questions you may need to address:
How do I set realistic sales targets?
How am I going to review results?
How am I going listen to customers?
Who’s going to do it and when?
What are you doing for loyal customers?
What role can network marketing or social media play?
7. Whats my communication, feedback and or branding strategy?
Who do I need to talk to and when? Including suppliers, customers, media, your network and most importantly those working with you. Business is about relationship and communication is the most important aspect of any relationship. This also goes beyond the obvious to include the kind of messages you want out there in order to begin shaping your brand. Messages that create a foot-hold in customers thinking, messages that are sent by your actions as well as your words.
How are we listening to customers?
How we gain and process feedback is taking what the customer thinks about you seriously.
We need to ask the big questions:
Are we treating our customers with respect?
Are our customers happy?
What do they really want?
What is Social Media Marketing?
This has changed the way we do business forever, or has it? When this phenomena first emerged I was told that you need to get on board and quickly! I was raising money for our Global Tribe aid programs at the time, based out of Nashville Tennessee, and it seemed everybody believed that social-media was the future. So I asked the obvious questions, how dose it work and where are the examples of it working? When, how and where could we use it?
I was told the stories of larger aid agencies that had used it, and that it resulted in huge amounts of money being raised.
Still trying to work it out in my head, I asked more and more questions. The conclusion I came to was that this was indeed a revolution, but still didn’t short-circuit the basic principles of business, to find a need and fill it!
Offering a great product or service that meets someones need, serves a persons dream or solves problem.
Or the time-tested principle of advertising: word-of-mouth. The greatest ad in the world is still word-of-mouth; now more powerful than ever as a result of social media. This revolution means that now instead of our marketplace being the small village we grew up in, our marketplace can be the global village in which we now live, only a few clicks away.
Business is a relationship! It’s a relationship with interest groups in our local communities oras a result of the internet, communities anywhere on the planet. In a way the internet makes the globe local! This is why I named this organization, Global Tribe.
What makes a great ad?
The saying, There’s no second chance at making a good first impression needs to be taken seriously, because once the brain has made a judgement it’s hard to reverse it. If advertisements don’t catch your attention within seconds they have probably failed. To really stand out of the crowd, the idea has to be out of the box, something that makes you laugh, talk about it, or at least make you look twice. No amount of social media hype will sell something to someone they don’t want!
I remember when I was 19 years old, trying to sell my first house. I had built it for a good price, lived in it for a few years and then placed it on the market as we where moving to live in India. The agents had the first go at selling it, with little interest. So I thought I would have a go at selling the property myself before giving it to another agent. I placed an ad in the local paper with a hook in order capture peoples attention; If anyone buys this house they will get a free trip to Hawaii. The phone then started ringing with a huge number of enquiries. I would like to have told you that the house sold a few weeks latter, but it didn’t. People came close to buying, but wanted to deal through an agent and not with the owner directly.
Over the years I have been involved in the creation of a multitude of advising stunts form promoting our gym, Body & Soul, for a $1 a day, resulting in the gym membership reaching capacity; to doing a handstand on a skateboard, in a suit, down the main street of our city in order to get our Political Party’s policy on the six a clock news.
In order to gain support for our Global Tribe Aid work in Mexico, Haiti, India, and Africa, my friend Wes Campbell, the owner of numerous rock groups in the US, suggested going on the road to speak and show video at their concerts, raising support and teams of people to go do aid work around the world. It was a great success, raising millions of dollars and facilitating thousands of volunteers to help build houses. That is until the defining moment, mentioned at the beginning of this book; that starting enterprise engines at the heart of these communities was the best way to break people out of poverty, and grow a thriving economy.
In fact the way Wes got the attention of the music world in the US is a story worth telling. He was trying to introduce his first band, the NewsBoys, to one of the largest festivals in America of over 200,000 attendees. They had moved from the gold coast of Australia with no money and spent a year or more traveling the country in their old van playing every little gig they could talk their way into, clocking up thousands of miles and even more debt. They wanted in, but the emails, phone calls and Oz accent didn’t work on the promotors, so they devised a plan to get themselves a hearing. They decided that as the setup for the festival took a week, they would play to the setup crew. This meant the set-up crew-management, staging, lighting, and sound guys got to hear them, and after a week of hanging out with the band, the staging crew worked them into a slot at the festival. They where an instant hit and the crowd demanded more, and so for the last 15 years they have played there every year, and mostly as the headline act. To ad a twist, Wes some years later purchased the majority sharing-holding in the festival.
I was starting a gym in the city called the The Club, so while driving to the coast to go surfing I asked my friend, who was a Saatchi and Saatchi advertising guru at the time, what he believed makes a truly great ad? He said without hesitation, lots of space, something I have never forgotten. He was referring to print advertising but went on to expand the concept, relating it to all advertising - to keeping-it-simple. The KISS principle; Keep-It-Simple-Stupid. He also said, that an ad campaign is not rocket science, it’s common sense. Keeping our advertising ideas uncluttered is one of the disciplines of producing a great ad. I made a mental note that, for me, this is true of most great designs: good musicians have a clean sound, great foot ball players work the basics, and elegant art and architecture is minimalist.
We have to get peoples attention amidst huge media noise, and some how convert that to a trade, their hard-earned money for our product or service.
Some great advertising/marketing ideas!
Go online yourself and write a list of advertising ideas? This will help you engage and digest the ideas you research in a more personal way.
Have a Sale
Do a live Ad…
Customer loyalty schemes: My Star Alliance, Air New Zealand frequent flyers card was often the reason I paid a little more than what was on special with other airlines. The privilege of using their lounges around the world, upgrades and other comforts helped me stay loyal. The coffee cards often used by cafe owners, reward loyal customers with a free coffee every ten or so coffees. Why spend more on advertising when it cost less to keep existing customers.
Loyal customers are also good for your business because they become your best advocates. They recommend you to others, saving you advertising costs. A loyal customer's endorsement is more powerful to their friends and family than any advertising campaign.
What is a brand?
Originally a brand was an identifying mark burned on livestock or (especially in former times) criminals or slaves with a branding iron. A band has now become the characteristic’s that set a company apart from the pack. A band is the character and personality of an enterprise. It is more about who we are as opposed to what we do. The feeling someone has as they experience the culture and personality of the company.
Starting out as the name branded on an animal, product, or service, the band-name, the concept has broadened over time to include the brand image and brand culture.
Simply defined, a band is what your customer thinks of when he or she hears the brand name. It is everything the public thinks it knows about a business, both factual and emotional. A band is the intangible sum of the customers perception concerning the qualities and attributes of a product or service, and the entire culture of the organization. The brand exists in someones mind, the space owned by your idea or proposition.
What comes to mind when you hear the brand name, Apple? Cool, design that is easy to operate, visually pleasing, cutting edge, intelligent, and the list goes on to describe how you feel about the products and personality of Apple.
A brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan to communicate your key brand ideas. How you appear in public, where you advertise, your business model, distribution channels and the design of your physical presence, are all included as a part of your brand strategy. Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command.
The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it's not just the shoe's features that sell the shoe.
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:
What is your company's mission?
What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
Research, Research, Research
Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don't rely on what you think they think. Know what they think. Market research can give you insight into your market, your competitors, your products, your marketing and your customers. Here are 20 questions market research can help you answer:
What are you REALLY selling?
WHO is currently buying your product or service?
What are these PEOPLE'S LIVES actually like?
Why are other people NOT buying it?
WHO would be interested in buying it in the future?
HOW MANY people like this are there?
What general TRENDS are affecting these people's lives at the moment?
WHERE would people buy your product or service from?
WHEN, WHERE and HOW would they use or consume it?
WHY would they buy it? What need are they wanting to satisfy?
Who is your real COMPETITION?
What IMAGE do people have of your brand vs your competitors'?
What would be the ideal IMAGE for your brand to have?
What do they think about the DIFFERENT ASPECTS of your product or service (name, packaging, features, advertising, pricing...)?
What IMPROVEMENTS could be made to your product or service to meet people's needs even better?
What is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BENEFIT your brand should be seen to be offering - and why would people believe this to be true?
How can you best COMMUNICATE that benefit to the people you're interested in attracting?
What is the right PRICE to charge?
What other NEW products or services could your brand offer people?
So what is your VISION for your brand?
And what would be the best ROADMAP for getting there?
The secret of good communication is to tailor your approach to the individual. Your customers are all unique personalities and perceive your messages in different ways. Write out the messages that you want to communicate to your customers and then taylor them to reach the different personalities or temperament-types.
Most importantly of all, remember to listen. If you are a big talker, you may have to curb your natural tendency to interrupt or dominate the conversation. To develop a dialogue with your customer, ask open-ended questions and listen to the answers.
Project Scenario 1
You believe you have what it takes to be a great professional soccer player, but know that you need to make enough money during summer to free yourself up to practice and play soccer full-time during winter.
You have an opportunity to purchase cheap soccer balls, which you have decided you will sell in order to free yourself up for the soccer season.
How are you going to do it?
BUT you only have one hour.
Project Scenario 2
You did so well at selling soccer balls, that you decided to go into business selling soccer balls online. You thought there may be an opportunity to sell them online to a larger market than your small community, so immediately started work on your Marketing Plan to sell soccer balls globally.
Global Tribe Marketing Plan
Who will help me?
How do I develop my people-skills?
When do I need employees?
Where do I find a good workers?
Every startup generally involves a team of people, form the startup advisers to the appointment of the first employees. Most new enterprise begins with the big idea, or the great opportunity; then the inspirational conversations with friends, family and associates begin, hammering the concept into shape. The voices we don’t wish to hear are always close by giving the impossibilities, the cold hard facts, the reasons it will failure. But always remember, criticism is quality control, so don’t take it personally and always thank them for their input even if it hurts to do so.
This is your startup team, made up of people who give informal or formal input in the research and development phase of an idea. Then as your idea takes root, there will be numbers of advisers, partners, workers and investors, all involved in creating structure around your idea. Many of the team of friends, family and mentors that start out brain storming with you as a part of your initial think tank, may fall away and be replaced by financial partners, employees, empowering companies, people with expertise and experience.
Our attitude toward the concept of Team is all important and a part of the bigger picture of building healthy entrepreneurs and sustainable businesses. When we disrespect those we partner with in order to create wealth, we are disrespecting ourselves, and on the road to contracting a terminal sickness known as greed.
We really do need to believe in the power and value of partnership or team in order to achieve the wright kind of success. These kinds of philosophical foundations within our thinking have a huge impact on the new enterprise, often greater than the more technical, operational sides of the business. Good or corrupted character and thinking sits beneath the surface of all we think or do. Greed and personal ambition for example are among the enemies of building a culture that cares for the needs of others.
An economy is not a mindless machine of businesses, regulations and government, it’s a tapestry of relationships, of empowering or disempowering partnerships, of productive and unproductive people.
A number of years ago I was partnering with a team of young social entrepreneurs who wanted to serve the young people of their city using a similar model to Global Tribe. I remember giving them some advice that just came out spontaneously, but was news to me as well. I was talking about the importance of building the culture of the of the team as being of more importance than total focus on the wiz-bang programs or the slick look and feel of the place. I told them to check regularly on the culture of genuine care for people. Holding the team accountable not only to the tasks of their job profiles, but to their attitude to one another and a general culture of kindness. Culture is shaped by leadership, whether positive or negative, bydesign or by default. Culture is build by the role models that people are inspired by. In business a partnership can be the legal description of the relationship, a buzz-word, or something that is genuine.
Autumn arrives and the Canadian Geese are on the move south for the winter. By flying in a V formation, a gaggle of geese add at least 72 percent to their flying range compared to each bird flying on its own. As the lead goose grows weary it rotates to the back of the V-formation and another goose takes the lead. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately behind it. The V shape, scientists have now determined is no accident, with aeronautical engineers calculating that the entire gaggle of geese gains an improved energy efficiency and speed of up to 23 percent. Geese teach us that we can fly faster and further in partnership with others.
As these great birds fly, they honk to encourage those up at the front to keep up their speed and momentum. Above all, the quality to be admired in these incredible birds, is their sacrificial nature. If at any time a goose gets sick or is wounded and falls out of formation, two of the other geese fly down to nurse and protect their sick or injured family member. They tend their friend until they get well or die. They then await another V-train in order to catch up, and connect with their family and friends again.
This is a beautiful picture of a culture of partnership and team spirit. Partnership is a mindset that must be developed. Thinking and productivity is taken to another level in unity with others.
Known as one of the wisest and wealthiest kings who ever lived, Solomon teaches that, allowing ourselves to be woven into positive partnerships gives us greater productivity, provision, protection and power. He taught that, “If one can put one thousand to flight, then two can put ten thousand to flight.” Hafford Luccock notes, “No one person can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” 2
Partnership is less of me and more of we. It requires humility to involve others in the thinking and development process of an idea. Milton Friedman noted, “There is not a single person in the world who can make a pencil; it takes the coordination of thousands of people. The wood may have come from a forest in Washington, the graphite from a mine in South America and the eraser from a Malaysian rubber plantation. Thousands of people cooperate to make a pencil.”
When we truly value the thoughts and opinions of others we gain a broad perspective. Andrew Carnegie once said, “I owe whatever success I have attained, by and large, to my ability to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.” A study of Solomon’s wealth creation philosophy, shows that it came through building strategic trading partnerships.
Nobody is a complete orchestra; no one person is a basketball team, because growing an enterprise is a team sport. Thinking is strengthened when we join forces with others. Solomon says, “Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” 3 The rough edge of another person may be the very tool that sharpens us.
CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and their friends, in a creative partnership of writers called the Inklings, refined books such as The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings. William Wilberforce, one of the great reformers of England, responsible for the abolition of slavery, was strengthened by a band of like-minded friends tagged the saints by their contemporaries in Parliament. A partnership that generated a revolution against all odds, as England derived huge economic benefits from slave trading. Wilberforce intentionally “forged strategic partnerships for the common good, irrespective of differences over methods, ideology or religious beliefs.”
The skill of great leadership is, more often than not, about instilling a sense of partnership. Max de Pree captures this in his definition of leadership. He states that leadership is more tribal than scientific, more a weaving of relationships than an amassing of information and, in that sense, I don’t know how to pin it down in every detail.
Think We, not Me
Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich, talks about the power of partnership in Henry Ford’s business success. He noted that the most “rapid strides” in the Ford Motor Company, and his business empire in general, came after forming strong relationships with Thomas A Edison, Harvey Firestone, John Burroughs and Luther Burbank. Hill says, “No two minds ever came together without thereby creating a third invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” As a result he built what he called a master- mind group, which he defined as “the coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose. … [Adding] to his own brain power the sum and substance of the intelligence, experience, knowledge and spiritual forces” 4 of the group. He believed that because the human mind was a form of energy, a part of it was spiritual in nature.
Throughout Solomon’s Proverbs, he repeats again and again the need for wise advisors: “There is victory in the multitude of counsellors,” he taught. A Readers Digest article entitled “What Good is a Tree?” revealed that when the roots of certain trees touch, a fungus develops in the soil that somehow reduces competition between them. “This substance works to link the roots of different trees – even of dissimilar species” 6 these trees are designed to share with one another. Whole forests can be linked together, sharing water, nutrients and sunlight. As human beings, we are designed to thrive and succeed through the nurture of partnership.
Mother Teresa puts it this way, “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.” John Wooden said, “The man who puts the ball through the hoop has ten hands.” The ability to partner with the right people is the key to another universe of thinking and achievement.
Team up with Employees
Chairman and CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, in his new book, The Coming Job Wars, “ If you where to ask me, from all of the world polling Gallup ........see pg 8-11 The global tribe simply wants a good job. They want to go to work in the morning and be treated with respect, with dignity. Healthy people are the trees on which healthy fruit grow, so finding and looking after these people is of primary importance. This vital area is often underestimated in the race to get your product or service to market, and achieve the dream. It’s easy not to see employees as people, but cog’s in the enterprise machine.
Employers must understand that employees have dreams and ambitions to, and will often work more for appreciation than money.
Deciding to hire someone is for most businesses, especially startups, one of the do-or-die decisions; because if done to early or the wrong person is employed, it can cripple the company. It is also the greatest investment a business can make, causing greater productivity and profit.
There are of course many sole traders that may think that this section dose not apply to them, however most sole traders have whats called empowering-companies. Companies they rely on as suppliers or sub-contractors, and these people should be teated as employees of sorts, due to the fact that they preform the same role as staff do-helping you deliver your products and or services.
How do I find World-Glass Workers?
You must believe that you can find and attract the best of best - the A-Team!
Finding the right team to partner with you in growing your business is like discovering gold.
The Devil You Know!
You have heard the saying, Better the devil you know than the on you don’t. Sometimes we can under value those we know, because we know them so well, faults and all. They also know you and how you operate which can be a big plus and a good head-start. On the other hand employing your friends or family can blowup in your face and end long-term friendships and end in tears. Place friends and family through the same tests as you would others, and where practical have someone other than yourself involved.
Get a solid handle on what their expectations are:
Where they see their role leading?
Why do they want the job?
Where do they see themselves in the next 5 years?
The first question I ask is, do new employees past the character, chemistry and competency test?
Bad character in someone working for you is like having a tooth ache, they will get on your nerves and become painful and very annoying. Are they honest, reliable, hardworking, positive, and show initiative. Or are they grumpy, lazy, back-stabbing, disloyal, mean spirited people?
Some searching questions to the people your prospect employee use as references may help to uncover character flaws that may end up ruining your business. Be careful, past employees often don’t like to be negative so they only give what seems like a whisper, hinting at someones negative character traits. So drill down with direct questions if you hear that whisper.
If the law of your country allows it, when it comes to the contract stage, only offer them a trial period.
Secondly, the chemistry test. This is more important than many realize and has to do with how someone connects or fits-in with the other people in the team. Will they really be happy with the culture you have developed; such as open and honest communication or the flexible hours you set or simply the way you operate. They don’t have to be the same as you and the others, opposites do attract, but the marriage needs to work. It’s hard to define what chemistry exactly means, but as one friend of mine put it, you’ve got to like the person. When a chemistry experiment goes bad, because you place the wrong chemicals together, it can be an expositive. Research reveals, one of the major reasons for the failure of a business is a breakdown in a key relationship.
In past I have involved other staff members in a social settings so that the new player can be observed by others on the team. Often in this setting they let down their guard and show something of who they.
Lastly, the competency test. Do they really have the skills or intelligence for the role? Do they have a degree, but no practical experience? What is there track record?
Again, it may help to have other staff members or a friend accompany you in the interview process. How many times have you heard it: great character, fantastic chemistry, but hopeless at their job.
What are the Pit-falls of Employing Someone?
One of the biggest problems with inexperienced entrepreneurs is a lack of understanding of the laws that relate to this huge responsibility. The legal issues surrounding a new employee are to be found on most government business websites, but are often ignored resulting in massive legal costs later on. The laws and regulations that relate to employees for example, is stressful enough for most business people, let a lonethe multitude of other business related laws. Employment issues can kill a business.
Minimum employment rights
This section provides an overview of the minimum rights and obligations that apply by law to employers and employees. Employees can’t be asked to agree to less than the minimum rights. An employee is anyone who has agreed to be employed, under a contract of service, to work for some form of payment. This can include wages, salary, commission and piece rates.
Leave - sick and parental leave
Right to work in NZ
Team Leaders and Managers
Good leadership and or great managers bring all of the pieces of the enterprise engine together in order to build a complete ecosystem. They draw out the best in people and build them into a healthy, functioning community.
For small businesses and startup’s the owner has to be a mixture of both a leader and a manager. This is not the ideal, however can be overcome by teaming up with the right staff, mentors or community of business people. The solution to a lack of management or leadership wisdom is only a question or two away and begins with an attitude of humility.
In the chapters dealing with The Manager I go into more depth on the skills of management, but for now will deal with some issues that relate to leadership in general and their people skills.
Leaders are the innovators and entrepreneurs that open the doors of the future and navigate the turbulent uncharted waters of the marketplace. But more than any other activity will have to master and negotiate the stormy waters of a complex web of relationships. Whether an entrepreneur or manager you will need to develop the art of leadership. Being an entrepreneur means leadership, but not all entrepreneurs recognize their need to quickly, in many cases, down load the skills and develop in the art-form of empowering grass-roots leadership.
The word ‘leadership’ comes from an Anglo-Saxon word which means ‘a road way, the path of a ship at sea’(Adair 1990). Leadership is knowing what the next step is, and having the courage, confidence, and commitment to take it. Leadership deals in ‘futures’, people’s futures.
The definition of insanity is ‘to keep doing things the same way, but wanting a different result’ - something many of us as leaders are guilty of at times. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got. It takes strong character and leadership to have the guts to jump the ruts.
I think Max De Pree best captures the nature of grass-roots leadership in his book Leadership Is An Art. He defines leadership as - more tribal than scientific, more a weaving of relationships than an amassing of information, and in that sense, I don’t know how to pin it down in every detail.
Grass-roots leaders challenge people to commit, to climb a little higher, to dig a little deeper, and go a little further, challenging people to focus, give, organise, and develop their skills and character.
Grass-roots leaders work the coalface and at the same time influence people in positions of power. William Wilberforce, who was responsible for the abolition of slavery in England, was a grass-roots leader whose influence extended into the halls of power, a place some may think would disqualify a leader from grass-roots status. But this is the spirit of a people-centered, community building, social entrepreneur.
In my political role, I have observed the fact that great leadership has nothing to do with political position, as much as political motivation. If a politician is motivated out of a deep love for people, they will have influence through genuinely meeting real people’s needs, instead of the preoccupation many have with programs and processes.
In an excellent little booklet, The Man Who Changed His Times, 9 John Pollock gives insights into the grass-roots nature of William Wilberforce’s leadership in English politics during the late 1700s and early 1800s. At 28 years of age, on October 28 1787, he wrote in his diary “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the reformation of manners.” Wilberforce’s goal of abolishing the Slave Trade took 46 years to achieve. It was on July 26 1833, only three days before his death, when the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery passed its second reading in the House of Commons. The abolition of slavery throughout the entire British Empire was a mammoth goal when you consider that Britain, 200 years beforehand, was the world’s leading slave-trading nation. Wilberforce threatened the economic benefits derived from slave trading - the annual trade of hundreds of ships, the jobs of thousands of sailors, cheap workers for landowners, the businesses of selling slaves in Africa and England.
“Wilberforce also set out to change England by influencing the moral climate, making goodness fashionable, and restoring respect for the law in all classes.” “Wilberforce”, Pollock said, “touched the world when he made goodness fashionable.” “Whatever its faults, 19th century British public life became famous for its emphasis on character, morals, and justice, and the British business world-famous for integrity.”
These kinds of goals will also characterize new generation entrepreneurs, who see themselves as leading community reform; environmental and economic. Although not allentrepreneurs will be directly involved, this new generation of grass roots leaders will join forces to initiate change.
Wilberforce was committed to the strategic importance of a band of like minded friends devoted to working together in chosen ventures. His particular band of associates were tagged “the Saints” by their contemporaries in Parliament.
Another characteristic of grass-roots leadership is seen in how Wilberforce ‘forged strategic partnerships for the common good irrespective of differences over methods, ideology, or religious beliefs.’ This is something modern business now recognises as the key to the future and their survival.
Entrepreneurs need to be big thinkers, willing to imagine what could happen when we become dangerously honest, ruthlessly loving, and committed to making other people successful. In a book called Credibility, 14 Kouzes and Posnetreveal the results of a survey identifying the key characteristics of admired leaders saying “In virtually every survey we conducted, honesty was selected more often than any other leadership characteristic.”16
The leaders I have most respected over the years are those who are self-disclosing, who are willing to share their struggles and weaknesses.
The Coaching Edge
One of the best examples of good leadership or management, is seen in the truly great coaches of the world. They are dangerously honest, masters of giving empowering feedback, know how to frame the hard questions, and tailor their development programs to the individual.
Here is a few quotes that define the art of effective coaching:
A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment. - John Wooden
I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.
A good coach will make his players see what they can be, rather than what they are.
The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an organization's valuable resources." Harvard Business Review
"Probably my best quality as a coach is that I ask a lot of challenging questions and let the person come up with the answer."