Between Interesting and Mythic

Entrepreneurs are like soccer players

We move on to the fourth in our series of 21st Century Business Round Table workshops in the coming week (April 23rd in Northampton; April 24th in Springfield). The series mirrors this blog: gaining presence in your organization to know but not fret about where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. We’re going to do more with basic tools for gaining critical insights.

Let’s quickly review this whole idea of mindfulness in business and organizations: if you’re mindful, you know what you’re doing; you care about and work to provide benefits to your clients, customers, stakeholders, and participants; you care about the impacts of your enterprise on others and on your community; you care about your colleagues and any employees; you operate with the highest standards and dedication to quality; and you pay attention.

And you function and operate with purpose. Your work, and your enterprise, isn’t activity-driven, it’s outcome-driven. Outcome, purpose, action, care, principles, ways to track and monitor, internal and external actions—everything is integrated. These aren’t separate arenas of concern; they come together into a single whole, into a unity of concern. The task falls somewhere between interesting and mythic, and it may border on the impossible. I’ve had the good fortune to work in and with organizations that fulfill this vision, where both those leading—owners, principals, directors, or CEOs—and those working in the organization can state their roles, functions, limits and areas of concern easily; communicate openly and completely; and support each other in achieving the desired outcomes for their customers. The “mindful entrepreneur” is not a fiction, nor is it difficult to arrive at that level. Three things are required, however:

  1. Realize that all aspects of your enterprise, especially when you’re a sole proprietor or leader of a small enterprise, are related to each other; if they’re not all mutually supportive, the places where they aren’t supporting one another will become major sources of dysfunction.
  2. Most of what you learn and practice focuses on a limited subset of all these components. The integration and wholeness of all the parts is rarely if ever considered. That includes the relationship of your enterprise to the world around you.
  3. This integration and the dedication to principals is outcome-driven and purposeful. You have things to unlearn—and things to explore and discover and learn for the first time.

“…you move with purpose, to be where you need to be when the critical play occurs….”The mindful entrepreneur is a soccer player: the field of action is large, there are many players in motion, the ecosystem in which you operate is changes constantly, and it involves many others. Your well-being—your success—depends on how well you master your place and action in that field in relation to all the other action. You might be very strong and very fast, but you can’t simply be running around the field: you move with purpose, to be where you need to be when the critical play occurs. Join us at this month’s workshops to gain more of these soccer-player skills. Among the basics we’re learning is how best to put SWOT analysis to work for you.

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