1. Forget about the business
Stand in front of the mirror and look at what needs to change. Your business is an extension of you. Either change the way you do things or accept your business will not change.
The culture, attitude and results of your business start and finish with you. Think limitation, excuses and scarcity and that is what you will get. Think opportunity, abundance and expansion and you will get that too.
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you are probably right – Henry Ford
Ninety-five per cent of what we do all day every day is a conditioned response and involves no new thinking and no creativity. To change, we need to break our cycle of conditioning. Not a straight forward task, but it can be done.
2. Stop planning and start doing (stop doing your MBA or anything similar)
Edward De Bono refers to an MBA as mentally below average. He does so for good reason. MBA’s teach you yesterday’s strategy. It doesn’t help you today.
Your clients don’t care what three-word abbreviations you know or that you can put together a powerpoint presentation. They don’t care that you know what headings and content you should put into your business plan. These things are of no use to you and of no interest to anybody else, except maybe your bank manager when you need to tick some boxes for your business overdraft.
While you are at it, throw out all your business plans, five-year strategic plans and forecasts too. These are about as much use to you as reading last week’s newspaper to find out what you are going to do today.
Instead – just get started. Nothing attracts energy like movement.
3. Self-reliance: don’t follow someone else
While you are at it, throw out all your management texts and biographies as well.
Envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Reading about some over-complicated theory about what somebody successfully did in the 1980s is about as much use to you as following the lemmings over the cliff.
Half the companies in the book “From Good to Great” have been through the Fraud Courts in America and have failed. Read what Jim Collins says about Enron in that book versus what he is obliged to say later in life.
Don’t follow the America capitalist model. America is the Wild West for a reason. Once they killed all the Indians the Cowboys moved to Wall Street.
What somebody once did to fleece money from their client and to pull the wool over the eyes of their stakeholders is not a sound business model for you. Are you that person? Are you that company? Do you live in the same market? The answer to all of those questions is always no, so why copy any of them?
What Jack Walsh did at GE or what Richard Branson has done to keep himself from bankruptcy time and time again is irrelevant. Don’t try and copy Warren Buffet or Bill Gates.
Be reliant on yourself first and foremost. Don’t be complicit or docile.
The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity – Dr Rollo May
4. Get organic
Our intellect has convinced us we are above the law of nature and are the sexiest things on the planet.
That is the biggest con job in the history of business.
Apply this simple test:
Take the biggest, most industrialised sophisticated modern city in the world and abandon it for 50 years. Go back after 50 years and see how quickly nature has absorbed the whole lot.
The more artificial, more unnatural you try to be or to make your business or product then the greater your chance of failure. In fact, your failure will be inevitable. It may take some time but nature will do whatever it can to rebalance things and destroy your business.
Nature doesn’t create layers of process and middle management. Bees don’t work only if they have a flowchart directing what they need to do.
Nature doesn’t allow for vacuums and it doesn’t allow for structures or entities that are out of balance or unnatural.
Be sustainable. If you are not then you should not be in business. If everybody on the planet lived like New Zealanders, we would need 2.5 planets just to keep going.
5. Stop thinking and start feeling
We confuse mental activity with thinking.
Feeling and longing are the motive forces behind all human endeavour and all human creation – Albert Einstein
We listen to our monkey mind too much and our intuition too little. We are encouraged to be logical and rational. Our education system and the industrial revolution condemned free thinking, creativity, and individual endeavour. Yet it is from our passion, from our feelings that true creativity arises. It is our imagination, not our logic that solves problems and creates our future.
Since Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates we have been taught to be logical and this encourages competition, judgment, and close-mindedness. We are dissuaded from being open, collaborative and compassionate.
6. Be connected
Stop texting and start meeting.
Welcome to the connection economy. We need to approach our work as art. The value we create is directly related to how much valuable information we can produce, how much trust we can earn, and how often we innovate.
If you use your money to buy advertising to promote the average products you produce for average people, you will soon run out of money. But if you use your money to make exceptional products and services, you won’t need to spend it on advertising, because your customers will connect to one another and bring you more.
The industrial economy cherished compliance and competence.
The connection economy has made competence not particularly valuable and has replaced it with an insatiable desire for things that are new, real and important. The connected economy prizes achievement. Achievement comes from a culture that celebrates the achievement motive. In countries and regions and moments of time when there is a cultural imperative to make art and to move forward, things change for the better.
Are you supporting this shift with a business culture that encourages both yourself and your staff to dream important dreams?
7. Be authentic
Gandhi’s wife was once asked how her husband managed to speak for hours on topics without notes and without ever contradicting himself.
She responded that for Gandhi that was simple because everything he thought, said and did were the same. She said that for us mere mortals these were three different things.
We need to be Gandhi.
We need to realise that the age of bullshit is over and what we think, what we say and what we do need to be one and if they are not, we are going to be found out. If we are not authentic in everything that we do then the market will respond to us accordingly.
8. Don’t waste time trying to find your purpose
Do what you are doing today really really well. That will be enough to get started.
Sorry to break the news to you, but you weren’t put here for some special higher purpose. You don’t have to build a thousand-year legacy or be the one to find a cure for cancer. Those things are nice, but not essential. They are delusions of your ego.
Related Article: Growth Is A Choice
But what you do need to do is to live and live well. Don’t confuse going through the motions of life as living. If you are only going through the motions you are a corpse with a pulse.
Live with energy and passion. Life without limits and boundaries. Treat each moment and each encounter as a new opportunity. Do things that are different and do things that scare you every day. Be kind and help others.
9. Keep it simple or be stupid
Life is not complicated. Our intellect has made it complicated.
Do yourself a favour and get simple. Get real.
10. Slow down and have fun
We spend too much time trying to earn money we don‘t need to buy things we don’t want to impress people we don’t like.
It takes us too long in life to realise we are not measured by the bottom line of our business.
So slow down and have some fun before it’s too late.
Live, laugh, love, cry, drink some red wine. Tell jokes and make yourself the punch line. Make your mind and body healthy. Eat well (and understand what that means), exercise and take the time to just be.
Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy – Lao Tzu