Don’t let your entrepreneurial spirit wither and die on the vine

Don’t let your entrepreneurial spirit wither and die on the vine

I was recently having a conversation with an entrepreneurial friend of mine about some of the struggles he was having and something hit me. He’s clearly not treating his entrepreneurial spirit like a cash crop. The spirit is just like something you would plant in your back yard, it has certain needs that must be met in order to grow and flourish.

My friend was getting bogged down in the day to day grind and struggling to recharge his batteries. After listening to his problem I was able to quickly give him some advice on how to solve his problem. I simply told him “You need more Green time and less Screen time.” He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language or had introduced some mind boggling concept so we dove into it.

Sometimes the easiest way to get a fresh perspective on things is to change your surroundings. I’m a huge fan of trying to get outside as much as possible. A little “Green Time” is a great way to recharge the batteries and take a moment to get away from the working grind.

One of the easiest ways to give your entrepreneurial spirit what it needs to thrive is get outside, change your perspective, get a little fresh air to help refocus yourself.

In today’s fully connected times no one is every really “out of the office” so its easy to get out on a walking meeting or get some green time and still be fully engaged in your work day.

 

Don’t let your entrepreneurial spirit wither and die on the vine, give it the Green time it needs

Failed business transformation through the eyes of an immunologist

Failed business transformation through the eyes of an immunologist

I was recently reading an exchange between Dr. Kristina Talbert-Slagle and retired Army General Stanley McChrystal comparing how a virus like HIV or AIDS works to how an insurgency like Al Qaeda in Iraq works and I was more then a little surprised at the similarities. I went on to make the same correlations that McChrystal himself makes in the fantastic book Team of Teams in comparing those same viruses to the struggles an Organization sees during a failed business transformation.

When someone contracts something like HIV or AIDS its never the actual virus itself that kills a person, the virus weakens the body’s immune system allowing it to fall victim to any number of otherwise non fatal infections. Organizations struggling with transformation often face the same problems. It’s extremely common for an organization under transformation to run into any number of expected non threatening challenges, however the true death of the transformation comes as a result of chasing down and trying to resolve all the “symptoms” of those normal non threatening challenges. When an organization shifts it’s focus away from the larger trans formative activities it falls victim to the death of a thousand cuts as it continues to chase down small out lying issues.

In business transformation, much like our own person health, its important to treat the symptom of the problem but the far more critical issue is getting to the bottom of the route cause and not losing sight of the larger transformation. It’s always easier to view each problem in a vacuum but the key is to take a step back and see how the current problem is interacting with the organizational echo system. Viewing the problem from this 10,000 foot level allows you to see the problem in its environment and better understand how the problem is interlinked with unexpected areas.

The story of Proteus and Menelaus

I’m often asked how I ended up going into an Agile / Business transformation career, the answer is pretty simple, I just sort of fell into it and quickly found out it was something I was pretty good at. The story of Proteus and Menelaus always appealed to me and to this day is still a story I like to tell at the start of a new Agile or Business transformation.

 

Returning home after the Trojan war Menelaus’s ship was becalmed on the isle of Pharos, after spending 20 days waiting for favorable winds a Nymph named Eidothea explains that only Proteus can help Menelaus get home and that only by capturing Proteus will Menelaus ever get favorable winds to return home. Eidothea explains the only way to capture Proteus is by surprise and helps Menelaus hatch a plan to capture Proteus after he falls asleep. She told him there is a certain cave where seals sleep that Proteus goes to at dawn. Menelaus and two chosen men were to go there and hide among the seals and grab Proteus by surprise. They were to hold on no matter what form he changed into. When he stopped changing, then Menelaus could ask him which god was angry with them, then they could sacrifice to that god. Menelaus and his men snuck into the cave before dawn and grabbed Proteus when he came to look over the seals. He changed into animals and trees and tried to frighten them, but they did not let go.

 

This story always struck me as extremely interesting as Menelaus had to push past constant change while keeping a single goal in mind. This has always been a powerful story in helping drive home the perseverance needed to successfully transform a business.  During the transformation you might has to go through several stages each trying to throw you off course but the critical part is to always keep your end goal in mind and try to hold on for the ride!