Management January 7, 2011 Last updated January 7th, 2011 1,849 Reads share

On The Doorstep Of a New World

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This year, this possibility…you’re on the doorstep of a new world. Business is changing and re-forming itself. What are you seeing from this doorstep?

Before you cross that threshold, there is something more basic that needs to be in place. It’s your basic view of the world. Some people call it your mindset or a paradigm.  While these words can feel overused and not related to the everyday functioning of your small business, your view of the world colours everything you do, everything you imagine and everything your business becomes. If your mindset is fearful or expectant, your behaviour follows what you think and feel.

The combination of your value system, life experience and personality is a potent one. This is a source of power and wisdom. Entrepreneurship is based on your aspirations that the world can be improved. You imagine your business making a difference in the world. This difference can be as simple as making project management more usable for non-technical professionals to encouraging entrepreneurship in developing countries. Your view of the world influences how you use this potent mixture.

So why aren’t we crossing the threshold into this new world? Our ideas may not be radical to someone else but they are to us. It feels revolutionary and this goes right back to our mindset and what is really underneath it all.

  • For starters, it’s worth taking a look at your basic framework. According to Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindsets-fixed and growth. A fixed mindset is the belief that one’s intelligence and level of talent are unchangeable. A growth mindset is the opposite. Intelligence and level of talent can be augmented. (If you want to find out which mindset is typical of your beliefs, take this mindset test). Which mindset do you have?
  • Enjoying your work because it is so essential to who you are. If you’ve gotten the message that work is hard and unpleasant, then running your business is nothing more than a glorified job. With so many people complaining about their jobs, it seems wrong to say you do find yours rewarding. Do you still enjoy your small business?
  • We make the “rules.” No one else defines your corporate culture (yes, even sole traders have a corporate culture) better than you. You can decide where you work (and where your employees work, if applicable). You decide what your business produces and what constitutes success. You make choices every day about the norms and expectations of your business. How do you want to use this power?
  • We might make a profit from work we love to do. Profit is a loaded word. Are we selling out if we charge the market value of what we do? There is an odd story lurking in many of our minds that we will be terribly misguided or evil if we create wealth. If you are unethical, more money isn’t going to change anything. Basically, anyone who is prone to using tricks or scams is going to do that anyway. Still, we can intimidate ourselves as profit is a measure that we have something people are willing to pay for and that we are running our businesses intelligently. How do you view profit?

What if we were simply pragmatic as we cross the threshold? I don’t mean pragmatic in a dirty dealing kind of way.  And the attitude of “go along to get along” can be pragmatic for many but it fails utterly in the new world. Be more daring! Take your ideals and put them into action. This is a much more James-ian type of pragmatism. What kind of business are you creating? What purpose does it serve? Even if you are not explicitly a social entrepreneur, you are changing the world.

It starts with three questions:

1. On a scale of 0-10 (o=not at all; 10=completely), how committed are you to converting your ideas into action?

2. How do you want to measure the outcomes of your ideas?

3. What would happen if you chose to keep things as they are right now?

As you answer these questions, begin imagining what this looks like on a day-to-day basis. This how the new world gets created. There are too many messages about how wrong things are. That’s not to say that the environment is perfect for the growth of your business. That would be denial. It’s much more paradoxical from the doorstep. The mindset that can acknowledge fears, outside influences and desired goals is much more adept at managing the growth of your small business. Design a plan that combines your value system, life experience, personality and business goals. You use your ideals and find practical everyday actions that supports an eager mindset.

Now what do you see from the doorstep of this new world?

Elli St.George Godfrey

Elli St.George Godfrey

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