This is a continuation of my Part 1 posting on cultivating growth and development from an entrepreneurial perspective. An entrepreneur does not have all the answers, so to improve and progress he/she must enlist the support of others. One way to accelerate and maximize your success is to establish an incubator (aka personal advisory) board to enhance your performance, efficiency and effectiveness in key areas. The incubator board asks the tough questions that will help you: define strategic vision; develop a value proposition; sharpen marketing, networking, presentation and negotiation skills; determine the feasibility of new concepts and ideas; and build strategic alliances. Here are a few guidelines to help you launch such an initiative:
Establish a clear mission and framework. Know your purpose and what you want to achieve. This will help determine the types of assistance that you will need from the group and how you will work together.
Recruit strategic partners. Your incubator board can be as formal or informal as you wish. The group can consist of as many as seven or as few as three individuals who are proactive, forward thinking, and willing and able to provide constructive feedback to help effectively navigate your unique circumstances. The number of members is not as important as their commitment, enthusiasm and synergy.
Schedule regular meetings. Meetings can be either face-to-face or by phone and should be held on a regular and mutually agreed upon basis. Between meetings you might consider brief, periodic e-mail updates to keep everyone apprised of your efforts.
Demonstrate flexibility. At times you may need to change board members. A relationship may falter or a change in your circumstances may precipitate the need for new resources and areas of expertise. Either way, if an individual is no longer providing value to meet your specific needs, politely thank him or her for their time and guidance and move on.
Maintain an attitude of gratitude. Success is not all about you. To receive assistance from others requires that you convey a deep sense of appreciation and a willingness to facilitate the success of others. Find tangible ways to give back to the people who have helped you to succeed.
To create opportunities is to exercise your freedom to make conscious choices and focus on the things that you can change. This line of reasoning expands your energy, enlarges your perspective, increases your value, and strengthens your impact.
Until Next Time,
Are you wondering how to set and execute a shared vision for your team? Click on the following links for ideas:
Have you ever stopped to contemplate the thoughts that run through your mind when good fortune comes to others? Do you feel and express genuine happiness for their success? Or do you feel that their good fortune diminishes you in some way? If you find it difficult to rejoice in the success of others, you may be suffering from an affliction known as the scarcity mentality.
The term scarcity is defined as an insufficient amount or an inadequate supply of some commodity. The scarcity mentality is often referred to as the zero-sum paradigm of life, which means that in order for one person to succeed, another must fail.
The scarcity mentality is a destructive psychological condition. Its symptoms include: low self-esteem, anxiety, desperation, fear, frustration, negativity, confusion, defensiveness, passivity, envy, jealousy, worry, sadness, resentment, anger, judgment, and the list goes on. People who suffer from this condition have difficulty sharing information, ideas, power, credit, prestige or recognition, because they hold a fundamental belief that resources are limited. They think there’s only so much to go around, so “If someone else gets a piece of the pie, there won’t be enough for me.”
Unfortunately, people who believe that life is based on a competition for survival will always find their lives lacking and feel a sense of anxiety, fear and desperation. They will always carry a deep sense of insecurity and unhappiness and eventually self-destruct.
My father used to say, “With a closed hand, nothing goes out and nothing comes in.” To release this self-defeating attitude and create more opportunities and possibilities for yourself, you must begin to view life in a different way. The following be-attitudes may help you to create a life of abundance and enjoy a more peaceful existence:
Be Open-Minded – Expand your perspective to understand that “Whatever is meant for me will not pass me by. Whatever passes me by was not meant for me.”
Be Focused – Whatever you focus on expands. If you want to manifest your desires into reality, focus on abundance rather than lack.
Be Grateful – Gratitude reaps healthy dividends. When you practice expressing gratitude for the things you already possess, powerful things begin to happen. Boost your health and your life by giving thanks and cultivating gratefulness.
Be Generous – Share the wealth with others. Extend praise, congratulations, and support for the achievement of others. What goes around comes around – with momentum.
Be Proactive – “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Rather than being passive and envying the success of others, take control of your own life with action-oriented behavior. Engage in continuous improvement (new ways of thinking, doing and being), so that when opportunities do come your way you’re prepared to seize them.
Our natural state in life is one of abundance. When we focus on being a blessing to others, our own life expands with opportunities and possibilities beyond any we could have ever imagined. Release the negative energy, drama and debilitating behaviors and reconnect with a central truth: you are born to be a winner! In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by James Garfield: “Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing. Let everyone know that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more power than you are now using. If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.”
Until Next Time,
Here’s a simple, but powerful poem that has resurfaced on my desk. I’ve read it a number of times over the years, but for some reason, it really resonates with me today. I hope it will resonate with you, too!
Great events, we often find,
On little things depend,
And very small beginnings
Have oft a mighty end.
Letters joined make words,
And words to books may grow,
As flake on flake descending
Form an avalanche of snow.
A single utterance may good
Or evil thought inspire;
One little spark enkindled
May set a town on fire.
What volumes may be written
With little drops of ink!
How small a leak, unnoticed,
A mighty ship will sink!
A tiny insect’s labor
Makes the coral strand,
And mighty seas are girdled
With grains of golden sand.
A daily penny saved,
A fortune may begin;
A daily penny, squandered,
May lead to vice and sin.
Our life is made entirely
Of moments multiplied,
As little streamlets, joining,
Form the ocean’s tide.
Our hours and days, our months and years,
Are in small moments given:
They constitute our time below–
Eternity in heaven.
Business incubators have traditionally served a central role in facilitating the success of small business enterprises by accelerating their development of fledging ideas. However, given the changing nature of the employer-employee relationship in today’s workplace, the incubator concept can be a useful strategy for promoting both individual and organizational success.
Today’s employees are expected to manage their own careers by anticipating organizational needs and developing new competencies that address those needs. From this perspective, organizations are customers and employees retain their employment through continuous improvement. This shifts the burden of adaptability to change to employees.
Our economic climate has forced many into contingent work arrangements (i.e., any arrangement other than permanent, full-time employment that is usually based on a contractual agreement), and this trend is expected to continue. Difficult times create opportunities, so there’s no better time than now to take control of your own destiny by forging a new path.
Here’s an example: rather than chasing job openings, create your own career opportunities. Recognizing the difference between openings and opportunities is crucial to success. Job seekers pursue openings (reactive and imprisoning), while entrepreneurs create opportunities (proactive and empowering). Whether you’re in the job market or gainfully employed, cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset sets you apart from others and establishes you as a pacesetter.
What is an Entrepreneurial Mindset?
Entrepreneurs think differently than others in that they actively focus on the big picture and opportunities to energize and transform the organization. An entrepreneurial mindset includes:
Strategic Thinking – looking beyond short-term gains to the power of long-term sustainability;
Creativity and Innovation – harnessing new and creative ways to solve old problems;
Risk Taking – demonstrating a willingness to embrace calculated risk;
Persistence – refusing to give up by trying different approaches to achieve a desired outcome; and
Generating Opportunities – engaging in introspection to define your unique professional brand and identify a niche market that values your expertise.
From this point forward, consider yourself a “start-up enterprise.” Since opportunities often come in the least expected ways, it’s incumbent upon you to be ready to deliver a concise and provocative message about who you are and what value you can add to make a meaningful impact in the workplace.
Stay tuned for Part II of this series in our next Blog.
Until Next Time,