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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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    creativity

    Ideation Space

    Cheng-Yung Kuo Photography / Courtesy Ideation Studio

    Cheng-Yung Kuo Photography / Courtesy Ideation Studio

    Ideation space. The optimal environment where you form ideas or thoughts, where dreams crystalize, desires are birthed, problems are solved, and creativity blossoms. A place where your senses are heightened as you connect deeply with your inner motivations and interests, and block out external distractions. Purposefully spending time in this space requires disconnecting from the daily demands of the urgent and immediate, to connect with the important and meaningful. It involves moving from the emotions of the moment, to reflecting on the underlying values and beliefs that govern your life. Time spent in your ideation space can rejuvenate you to become more productive, focused, and innovative. Continue reading

    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

    The Accidental Entrepreneur

     

    Most of what we accomplish in building a business involves balancing the right combination of the person, product and profit. The person must possess the right business and leadership skills.  The product has to be in demand for the market.  The profit comes from sufficient funding and management of resources.  But is it possible to accidentally be successful as an entrepreneur?

    Auntie Anne’s pretzels is a phenomenal success and today has 1200 stores across 26 countries, with 2012 sales of $410 million. The business wasn’t a likely candidate for such success though when it was started by Anne Beiler. Anne was raised in the Amish community and when she married at 19, her only goal was to become a mother. Unfortunately, a tragic accident killed one of her daughters and her marriage went into a crisis for six years. Thankfully she and her husband were able to restore their relationship. In an effort to support other families going through similar marriage and family issues, they opened a free marriage and family counseling center in their community. To fund this initiative, they purchased an Amish-owned store that sold pretzels, pizza and ice cream for Anne to run.

    Business owner holding an "open" signAnne lacked the education, financial backing, and business plan for this entrepreneurial adventure, but credits her success to her discipline, teamwork and perseverance instilled through her upbringing. Over time she improved on her recipes, narrowed the product to just pretzels, learned how to market, built a franchise operation, and found an angel investor. She credits her overall business success with using three small Ps, purpose, product and people, to yield one big P, profit. After about 17 years of ownership, she recognized that the company’s growth was outpacing her capability and capacity, and she made the difficult decision to sell it. The company still bears her name, but she has no financial interest in it.


     

    The Entrepreneurial Knack

    Contrast Anne’s skillsets as an entrepreneur with typical traits and characteristics of entrepreneurs as suggested by Kara Page of Demand Media. These traits include:

    • The ability to motivate yourself and others.
    • Integrity of your product or service, and yourself
    • Creativity to continually identify new ideas and opportunities,
    • Inquisitiveness to ask questions and engage in continuous learning about the competition and your own business
    • Willingness to fail and ability to evaluate what went wrong to keep trying
    • Sociability to meet potential clients, suppliers and develop networks.

    This challenges my paradigm of the skills that are really most important to be a successful entrepreneur, because what I expected to see, but is missing from this list are the standard items like education; experience in financial management, marketing, sales, or operations; strong leadership skills, etc.  As the business grows, the entrepreneur can hire people with these skills, but in the early years, the founder/entrepreneur frequently has to be a jack-of-all-trades. While Beiler didn’t appear to have a plan for a franchise business when she first opened her stores, she seemed to possess the majority of these skillsets.

    Accidental or On-Purpose

    Thus Anne looks like the accidental entrepreneur. In spite of her business deficiencies, she developed a good product and created a demand for it. The opportunity propelled her forward to success, and part of the motivation was being able to use the profits to help her community.

    So if you really feel a calling to entrepreneurship, but aren’t sure whether you have what it takes, are you focusing on the right skillsets? Are you shortchanging your abilities and experience? Have you creatively explored different approaches to accomplish your goal? Maybe you have a non-profit organization and entrepreneurship will provide the funding to support it.

    Admittedly, there’s really no such thing as an accidental entrepreneur. People simply approach business ventures differently based on their background and perspective. The true key to success is combining the right skills with your entrepreneurial passion and calling…in essence, being on-purpose…in line with what you’re called to do. Who knows? Maybe your entrepreneurial success will be a gift to those around you.

     

    Read more about Anne Beiler and Kara Page’s characteristics of entrepreneurs.

    Photo courtesy of IStockphoto

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