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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Forbes

    New Ideas, New Work

    New Ideas, New Work

    Recently, while perusing Forbes Magazine’s list of the top 30 Under 30 people in 15 different industries, I was struck by how many of them were listed as “founder” of a company. In industries such as Media, Technology, Energy and Industry, Food and Drink, Education, and Social Entrepreneurship, more than half the individuals held this title.  In Sports, Music, Hollywood Entertainment, Art and Style, independent individual contributors comprised the majority of the list.

    Many in this millennial group of 30 Under 30 have rejected the traditional notion of graduating from college and finding jobs. Instead they have used the campus environment to facilitate networking to create their own jobs.  They have avoided the conventional corporate environments in favor of unconventional workspaces and work relationships, like living and working in the same space to increase productivity and connectivity.  They have pushed back on the established methodologies of getting things done, and created new pathways to purchase art online and process financial transactions.

    Their advantage obviously is that they aren’t entrenched in a “this is how you do it” mindset.  Their educational process and developmental upbringing likely placed greater emphasis on creativity instead of conformity. Research shows that millennials as a group, are less interested in considering a career in business.  According to an article by Shama Kabani in the December 2013 issue of Forbes, millennials are projected to comprise the majority of the workforce by 2025, however data from Bentley University’s study on the preparedness of college students to move into the workplace shows that:

    • 6 in 10 students say they are NOT considering a career in business, and 48% said they have NOT been encouraged to do so.
      • 59% of business decision makers and 62% of higher education influentials give recent college graduates a C grade or lower for preparedness in their first jobs.
      • 68% of corporate recruiters say that it is difficult for their organizations to manage millennials.
      • 74% of non millennials agree that millennials offer different skills and work styles that add value to the workplace.
      • 74% agree that businesses must partner with colleges and universities to provide business curriculums that properly prepare students for the workforce.

    This data, and the accomplishments of the 30 Under 30 speak loudly about how current organizations must adapt to and embrace the future generation both as employees and as customers, to be able to leverage their ideas and intellect to solve problems, and effectively compete in the marketplace.  

    A New Model

    Many companies still operate based on the old model of experience taking priority over innovation at the individual employee level.  Employees with greater technical, policy or process knowledge, and therefore experience in a particular area, teach the younger people how the organization works. Such companies may externally broadcast their innovative products and methodologies, but internally they muffle creativity at the expense of familiarity. Instead they need to place innovation and creativity of the culture and work style on par with their innovative products and services. Those who fail to adapt and become more flexible will pay the price of failing to keep pace with the speed of technology and change.

    A glaring example of this is Eastman Kodak, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection two years ago in January 2012, after more than a decade of falling sales and stock prices.  Kodak, a name long synonymous with photography, didn’t go bankrupt because people stopped taking pictures, but because they couldn’t adapt to the new way pictures were being taken.  People started using their smart phones to capture, send and store pictures electronically, instead of solely using traditional cameras and hard copy prints.  Twenty months later, Kodak has emerged from their restructuring transformed into a technology company focused on imaging for business, in a way that will hopefully produce better corporate results.

    Preparing for the future

    So what about these 30 Under 30? Instead of just talking about new ways of doing things, they take new ideas and develop them into marketable strategies, trends and entrepreneurial ventures.

    For example, Carter Cleveland (#1 in the Art and Style category) founded Artsy as a student at Princeton when he realized that there was no quick and easy way online to find art for his dorm room walls.  His website now provides more than 85,000 works of art from 1,800 museums, galleries and foundations. Most of it is for sale and he also recommends artists to users.  (This is an idea I’m sure I could have thought of, but would I have done anything about it?)

    So how are you leveraging innovation, creativity and technology in your team or organization to capture the next NEW idea or process? How are you finding new and different ways to meet customers’ needs? Are you developing intrapreneurs (in all demographic groups) who will keep your team fresh, or are you attracting entrepreneurs who will collaborate on new ways to accomplish organizational objectives?  Whatever your strategy, recognize the value of new ideas and build a culture that embraces the new world of work for millennials.

     

    Photo from iStockphoto

    Copyright 2014 Priscilla Archangel

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    The Catalyst of Conviction

    Convictions are firm beliefs in a position or theory of how things should or do operate. They’re developed as a result of our learning experiences, values, dreams and hopes, and our knowledge of facts. Each of us holds a unique set of convictions, but only some of us hold convictions that are game changing. If acted upon, these convictions may change our environment, and the way we live and operate. Such breakthroughs have shaped our world over centuries, like Thomas Edison’s light bulb; Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity; and George Washington Carver’s inventions from peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes; to name just a few.

    Today, convictions and their resulting innovations and inventions occur at a much greater speed, fueled by technology and the wealth and capability of those who hold them. Together they form a catalyst for those convictions to change our environment. Meet two men who demonstrate just that.

     

    Elon Musk

    Elon Musk has had a great year.  He was named Fortune Magazine’s 2013 Business Person of the Year based on the success of Tesla Motors’ new electric vehicle. Revenue at the company skyrocketed during the first three quarters of 2013, and as of late December the stock has increased by five times it’s January 2013 start price. In spite of several recent battery fires in the Model S vehicle, NTHSA has reaffirmed their five star safety rating for 2014. Musk used his proceeds from selling PayPal to Ebay in 2002, to fund this business along with his two other companies, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and SolarCity.   


    SpaceX’s mission is to design, manufacture and launch advanced rockets and space craft, thereby revolutionizing space travel in a way that enables interplanetary life. They are developing reusable rockets that can make multiple trips between the earth and outer space, drastically reducing the cost of travel. This makes space travel similar to commercial airlines, where one airplane is capable of tens of thousands of trips. Solar City provides clean energy to customers at a lower cost than coal, oil and natural gas.

    Musk has the capability to reconceptualize the way things work.  He doesn’t just push on the boundaries of the possibilities, he reconstructs them. With SpaceX, he didn’t simply pick up where the U.S. space program left off; he reframed the concept of space travel. Chris Anderson, curator of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) describes Musk in a recent Fortune article as possessing the ability to make decisions that are “technically possible…economically intelligent, and…experientially satisfying.”  This is supported by a deeply held conviction of how the world should be, and the ability to convince others of his perspective. He is heavily involved in detailed decisions at his companies, while at the same time looking broadly at the overall system of how things work.

    Patrick Soon-Shiong

    Patrick Soon-Shiong is a Chinese physician who immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago from South Africa. His U.S. medical career started when he was recruited to UCLA, where he was a well published researcher, a groundbreaking transplant surgeon, and most importantly, inventor of Abraxane, a cancer fighting drug.  Forbes reported his net worth at around $9 billion, making him #45 on their September 2013 400 Richest Americans list.

    According to the story by David Whitford in Fortune’s December 9, 2013 issue, Soon-Shiong’s business endeavors began in 1998 when he pieced together enough money to purchase a generic drugmaker. He turned the company around and used the profits to fund the development of Abraxane.  A decade later he sold the company and used his profits to purchase a share of the Los Angeles Lakers, and with his wife joined Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffet’s giving pledge as major philanthropists in the medical arena.

    Most importantly though, Soon-Shiong is using his wealth to support his conviction in the power of transformative medicine. He’s used $700 million of his own money (and partnered with others), to buy small companies with the intent of leveraging the latest technologies to help physicians and researchers develop new therapies to diagnose and treat life threatening diseases like cancer.

    This conviction is a life passion and a mission for him. He sees the world in a systems integrated approach, and his vision is reportedly sometimes greater than his capability to express it. This is his plan to change the practice of medicine and thereby change the world.

    Conviction

    Musk and Soon-Shiong each have a rather unique philosophy about how to apply technology to world problems, and to essentially change the way we live. Their capability as demonstrated by past business successes, has built a level of confidence (and cash) that enabled them to further develop and pursue these beliefs, and resulted in a strongly held conviction about what the future should be like. Both have the ability to view a large system along with its component pieces, and use that view to drive change.  They’re persuasive, possess a drive to persevere, and believe in what some might call audacious change, a trait held by other serial disrupters like Steve Jobs. Instead of adjusting to the world’s way of thinking, they’re trying to make the world adjust to their way of thinking.

    So what is your strongly held conviction about your environment; your surroundings; the people, tools and systems you interact with? What do you strongly believe that will benefit others and change the way we work and operate? Scale it to your area of influence and capability, and identify the catalyst to move you forward in this area. It could be a theory on life, a process, a service, or a product…something that excites you. Review all your experiences, because they have served a purpose to bring you to the point you’re at now. As you begin a new year, resolve to take action on your convictions.  Let them be the catalyst to your success. 

     

    Read the Fortune Magazine story on Elon Musk here.

    Read the Fortune Magazine story on Patrick Soon-Shiong here.

    Photo from iStockphoto

    2013 Copyright Priscilla Archangel 

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    You Dreamer!

    Disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs; that’s how Forbes Magazine describes their 30 Under 30. These are the 30 brightest stars under the age of 30 in 15 different fields such as media, music, energy, education, sports, marketing and advertising, finance, and science.  I call them dreamers. As leaders in their respective fields of expertise; many of them accomplished feats that most people haven’t even dreamed of attempting.  Their inventions, innovations, creative thinking, physical abilities, and thoughtful approaches have had a major impact on society and culture. Several that most impressed me were:

    • Joshua Sommer – Seven years ago as a freshman in college he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Instead of accepting the low possibility of survival and lack of treatment options, he cofounded the Chordoma Foundation dedicated to raising money to fund research to cure it.
    • Hugh Evans – Founded the Global Poverty Project committed to ending extreme poverty, and developed an innovative means of raising $1.3 billion in new funding commitments.
    • Leslie Dewan – Is developing a new kind of nuclear reactor with a plan to power the entire U.S. with zero carbon emissions and eliminating mountains of nuclear waste.
    • Matt Mullenweg – Launched WordPress open source blogging software at the young age of 19. It’s now used by 17% of all websites.

    Qualifications

    But how did they accomplish so much at such a young age?  As I read their stories, several qualities were obvious.


     

    • Dreaming – Every great accomplishment starts with a dream, and a great dream combined with great desire leads to destiny. The dreamer believes in the possibility of what appears to be impossible; believing that as they move toward their destiny, the pathway will emerge. A great dream may look fragile to the outside world, but is intense in the mind of the dream holder.
    • Selective hearing – They ignore the naysayers, those who would try to tell them that whatever they’re attempting isn’t possible; that no one has ever done it that way before. They don’t buy into the status quo and accepted ways of doing things. They chart their own path.
    • Sacrifice – Being the best at what you do only comes with hard work and lots of it. That won’t seem “fun” to others, but there is nothing else these dreamers would rather do than to work to pursue their dream. In fact, what others perceive as sacrifice, brings pleasure to the dreamer.
    • Failure – This is simply the process of eliminating options that don’t work. Thomas Edison reportedly failed 1,000 times before he succeeded in making the light bulb. But Edison says that he discovered 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb. (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090218050711AAw6KhA) So learn from every mistake. Failure with a purpose equals progress. John Maxwell’s book on Failing Forward says that the only difference between people who achieve and those who are simply average is how they handle failure.
    • Perseverance – Giving up is not an option. Setbacks can be turned into setups. Difficulties, roadblocks and financial worries are simply tests of your commitment. They build commitment just like lifting weights builds strength.

    Your Dream

    I believe that everyone has a dream of accomplishing something that is bigger than them, but few people follow through on it. For some people, that dream is vivid and tangible; they can almost reach out and touch it. They think about it daily, devise plans to work toward accomplishing it. Others are still discovering their dream. And still others have almost abandoned theirs. Maybe it once existed in the recesses of their mind, but was beaten still further back by constant affirmations of impossibility.

    Children are often great dreamers because they haven’t yet learned all the reasons that adults have bought into about why their dream shouldn’t come to pass. They have:

    No boundaries to confine them.

    No past to live up to or sustain.

    No thing to lose and everything to gain.

    No fear of failure.

    So what is your dream? You may have to reflect back on your early years to remember what it was, and what happened to it. Can you recapture the passion you once had for it? Can you regain the excitement you once felt as you replayed it in your mind? Can you take one step to redirect your path toward accomplishing that dream? Let go of the things that restrict your ability to dream. Instead, dream big and make something happen.

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